28 August 2009

Time slice

Today is the last weekday before our Fall semester starts. I’ve worked hard this summer to get some research projects going. Between my students and myself, there are about four papers nearing completion, which is good.

What is not so good is that I am not feeling the love for teaching this coming semester. This is normally not the sort of thing an instructor should admit, let alone blog about. Let me try to explain why.

Recently, I read something pointing out that administrative and managerial types slice the day into one hour blocks. Those faced with some sort of problem-solving task, be it writing, coding, engineering, or what have you, don’t break up their time into convenient one hour blocks. (I’ve been looking for the original source and can’t find it; sorry. Can anyone help me give due credit?)

We teach classes in one hour clocks. We hold meetings in one hour blocks. And they’re scattered throughout the day and week. And there are zillions of little bits of paperwork that start coming in droves. Authorizations, reconciliations, questions...

I want to finish those research papers so badly. But even though classes haven’t started yet, my days are already getting carved into one hour blocks with meetings and students wanting appointments. I can feel my ability to sit down and do the hard reading, thinking, writing, and figure creation, needed to grind away at those research projects for long, uninterrupted periods being sliced up into small, unproductive slivers of time.

3 comments:

Sarah the Buglady said...

My suggestion: on the days you don't teach, work at home. Schedule student meetings and committee meetings (as best you can) on your teaching days. Don't let anyone or anything encroach on your writing days, under pain of death!

j. said...

Zen:

This might be the link you were looking for:

http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html.

Zen said...

Yes, I think that's the link I was looking for! Thanks!