By Virginia Wilson, Director
Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (C-EBLIP)
When I sat down this morning to write out a comprehensive to-do list, I had to turn away from it for a moment. In my research section, there’s a bit too much going on. I’m in the middle of three research projects – one of which is a solo project and is hanging on far longer than I would have hoped. If it were a child, my data would be starting kindergarten this fall. My other two projects are collaborations. They are moving along, which I attribute to the accountability that comes from working with others. I sometimes look at co-workers and colleagues whom I admire and wonder “how do they get it all done?”
Regarding my solo project, I think my procrastination has been fueled by the feeling of not having a big enough chunk of time to really get into it. That’s merely an excuse, of course. I do have time, and I have had the time, and even if there are not great stretches of it, I should be able to be productive. But the longer I don’t do it, the easier it is to not do it. One of my collaborators, Lorie, said, (and I paraphrase): You can get a lot done in a couple hours or a half a day. You just do it! Just do it. That’s it, really. Don’t think about it, don’t mull it over, don’t wonder, don’t ponder, and for heaven’s sake, don’t read any more literature…just do it. As Yoda says, “Do. Or not do. There is no try.” I’ve been doing a lot of “not doing” on this solo project. So, enough of that! I’m going to enlist all of you as my accountability buddies. I’m declaring here in print that I will write that paper by Spring 2017.
How am I going to do this, you ask? I’m going to take advantage of the C-EBLIP Writing Circle. Every two weeks, a group of us gets together, shares progress and goals, and then writes for a couple of hours. It’s surprisingly effective! I also did some looking around for other productivity techniques and came across a post on lifehacker (and who doesn’t want to hack their life, am I right?) where they outline the five best productivity methods based on “your” votes. The Pomodoro Technique looks pretty interesting. I just need a “simple timer and a little discipline.” Hmm, okay. I’ll set the timer for 25 minutes, start it, and get to work. After I’ve worked for 25 minutes, the timer goes off, and I get a 5 minute break. Apparently, that is one “Pomodoro.” And I go on from there. The key is “short, sustained bursts.” There are some other productivity techniques listed, including a secret from Jerry Seinfeld. I do fear, however, that I will end up procrastinating by exploring more and better productivity techniques!
So, there you go. Probably more than you needed to know about my inner research psyche, but I surely cannot be alone when it comes to following through on research projects. I look to role models for inspiration, which is helpful. But probably the biggest drive for my solo research project right now is the age of the data. It’s still viable, I’m sure of that, but it really needs to get out there. If anything, I owe it to the folks who took the time to share their stories with me. So, that’s a good motivator, too. If you have similar stories to share, or some interesting productivity techniques, I’d love to hear about them.
This article gives the views of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of the Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice or the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.