Saturday, December 05, 2009

in the mornings, it's important to have a routine.

on tuesday, thursday, and friday morning [1], i woke up and had a very specific agenda:

take the bus to campus,
meet a visiting colleague,
discuss math over a cup of coffee.

i try not to live under too many illusions, but so far this has gone well enough. whether it is truly a productive use of time, it has at least felt productive. in contrast, on most days of the week i feel as if i've accomplished absolutely nothing.

maybe we have discussed rather trivial things.
maybe this will lead to a new project.

who knows?
we'll work and we'll see;
that's all we can do, anyway.

that colleague leaves this weekend. i'll probably see him again in may.

so this morning i woke up without an agenda or much motivation. i couldn't decide what to work on.

in the end, i grew tired of standing indecisively in my living room. i packed a heavy backpack (as to be ready for any sort of math), went out, and bought a cup of coffee.

it seemed to help. i soon went to work on a long-neglected research problem, one i had set aside some months ago. it wasn't wholly unproductive.

[1] i teach on wednesday mornings. by thursday, we reached an interesting point in the discussion, so on friday morning, i decided to sacrifice an hour or two of sleep in favor of strong coffee and maths.


strangerland said...

Have you ever noticed that the roots of the characteristic polynomial of skew-symmetric matrices all have real part equal to 0? It's usually stated that they are pure imaginary. I like saying it the other way I think it's interesting. Don't lose too much sleep. You'll become delirious.

janus said...

i think i tend to lose sleep, regardless of that.