I was crazy productive the year after I had a baby. I think part of the reason for that productivity was that I had enforced break-times for pumping that were probably about ideal for optimal research productivity (~20 min every 3 hours). When I wasn’t taking a break, I was super focused because time was precious, and I knew I’d be able to take a break for whatever I felt like doing. This past year, DC long-since weaned, I’ve gotten pretty bad at separating my work time from my internet play time. So I decided to reboot. For the sake of productivity! Viva la productivity!
Day 1 was a bit shaky. Here’s my frantically written notes from that day.
I am mostly successful at keeping my internet time to while I’m eating my cereal. We’ll see how long that lasts. Bonus: I make DC’s lunch instead of DH. When K starts we will start making it the night before, but for today, I feel like a good and virtuous partner.
I get to work early enough to beat the traffic around the high school.
I installed leech block and blocked this blog and cnn, hours from 9-12, 1-3, and 3:15-4:40.
I notice myself checking my bank account. Hey, a reimbursement, that’s cool. Of course, I can’t enter it into the checkbook register from work, so there wasn’t much point in that.
Argh, I want to write a blog post. Instead I will jot down my thoughts on paper.
I muse on how when I’m doing mechanical tasks that don’t take any thought I need to have some kind of entertainment in the background or I stop doing the tasks. For tasks that require thinking though, I prefer silence or familiar music. I listen to Morning Edition online and Performance Today.
Hm, 3 hours without the blog and nobody has commented. Also nobody has written anything interesting. Why does nothing interesting ever happen on the internet when I’m away from it? You’d think I’d have figured this out by now.
So the above is what I typed in during my lunch break. The following are my scattered notes, sans context, from the remainder of the afternoon:
“Reclaim 2 hours on weekend. “ What did this mean? I don’t know! Maybe it’s about me trying to start working on research on weekends again, which I have. Except it’s more like 3-4 hours. (Sometimes more when there’s a deadline! I hate working on deadlines though. :( )
“goofing off and getting distracted” Probably a note about what I was doing.
“problem– work isn’t unpleasant, just not as pleasant as short-term alternatives” Man, that sure is true. It’s not that I don’t like work… I’d just rather you know, be watching cat videos on youtube or something.
“I want to make excuses for myself” It’s true… I keep wanting to come up with valid reasons for me to waste time online. But the truth is there’s always *something* I could be working on, even if what I planned to work on can’t be worked on for whatever reason. There’s always a referee report or reading or writing or *something*.
“Lit review nice or mean?” I have NO idea what this note was. Following it is something that suggests it might have been a research note to myself. Oh, I remember what this thought was. A really good paper I was reading didn’t place as highly as it ought to have, and I thought perhaps it was because the author slammed all the previous literature in kind of a nasty way. Not something to do to potential reviewers! One can be polite and professional and build on previous (imperfect) research without being a jerk about it. Previous research is what makes a field exist!
How do you keep yourself on task at work? Do you have planned and enforced break-times?