Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rule of Three

I have really neglected the PhD thesis for the past few months. Other than a conference paper that was loosely connected to the chapter I'm working on, I've done very little work. I'm not sure what happened. I got out of the habit of getting up early to read and write (partly because of several months of often being up at night with an anxious son), and I think I let work and family squeeze out time on the thesis in general. The extra family time has been nice, but I don't like the idea that grading and general laziness have put me behind.

I tried to think of a crafting a New Year's Resolution that might do the trick, but I am skeptical of my ability to keep long lists of resolutions. Then I saw that my friend Rachael Herron chooses one particular word for the year: last year was now; this year is rest. I tried and tried to think of one word that would capture what I want for this year. I want typical things--to eat better food, to get rid of clutter, to spend less money, to work more on my thesis. I considered the word "purpose," but it seemed a bit vague.

So, instead, I'm taking a slightly different tack, and I'm focusing on a "rule of three." This rule establishes the following minimum guidelines. I might reach beyond these rules, but if I meet them, then I can be certain that, at the very least, I'm not totally ignoring my priorities. (I might add more "threes" later, but I don't want to overwhelm myself in the beginning).

  • Three walks per week
  • Three yoga sessions (of at least 20 minutes) per week (I do these at home with video classes)
  • Three hours on the thesis per week (this might seem pitifully small, but it's realistic and better than nothing)
  • Three house projects (other than regular maintenance) per month.
I would like to have a family goal in the list, too, but I'm not sure how to quantify that part.

So far this week, I have put in two walks, two yoga sessions, one hour on the thesis. I'm also 75% finished with one house project (rearranging the study so that my daughter's new keyboard can fit in the room).

We'll see how it goes.


C. Troubadour said...

Go, GEW! You can do it :D. I like the Rule of Three approach -- and believe me, I know what creeping progress feels like on a thesis, but it is *progress* all the same. Three hours is not piddly.

I admire your three house project per month goal. We're at a one house project per quarter finishing rate, and it's got me wishing I could light more of a fire under both of us. But I suppose the Christmas decorations ought to come down first ...

JaneB said...

There's a writing group starting over at Propter Doc's at the start of February, if that will be any help to you?

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, Many of my house projects will be small (e.g., cleaning out a drawer. And thanks for the encouragement!

JaneB, Thanks for the heads up on the writing group!