Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 14: Waiting for the "right" time to work

I had a roommate in college who had an endearing habit of beginning her homework only at quarter-hour intervals, i.e. if it was 4:07, she would wait until 4:15 to start working, and then she would commence being productive. Part of me likes that approach... it assumes that if you wait for the "right" moment to start working, you'll be focused and ready to go. The problem (in the larger sense) is that writing a dissertation while having a full-time job and a full-time life means that the "right" time rarely, if ever, appears. I've had to train myself to make the most of those 30 minute chunks that appear after work and before yoga, or those Thursday mornings when I would get up early and fit in an hour of work before class.

I often think of what a "luxury" it must be to have a dissertation fellowship and have nothing to do but write. In my life, I rarely have the mythical uninterrupted weeks in which I have nothing to do but dissertation work. Summer break usually comes close, but this summer has been so disjointed that I haven't been able to get into a serious groove of working. I've found myself waiting for the "right" moment to come, for some classroom bell to ring, so I'll know when it is time to work. Obviously that hasn't happened and isn't likely to happen. All I know is that I've got a few short weeks before school starts (my union rep. must have been in the bathroom when they worked that one out!) and I really would feel much better if I made some progress between now and then. But for some reason I just can't make myself work. Argh.

So I guess it is best to go back to the drawing board. Reach into my bag of tricks. Scale back the expectations even more. So I'm going to have a snack so I'll have energy for yoga tonight, and then try to make myself do a bit more work tonight. Even if it isn't the "right" time.


At 8:11 PM, Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, I so do the thing of waiting for the "right" moment to work! And it's not very effective - I have had a couple of periods of leave/fellowship (besides summer!) and in the past I've been utterly unproductive on them. (Clearly it's never the "right" time...) A very wise person once told me that I didn't have to find the "best" time to work - all I had to do was avoid the worst time. As long as I did that, I'd be fine. I've found that really helpful, actually. But I still long for a sign that it's the "right" time. :-P

At 4:41 PM, Blogger HistGrad said...

Great advice! I'll do my best to avoid the worst time from here on out... I do sometimes ask myself, "If not now, when?"


Post a Comment

<< Home