Monday, October 20, 2008

Duh (Lessons from My Timer)

When I write, I set up 15 minute chunks of time for work with 2 minute breaks in-between. It helps me to stay focused on the writing process.

I just realized that I don't do the same for reading--take a break after an allotted time, that is.

It's no wonder that I end up reading 7 pages in 2 hours. I'm not focused and there is no timer to keep me accountable.

PLAN:
4:15 to 5:30pm - Read 11 pages (5 minutes per page) with 2 minute breaks in between each 15 minute interval.
5:30pm - Reward myself by going for a half-hour jog.

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ACTUAL (5:22pm):
I did it! I completed the reading with 8 minutes to spare, and I even made notes.

The KEY DIFFERENCE was that with the timer, I was forced to focus on that which was important to me and to ignore that which was tangential or not even useful. This is an important lesson. In reading articles at this stage of my dissertation proposal, I do not want to waste time on the agenda of the article I am reading. I want to focus on the agenda of my proposal. And I need to remember that the authors of these articles are not on my examination committee. I need to please my committee and no one else... that is, until I have to publish, but that's another blog altogether.

And now, I am off for a run. Yes!

3 comments:

Josh said...

Hello there!

This is the Pickle from Xanga. Yes, I have a blog here too, but I don't use it that often anymore.

It's cool that you make a work-reward system like you do - I should really try that. I'm the kind of person who needs to take frequent, 5 minute breaks every 20 minutes or so. My eyes easily get tired, and sometimes, I have to trick myself into thinking that what I'm studying is interesting. :P

You jog! I jog too. More of a sprinter, actually. Got these killer cleats a couple weeks ago - "spikes" the runners call them.

Anonymous said...

what a great idea! i used it once at work and it turned out to be quite effective. i managed to finish my work within the allocatted time. however, at work, it can only be done without interruptions from colleagues.

keep focus :-)

Heather said...

You're doing great Lonely! Keep motivated and ride the wave of those positive endorphins you generate by working out.

This diss will shape your life in all the best ways.