Okay, so there’s a plethora of blogs out there about personal productivity (I personally enjoy 43folders and LifeDev). However, their appeal is either based on programmers, as Merlin’s is, or is too general. I’ve often found myself asking, “How the !@#@! do I translate this good stuff into my academic world?” Generally, by the time I figure it out, I’ve already wasted too much time doing so and am now in Crisis Mode, or have gotten distracted into another form of procrastination.
So, this site is as it’s titled: Life Management for Academics. Why not time management or some such? Time management is a small piece of one’s career in academia. Granted, it may touch other components, but there are other components that are specific to academic life that are not covered by the geniuses at the other time management sites. My suggestion is that academics are different from the general PP (personal productivity) population due to our having to manage the holy Triad: teaching, research/writing, and administrivia (committees, reports, and general paperwork).
There’s also this fact: academics are never done. A paper submitted here needs reworking for presentation there. After that presentation, it needs rework for submission to publication there. If it’s accepted there, then the seeds from it may start another presentation there. Even if it doesn’t start another presentation here, maybe, just maybe, the information you’ve presented will be relevant to another project you’re either working on or will start (better file this away there, mentally, physically, or digitally…just in case). We often accept that we’ll spend our life in project polish hell, but often forget that that’s only the fire; the brimstone comes from project residue.
And here’s the final kicker for why it’s Life Management rather than Time Management: calculate the time and psychic energy required to manage the Triad, and then throw more time and psychic energy onto the fire for keeping up with project polishing and residue. How much time and energy is left? Okay, then start thinking about family, hygiene, subsistence, and sleep. Still have time and energy left? Maybe a little. What if you’d like to do anything fun or to just plain relax and do nothing? Good luck with that one.
Clearly, something has got to give. We can (A) get less to do, (B) complete all that we have to do more efficiently, or (C) quit. Granted, any of the options are up to us, but it’s unlikely that people will take the last option. After all, how long did you spend in school to do what you’re doing? This blog will focus instead on the first two options.
Here’s what you can expect to see on this blog:
- Commentary on books having to do with time management, creativity, and personal productivity
- Reviews on software and hardware that may help you manage your life (this will be Mac-Centric), especially software and tips that help with project polishing and residue
- Posts about developing yourself as a teacher and as a learner
- Tricks and best practices to help you heal the administrative pains that ail you
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