Monday, June 01, 2009

Lessons for summer productivity

Here are my guidelines (I don't believe in rules) for summer productivity:

1. Have a list of projects, with deadlines, goals, and expected products for each. For those of you who write grants, the same planning matrix that you give to funders can help you with your own work. How much time with that R&R take? How about the grant proposal--what steps have to happen before submission? Plan it all out for yourself, and be sure to revise and update it as things change. You can also write it on your calendar, blocking out specific hours for specific tasks.

2. Don't work in front of the TV. Seriously, I know it is summer and you haven't had a chance to catch up on your movies, but save it for one week or watch them at night.

3. If you get stuck, move your workspace to somewhere new. Try a coffee shop, the guestroom in your house, the park, the local public library, or even your (now quiet) work office.

4. Turn off the internet for a while. Facebook will be there when you get back, as will all those blogs you have been meaning to read.

5. Need a break between projects, trying to think of a new project, or feeling stuck on your topic? Use break times to peruse journals in your field. Most everyone can access their university server from their computer and read the e-journals online. Find out what your friends and colleagues are writing about in your field. Nothing like new literature to get you thinking. Just give yourself a time limit--2-3 hours, tops.

6. If you are teaching summer school, remember to limit the time you give over to course prep and grading. Don't let the summer slip by and your projects (and your the restoration of your soul) fall by the wayside.

7. Take frequent breaks to go swimming, go for a walk, have lunch with friends, surprise a special someone at work and take them out to lunch... Remember that summer has to be both restorative AND productive.

8. Try to build a vacation into your schedule. Even a few days (preferably a week) of uninterrupted relaxation time can make a BIG difference when the academic year rolls around.

These are my 8 guidelines. I actually am writing this post, with the hope of following these guidelines myself. I know what works for me, and I hope to get (back)into the swing of summer productivity myself.


Academic said...

Fantastic list! Thanks!

undine said...

These are fine lessons--thanks!

Keri said...

Great guidelines -- thanks!