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Friday, August 31, 2012

Dare to be Inefficient

Although you must wisely manage your time and tasks, scholarship is often an inefficient affair. You won't be able to devote an hour to writing and get exactly an hour's worth of efficient prose out of it. The mind must have enough space to play with ideas without the pressure of having to produce a certain number of words. This is the "higher efficiency."

As dispenser of advice, I advocate regular writing, so as to allow the time for this play to occur. It cannot occur in a vacuum, but only as a part of an already reasonably "efficient" schedule.

I realize that I did not put together a chain of more than three days of continuous work in August, until today. I never got to that fourth day, and as a consequence I had a difficult time reaching that stage in which I could work with the inefficiency I needed to be truly efficient.


Anonymous said...

This actually fits in with my theory of giving yourself more time than you need, allowing yourself to while away some of your work time musing, etc. - taking a lot of time and then not rushing, as opposed to trying to squeeze as much as possible out of every minute which seems to be what is more often recommended.

Jonathan said...

Yes, I agree. What I see is people saying, I only have twenty minutes, I cannot do anything today. I'd like to be able to tell those people that they can do something in twenty minutes, but without trying to make them account for every twenty minutes stretch during the day either.

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, "I only have 20 minutes" means one of two things:

a) ...and I want to use those 20 minutes for something else (meaning, subject is hopeless), or

b) ...I need those 20 minutes just to come back to my senses, by which time they are gone. (Corollary here is, subject needs to find a way not to get knocked so senseless.)

I suppose it can be true, subject does not yet realize something useful can be done in 20 minutes, and it may be provincial of me not to realize that not everyone learns this very early on.