Sunday, September 23, 2012

Productivity Tips for Academics

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ran a series of articles on academic productivity. Unfortunately, most of them are behind a paywall, and all I saved are the bits I highlighted on my e-reader:
"No one employed in the professoriate today was forced into the career, and anyone who plays victim while holding a tenured or tenure-track position should be ashamed. We are distracted only when we allow ourselves to be so." 
"Andrew Mozina, an associate professor of English at Kalamazoo, uses a stopwatch to reserve time for crucial tasks. “I will say: OK, for the next hour, you will not check your e-mail, you will just grade papers.” This summer he’s working on writing a collection of short stories and a novel about a harpist preparing for a symphony audition. He sets the stopwatch for three hours each day so he can write." 
For her part, Marybeth Gasman, "tries to set aside six hours a day for writing, an enormous chunk by most academic standards." Indeed.
The quotations apparently come from this issue of the Chronicle, for those who have access to it.

In a slightly different vein, here is a commendation of the "Long, Slow, Constant, Mindful Writing Life":
The frenetic pace of academic writing these days has costs. The adage “quality over quantity” has been cast aside. As a result, we devalue the person who might take many years to make her own contribution to a field, as compared with someone who churns out an argument a week. This devaluing is intellectually unhealthy....[W]e must teach our students to balance their career aspirations with a care and deliberateness about their intellectual development, and an understanding that the dissertation is only the first project, the beginning of a learning process will take longer, probably a lifetime. Being a scholar is a life practice of reading, thinking, and writing, which, ideally, will lead to one or some (or many) meaningful works. Scholarship is not the mechanical pursuit of written products." - Imani Perry
Enough procrastination. Time to get to work.

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