Fauxductivity

In the Chronicle yesterday, there was a nice piece about “procrastination productivity” that several of my friends posted to Facebook – about all the things you get done because they are a distraction from the real things you have to get done, and while they make you look like you are being productive, you know the truth.

Gray cat sleeping on open laptop computerI am very familiar with that tactic, but I have another one that’s even worse. Fake productivity, or “fauxductivity” as I like to think of it, is where you surround yourself with accoutrements of productivity and busyness so not only does it look like you are busy and important but you are hoping to trick your brain into acknowledging the need to get work done and then spend extra time doing it.

I am in a very importantly busy stage at work right now, and I have given in to my favorite fauxductivity trick (well, it’s less of a trick and more of an affectation): I start carrying around folders full of manuscripts, etc. at all times. Most of my purses are large enough to hold file folders for just this purpose. I take my work home with me, to the grocery store with me, to the doctors’ office, wherever I go. Because you never know when an unexpected burst of productivity might strike, and you have to be prepared!

Not once has this little trick actually resulted in getting any real work done… but hey, you never know.


I’m back!

My Epic Summer of Epicness (and Epic Exhaustion) is pretty much over now – and not a moment too soon. I am tired, people. I spent a month in the field, which was great and all, but tiring, then drove back across the country, went to work for four days, then flew to another place for a friend’s wedding, came home for less than 24 hours – 4 of which I spent at work – and then drove five hours away for a big conference. All of this was wonderful and time well spent, but there wasn’t much time for sleep in there.

Now my life is somewhat normal again, although still very busy. Next week is our center’s annual conference, so it’s a bit crazy around here as we try to get it all organized.

Some updates on my productivity:

  • of the three papers that were in review already, one was accepted (which I already wrote about), one was favorably reviewed but rejected as not being right for the journal, and the last one – the paper that won’t die, the one that has been to four journals – finally got a revise and resubmit!! Hooray! A whole lot of major revisioning has been requested but this is huge progress compared to the last three years.
  • I am currently working on a review paper with a friend of mine who works on the same topic as me. Pretty happy about that.
  • I presented preliminary results from this summer’s fieldwork last week at the conference, in which I tested what may sound to some like a really crazy idea, but it was very well received. Several people said to me that they had noticed this phenomenon too and wondered if it was what I thought it was. (Sorry for the vagueness). Anyway, I think it could lead to a cool little paper.
  • And I met up with an old friend while I was there who wants to collaborate, which will involve me doing fieldwork this winter in my backyard. Awesome!

I know things have been very quiet on this blog this summer, but I am planning a big comeback. The alt-ac thing is gaining interest and popularity, both on the internet and in real life. There were some articles posted recently that I want to talk about, and some experiences I’d like to share… so stay tuned!


Being responsible is exhausting

I’ve been absurdly productive for the entire month of April. I have:

  • Revised and resubmitted.
  • Submitted this stupid manuscript to its fourth journal (yep, it got rejected from that submission back in October)
  • Gotten juuuuuuust about ready to submit my research week paper, pending final approval from co-authors.
  • Given a presentation on a fourth project that is finally moving along well.
  • Reviewed three papers.
  • Gotten a blog for the research center up and running – and it’s lovely!
  • Read and taken notes on one published paper a day, every workday
  • Written up my goals and very detailed plans for summer fieldwork

Aaaaand…. I have now hit a wall. For the last two or three days, I have been pretty much braindead and exhausted. My grand accomplishments lately have been the following:

  • ordered a wedding present for a friend
  • printed out directions to a nearby state park, and the trail map, to go hiking this weekend (hooray spring)
  • reserved a hotel for when my husband visits me in the field this summer
  • considered which cocktails I want to serve at an upcoming party
  • made plans for karaoke tonight
  • looked up who did the voices on Daria
  • spent way too much time figuring out which Zazzle products emblazoned with a cartoon version of my study species I should buy
  • went out to lunch (and had a beer! sshhhhh)

(Needless to say, my administrative responsibilities have been rather light lately.)

I don’t think May is going to be nearly as productive as April – I don’t think I can take it…


Snow Day Ramblings

Ah… I’m snowed in at home, the power is still on, and the university announced yesterday that it would be closed today. What a perfect cozy day, the kind I always dream about. Of course, now that I am faced with this amazing opportunity for productivity and focusing on my own research, the only thing I want to do is snuggle under the blankets on the couch and watch movies all day. (“Groundhog Day” is high on the list, as is “Hot Tub Time Machine”…)

But I must resist this urge and Be! Productive!  I have some Center-related work to get done that will, honestly, probably take me less than an hour but will seriously impress the Powers That Be. I have lots and lots of my own research to work on. In particular, I have not even touched the rejected manuscript, or the manuscript that my co-authors finally sent comments on. Both of those are going to require a lot of work and I just don’t seem to have the mental energy for it yet. I really should take some time and work on at least one of them today… or maybe next week.

The one thing I have been working on is plans for this summer’s field research, which is pretty exciting. My collaborator and I posted job ads for a field assistant and an REU yesterday – and we have applicants already! I suppose that’s not too surprising given that our new field site is in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I certainly have some work I could do today related to that project, including a small grant application.

I would also really like to get some things done around the house. I have an overwhelming urge to clean up and reorganize my home office, but maybe that’s just procrastination talking. Perhaps I’ll work for an hour and then reward myself with some reorganizing.


Paper finished!

Woo hoo, I did it!! I just sent my manuscript off to my co-authors. I am so freaking excited that I wrote this whole thing in just under one month. I kind of can’t wait to get started on the next one.

Even more exciting, I managed to do this during a really stressful time. We have a major annual deadline this week – and the report that is due on that deadline is primarily my responsibility. That report is now pretty much finished (Hmm, I wonder if I should add it to my November word count? That’s another ~30,000 words), and I submit it on Wednesday. THEN on Thursday I am giving an hour-long seminar on my research to a rather large group of people. I also reviewed 10 grant proposals for a private foundation and reviewed one or two manuscripts for journals, interviewed candidates for an administrative position, traveled to a workshop, and traveled for a family Thankgiving, all in the month of November.

The down side is that now I know I will never again be able to convince myself that I am too busy to write a paper. I’ll have to find more interesting ways to procrastinate.