Anyway, that article, while annoying, did get me thinking about how the world is so connected and how addicting that connection can be. Some people can't make it through a meal without texting, tweeting, checking email, or whatever. There's a constant fear of missing out on something, anything. I'll admit that I can be bad about this, particularly when I'm struggling to write and even more so when I'm grading because, ugh, I'd rather be doing just about anything than grading. Vacuuming is better than grading. I used to have days that I had to force myself into a corner and handwrite because I can't be trusted to be on the computer and not get online, checking my email 600 times in an hour. That's not as terrible as it seems because the editing process is built-in when I then have to type it up later. I've also found it really helpful to go somewhere without wifi to work, though it's getting harder and harder to find such a place these days, even where I live in the sticks. So, I thought it might be helpful if we shared our best strategies, cool little applications, etc. for avoiding distractions like the never-ending barrage of email, the wonderful blogs that a lot of us write, or the awesome timesuck that is all the wonderful kittehs (Colonel Meow is my favorite) and oh, the puppies! on the interwebs. (Don't forget to check out the pandas and penguins if you click on that last link. Never forget the penguins!)
I personally have forbidden myself to check my email until I review my daily goals, which helps set the precedent for the day that email is not the most important thing. I've also been using David Allen's inbox zero idea from his seriously life-changing book Get Things Done. Maintaining an empty inbox has meant, for me, that I no longer have this overwhelming crush of emails that linger in the back of my mind all day, every day. For my arch-nemesis, the internet, on particularly bad days when I'm just too weak to stay off of it myself, I have come to love the internet blocker, Freedom. There are other internet blockers (usually with free trials), but this is just the one I've been using because a fellow Mac-user recommended it. It's saving my dissertation.
So, what about you? Any particular favorite techniques, applications, or drastic measures (who was it that escaped a writing weekend in a cabin?) you've taken to guard your oh-so-precious writing time? Is sheer willpower enough for you or are you, like me, a potentially distracted writer?
Amanda@ladyscientist: (1) Finish looking at the issue (2) Schedule my whole week with writing time and experiment time.
Another postdoc/living academically: no check-in
Amstr (writing account): 1) make notes for diss reorg., 2) see if I need to pull from intro to avoid repetition between intro and Ch. 1, 3) write for 4 hours (work more than this on other stuff, but at least 4 hrs. dedicated to writing)
Bardiac: do something, anything
Contigent Cassandra: take out sources/models for main project; look at them; plan
Dame Eleanor Hull: Increase to 1.25 hours a day officially (I think I'm already there). Do the companion-piece revisions on Tuesday; prep for them on Monday (make sure I have the right books etc). Start checking the other chunk of translation and work on that for at least 1/2 hour, 3 times. Transcribe 6 lines of IPM. Keep reading/outlining MMP-1 and MMP-2
Danne: 1) write at least a page of notes a day. 2) Spend 3 hours a day on research 3) Use new tracking system. 4) If a positive answer is received from the new uni, take a day off for reading and celebrate
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Read Chapter One of Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article
emmawriting: left group?
Good Enough Woman: no goal set
heu mihi: Start again. Keep trying. 5 hours. Write or fiddle with the MS on 3 days. And try, at least once, to *not* prioritize teaching, service, etc. over research. Just once.
humming42: edit conference paper
Jane B: MSc paper: rough-drafting the interior bits (methods and results) by the end of the week plus making a list of the figures and things to do for the rest of it.
Jason: 1000 words-to draft; 2 hours with analytic sources; 2 hours reconsidering Ch. 4 outline; writing group post Friday
Jodi: 500-1000 words
kiwi2: To revise the introduction for Paper X (again!), redo my tiny bit of analysis. Another 15 hours work on the exotic synthesis. Perhaps if I break it down a bit more to: a) read and take notes on 5 of the relevant documents and b) incorporate these notes into the rough structure.
kiwimedievalist/zcat_abroad: no check-in
luolin88: time:15 minutes MTWTh, 30 minutes Friday. task: plan and revise
Matilda: finish the paper
metheist: 3hrs on T/R and a total of 1000 words
nwgirl: 1). Finish GT section; 2). Work 2-3 hours on non-teaching days and 30 minutes each on three teaching days; 3). Check-in with writing group.
Pilgrim/Heretic: 2,000 words
profacero (Z): find files and write the abstract and write my first page; word count goal 500
rented life: no check-in
Susan: no check-in
tracynicolrose: Draft abstract(s) for Toronto conference; 4th of 4 (level 1) analysis memos for MS paper; do some reading for Methods paper
Zabeel: 1. Proof read Appendix 1; 2. Plan revisions for chapter 6; 3. Do first 5 pages of ch. 6 revisions