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…


On writing and timing

I am pleased to report that the writing has been going pretty well. I am up to 3738 “shitty first draft” words, 14% of my goal for the month. I have also been successfully implementing the “Pomodoro” method of getting work done.  It’s ridiculously simple, and I’ve used it many times before, and it works really well – and yet somehow I always fall off the wagon at some point. Anyway, the way it works is this: You set a timer for 25 minutes. During that 25 minutes, you work on one task. At the end of the 25 minutes, you get a 5 minute break. Repeat. [You can get a really cute – and free! – Pomodoro timer for your Mac here.]

Ridiculous. And effective.

I have made huge progress on 4 different projects this week, all things I had been avoiding, simply by assigning myself the task of spending at least 25 minutes on each task each day. Sometimes I get motivated to do more than 25 minutes, but I just set the timer again and only do 25 minute increments to avoid getting burned out. I really enjoy switching between the four projects – I get bored and overwhelmed if I spend too much time on one thing, and it’s so fantastic to see such concrete progress across so many things simultaneously.

Advanced Procrastination

It is absolutely amazing how much work I can get myself to do, just to avoid doing any writing. I just made a whole mess of phone calls that I had been avoiding – I truly hate talking on the phone, especially if any sort of customer service menu options are involved. But I have spent the last hour on the phone, as well as doing other things I’ve been putting off for a long time, like making travel plans for something I am doing in January. I wonder how much more I can get done today just by avoiding my writing task…