Monday, January 22, 2007

See, I actually *am* working over here!

It's something of an adjustment going from a rather speed-oriented job juggling billions of deadlines with everyone wanting everything done RIGHT NOW (in fact, a boss once gave me two things to do - being already busy, I asked her which one she wanted done first and she wanted them BOTH DONE AT THE SAME TIME) and every minute involving an influx of files, mail, faxes, calls and emails to my new life as a sane person. I mean as a student/housewife who spends two fulls days a week at home studying/cleaning things and 3 days per week at uni for 3.5 seconds total. Basically, I've gone from being the very model of a modern Sydney career gal and queen of efficiency (tip: cut out the dead wood, including anything in your life you may find pleasant, also consider eating your cereal WHILE walking the dog around the block in the morning) to being a giant lump with whole days rushing past and no self-discipline. This has not exactly lead to rapid progress on my thesis.

However, I've been trying to get a little more organised about my scads of time. Instead of sleeping in I now go for a walk to the station with Grant in the morning which sort of wakes me up. It's important however that I not wear comfy tracksuit pants for this as otherwise the whole day will be a write-off, don't ask me why. I try to get out to do the veg shopping while it's actually still daylight, even. In fact, the last two weeks have been 100,000 steps + which I think is not too bad. Oh yeah, and I now have free timekeeping software which I use to attempt to hammer myself into productivity, even if Grant thinks it is desperately pathetic (hey, timekeeping is a valuable SKILL in my profession; I have to stay in practice).

HOWEVER, my new-found self-discipline actually wasn't really translating very well to uni work. Yes, I've been to the library weekly for a couple of weeks. But then you actually have to read the stuff. Unfortunately photocopying doesn't itself provide for osmotic assimilation of the text. And what I was managing to write on the thesis was terribly discouraging as I changed the planned structure after I got a chunk done which meant I was going to have to rewrite it. So of course I just left it alone for a few weeks :)

But there is hope. I have discovered the 40/20 rule much beloved of PhD students (40 mins work, 20 mins break). It works really well if like me you are obsessive, bully yourself into sitting down to do 40 mins, and get up 3 hours later. Therefore not really a 40/20 rule so much as a 180-with-toilet-breaks rule but anyway, it seems to work. I've done 1800 words today that I think are actually useable. Total so far 6700, but about 2000 of those need to have quite a bit added to them to work with the new structure.

Now I'm scared to stop writing as it may be my only productive day of the academic year, but I've sort of run out of content so probably should give it a break and read some more grist for the mill. 15,000 words by July was never really in doubt, but it was in doubt that it would be any good!

Thesis today: 1800
Steps: 5700 dammit time for a walk.


inertia said...

Too scared to stop writing, but not too scared to do a Blog entry? Hmmmm...

p.s. what's for dinner? ;)

Robert said...

Can relate rather well to the reduction in daily duties when 9-5 (or whatever) work day goes and subsequent effect on uni studies writing conscientiousness.

What is for dinner??? A goodly question ...