Finding the Right Routine

Joan Bolker talks about finding good routines to maximize productivity. “Write first” is one of Bolker’s most highly recommended routines.  But some people will get more done at night, and there are probably even weirdos whose energy peaks in the afternoon.

Bolker advises dissertators to continue refining the routine, letting your process evolve so that you’re doing what works, not merely what seems logical.

Recently, I started working on weekends, because I really want to graduate in May. I have resisted working weekends since the Future Mister Doctor moved to Austin, because he does not generally work then and I wanted our free time to align. However, I thought I could handle working weekends for a few months, especially if I made the weekends a little different than the weekdays.

I told myself I would work every day, but on the weekends, I could stop as soon as I didn’t feel like writing anymore, no matter how long it had been. Then I would read dissertation-related books until I was sick of that, too. By pressuring myself less on the weekends, I hoped to preserve some sense of relaxation.

It turns out that I can be insanely productive on the weekends. I should have figured it out sooner. Unlike the Future Mister Doctor, I don’t sleep in that well. Usually, I try not to wait to wake him up until he’s slept more than 12 hours (Sorry, parents. I know how much that last sentence hurt you to read.) Anyway, a lot of the time, what would happen is that I would do something productive (pay bills, catch up on personal e-mail) and then feel kind of tired because I’d popped out of bed so darn early.  I’d go back to sleep for awhile. (I’m not good at sleeping in but I excel at napping.) Turns out that weekend mornings are great dissertating times for me.

It’s possible that I should have been working weekends all along, and taking off Mondays instead, when I feel like lazing around (and have no problem sleeping in).


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