Productive Scheduling

Last week was a good one for my dissertation.  I finally figured out how to maneuver around that guy who’s working on a very similar subject (at least I think I found a way), which is a relief.  I conceptualized and started a very thorough outline for an important chapter, and for me, outlining is a very big deal.  And I spoke with an editor of a journal who would like to publish something from me–probably that chapter that I’ve outlined (and which I’ll be presenting at a conference at the end of the month).   So a pretty great week.

Some of that was luck, of course.  But I’ve got to give credit to my redoubled efforts to stick to a schedule, and my different approach to it.  In the past, I’ve set up a schedule and told myself to “stick to it.”  In practice, that meant doing things in the scheduled order, not necessarily at the time that I had scheduled it.  So if I had scheduled blog writing from 8:30-9am, but I didn’t get to my computer until 9:15am, I would still do the blog writing, instead of doing what I scheduled for the 9am block.  Last week, I started doing whatever I had scheduled for that particular time block.  So if 9am rolled around and I hadn’t done any blog writing, tough shit–no blog writing.  There have been two benefits from this.  The first is that I’ve done a better job of actually sticking to the schedule; instead of saying “well, I’ll just do that blog writing now, and push the other stuff back,” I’ve pushed myself to get started on the task when I’m supposed to be.  The second is that the rhythm of the schedule has increased my productivity.  My brain is apparently so regimented that if I do the thing at 9am one day that I did at 9am the day before, it’s easier to pick back up from where I left off.  Or at least that’s my working hypothesis right now.  And since it’s 8:57am, I should be going.

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Music in head, book before eyes

A quick conundrum: why must something else always be going through my head whilst I read? Right now, I’ve got Ravel’s “Bolero” playing on my brain’s ghetto blaster while I’m reading one of McPherson’s Civil War epics. At least “Bolero” doesn’t have words…that’s what really gets me. Plus, it’s got a martial rhythm, so it fits the material.

Dun, dun-dun-dun, dun, dun….