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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Scheduling Play

It's summer, and I've talked before about how to plan for the unstructured time of the summer months. A scholar needs time to play in two particular senses; time completely away from work, and time for the scholarly imagination itself to run freely, to explore new possibilities unrelated to current projects. Both sorts of play should be actively scheduled in the form of vacations (weeks or months), weekends (days), and particular times of the day.

If you don't actually schedule play, you will sit around the house or let yourself be consumed by household repairs.

For me, going to Spain provides a good opportunity for relaxing. I usually have one or two business things to do there, like the dissertation defense I'm on for my next trip. I also like hitting the bookstores and buying books I want or need. The rest of the time is seeing friends, eating good food and drinking good wine, and traveling. After a trip like this, the work goes much better.


Anonymous said...

This really is true. It's something I learned freshman year, from graduate students. But it amazes me how many people don't figure this out.

It caused me some trouble in graduate school, though, because I did not look as unhealthy as the people from the East believed a good student should (to prove they were working). I actually had this conversation:

Major Professor: Maybe you could do something to tone down your air of radiant health. People might think you aren't Working.

Me: But if I don't keep my health up, I will not be strong enough to work hard enough to Finish Faster and Better!

I still say I was right and experimentation has proved it.

Clarissa said...

Your posts are always timely. Tonight, I am going to buy a plane ticket to go to Montreal in August. Yay!!!

Have fun in Spain! If you notice which books are really selling in Spanish bookstores right now and blog about it, I'll be happy.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your argument about scheduling rest. After hitting the first chapter of the dissertation pretty hard this past month, I'm happy to say that I have a complete "shitty first draft," as Anne Lamott would say!

So, I'm headed on vacation tomorrow and will spend a full week doing no diss. work! Just some reading for fun and lounging at the beach.