Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Increments

In the previous post, I wrote about how, for lack of the time for anything else, I have resigned myself to getting in shape by taking short runs (although, after being resigned, I learned that I sort of like it!). Along similar lines, I have realized that, during busy times (like almost always), it's nearly impossible to find a large chunk of time for working on my dissertation. And oh do I love large chunks of time. So much. But I don't have them, and yet I must keep making progress on the work.

Like some others of you, I have been participated in online writing groups. Over the summer, we checked in at Amstr's place, and now Dame Eleanor is hosting.* Of late, I have not been accomplishing my weekly goals. So I decided to borrow from my running plan book, which is based on short bursts, here and there, throughout the week. In other words, my new plan for making dissertation progress is to work on it at least 15 minutes a day, six days a week, for a total of 1.5 hours.

It's only been a week and a half, but so far it's working. I've found that the 15 minutes feels most productive when I've been writing rather than reading (it's hard to make much reading progress in 15 minutes), so I've been writing much more than usual. I did read one night when it was late, and I was tired, so I just picked up Roy Porter's English Society in the Eighteenth Century before crawling into bed--it's interesting, useful, not too heady, and I still got in my 15 minutes just under the wire. I'm not exactly sure how I'll work in the difficult reading--the long theoretical articles, the dreaded seminal texts--but I'll cross that bridge when I trip over its first plank.

*Don't ask to join. It's too late!


Amstr said...

I'm glad the 15 min. at a time is working for you! One of the first books I read on how to manage writing a dissertation was Joan Bolker's Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day. I actually read the entirety of Sidney's Arcadia (Old and New) in 15 min. chunks (though I had to stretch to do more than one chunk a day), and for a long time I made my task lists in 15-min-bite-sized tasks. It's amazing how much progress one can make on that program!

C. Troubadour said...

Yay for progress! I'm so glad the small increments strategy is working both for fitness and dissertation stuff. I should try this. I have slacked off (read: quit) on the cardio since June (pregnancy hormones wreak havoc with one's joints) but I need to get back to *some* kind of heart-rate boosting exercise. I like the Good Enough approach!