Self-Review

Stay tuned for a future Doctor Jones post on the influential book Getting Things Done, but in the meantime, I wanted to lend my support to one of the book’s tenets.

Periodic review of one’s work is one of the best ways to spur productivity. It can seem counter-intuitive. Let’s say you’ve had a bad, ineffective week of work. Instead of sitting down on Friday afternoon to assess your progress, you want to actually get something done.

But parodoxically, the very act of reviewing makes one more productive. I think this is one of the biggest benefits of having a Dissertation Support Group. Simply preparing for that meeting for fifteen minutes–which for me, involves checking the progress of last week’s goals, setting new goals for the following week, and noting a “big idea” that I had over the course of the week–often helps me crystalize some aspect of my project. Knowing that the check-in is imminent also sometimes prompts me to quickly finish (or start) working on one of my previous goals–even though there are no negative consequences if I don’t work on them.

I recommend periodic check-ins, alone or in groups. They are not a waste of time.

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