Friday, July 30, 2010

Blogging here is continuous on geologic timescales

But those of you looking for subannual periodicity may be disappointed. I'm trying to finish a paper and progress has been slow. Do any of you parents or other obligatory multitaskers have useful strategies for keeping track of manuscript progress when available time is split up into 10-30 minute segments? I'm finding that by the time I figure out where I was up to the last time I was writing, the boy has thrown up on the carpet and the girl's run naked into the front yard, and writing time is over. I'm suffering from too much punctuation, and not enough equilibrium. Any tips?

p.s. The boy only sleeps 10 to 5:30, so getting up early only gives a small window.


Ron Schott said...

I'm afraid I can only commiserate. Even without the responsibility of children I always found my own distractions from writing.

My own sporadic blog posts usually get started after midnight and throw off my sleep schedule for days.

What's the paper about?

jgfellow said...

I'm a huge fan of David Allen's "getting things done" method. The most pertinent section is the "to-do list / next action." When I write my internal papers (which aren't on the same level of scrutiny) I often have lists that look like this:

1) intro ## edit first 3 sentences for clarity
2) figure 4a ## corroborate using marginal payment data
3) etc. ## etc.

The more "actionable" -- that is to say the more obvious what the next thing you actually do -- the better. I often work in <30m stints so I can't waste time figuring out where I left off.

So 1) above is okay -- I can read the note and be editing the intro within 60 seconds. 2) is okay, as it's not clear if I have to collect the data, analyze it or just compare the results.

I try not to get hung up over writing those next steps. Anything is better then having to get up to speed from ground zero...

ariella said...

Oh my goodness, how in the world do you get 10 to 30 minute increments with two kids around?! With my little ones being nearly-five and two-and-a-half, I often spend my day hoping for a 30 SECOND increment, just to have a pee break. My only solution is occasional childcare.

Steve Bloom said...

Sure. Get him to throw up in the yard and her to run naked over the carpet, thus entirely avoiding the need for corrective action.