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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ineffective Habits

How many of these do you have?

(I found this through Tanya's facebook feed.) I am quoting these habits and then interpreting them for my own purposes.

"Consuming more than you create"

Obviously, as scholars we have to do more reading than writing, in number of pages for example. But an example of consuming more than you create might be spending most of your research time reading and procrastinating rather than beginning to write. The minute I have an idea for an article, I begin to write it. I then read in order to find the answers that I need to include in the article I am already writing.

"Watching your own vanity metrics"

This one stopped me in my tracks. I spend a lot of time tracking blog stats, and looking myself up in google scholar. I am going to stop that right away. No more tracking my downloads on KUScholar!

"Starting the day responding to others"

I do check my email first thing in the morning. It's not a problem, because usually there is not much there. A solution might be to turn email off completely while working on specific tasks, especially writing. I tend to keep the email on all day and respond and/or delete as they come in.

"Prioritizing the wrong activities"

I think I have my priorities straight (though see post below this one). Giving my students my best self and being a productive scholar are my two main priorities.

"Relying on multi-tasking to 'save time'"

I am against multi-tasking on principle. Aside from the email problem, I don't tend to do it. I could solve the email conundrum easily by turning it off and checking it once an hour. I wish I could filter out all the crap the university sends me. KU today, KU this week, message from the provost about this, message from the chancellor about that... The only email I want to get is directed to me personally and relevant to my work or life.

Now make a list of your own ineffective habits that don't appear on this list. I've been able to save a lot of time for the next few months just by doing away with the email vigilance and with the vanity metrics from today on.

5 comments:

profacero said...

Reading blogs for news in the morning, or news aggregators. I'd be more focused in general, in life, if I read one paper a day, or two a day, not in an aggregator.

profacero said...

Although: I believe in consuming more than you create. I was really efficient from age 11 to about 35, only reading what was necessary to write the maximum that could be written, and at a certain point I just wanted to know what it would feel like to read just to read. Which doesn't mean I'm anti writing, I just think this super productivity advice sometimes goes too far. I don't like to read fiction, I like to read research stuff to relax.

profacero said...

More: aha, being productive scholar and giving students best self.

What I was taught: get through class, and be as close as possible to star.

Very different tones to these things.

Let's see what my actual priorities are in current job, it will be therapeutic to articulate:

* Admin, being the fall guy - on (proven) theory that without infrastructure we are all fall guys
* Sublimation of all else into cool, slightly out of field senior / beginning grad courses!

Dayum.

Jonathan said...

I tell my students I have the best possible job. I get to teach Spanish poetry (or proverbs, or whatever) for money. I get to design my own courses (dentro de lo que cabe) and have complete autonomy in my research. My colleagues like and respect me (dentro de lo que cabe). I'll never produce as much as I consume, because I have voracious reading habits. Some day I will do the project of reading for a year without writing anything, but that is because I've produce a lot already.

profacero said...

Ah, I see now. I produce more than I consume, much more, but my products are tedious products - admin products. Thus I wish to modify the ratio.