Home > Uncategorized > The Importance of Structure

The Importance of Structure

Admittedly, I’ve never been someone who can easily go with the flow.  While I very much like to appear calm, cool, and collected, my friends can attest to the fact that I trend towards high strung and anxious.  As I have alluded to in the past, the ambiguity and lack of structure in the dissertation process has proved challenging.  As such, I’ve put together a very detailed schedule based around four facets of fall semester work: archival work, historiography/reading from home, grant writing, and exercise.

I found out over the summer that I don’t do well with six days of consecutive work in the archives.  I get agitated if someone sits in my favorite seat, I grow antsy cooped up in the library, and I end up focusing less than I should considering the importance of the task at hand.  This has also been a big factor in the development of my rigorous schedule, as I hope some variety will keep things freshSo with this preface out of the way, let’s unveil the schedule

Monday: Early morning trip to the gym, grant writing, historiography

Tuesday: Archives

Wednesday: Gym, historiography, research from home

Thursday: Archives

Friday: Gym, historiography, research from home

Saturday: Archives

Sunday: Miscellaneous writing

Now, this schedule is subject to change, but there is some rationale here.  Without some exercise I think I’d go insane, so it was important to fit that into the plan.  But I found that I never seem to find the motivation to head to the archives after my workouts.  So I decided to use those days to keep up with historiography as I work through my dissertation, exploring newly relevant works based on my findings.  In addition, there is a lot of material available in edited collections and online, so those “work from home” days are still productive.  If necessary, I can head to Loyola’s library and work from the comfort of my study carrel.  That leaves me with three days of full-time, dedicated archival work at the Newberry.  I might end up scaling back my grant writing and just leave it as miscellaneous writing for now (grants, book reviews, blogs, chapters, etc), but I wanted to leave some formal time to write.  If I follow the plan, I think this could be pretty effective.

Anyone have comments/suggestions/schedules of their own to share?

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