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.