Wednesday, September 26, 2012

in medias res: driven.

i've been working every night this week so far, including sunday [1], trying to make this preprint more readable. i've found a few gaps and patched them ..

.. so, yes: my paranoia was justified!

so i feel obsessive, driven to work. earlier today a friend postponed our meetup for a drink from tonight to tomorrow night. this didn't bother me at all:

i'm free tonight! free to work!

it's gotten to the point that i had to step away from any kind of computer screen, just to focus and not be (self-)pressured to edit the LaTeX and/or be distracted by emails. [2]

yesterday, in fact, i took a printout and some scratch paper, walked into an empty classroom, sat in the back, and just worked things out.

anyway, enough of this. i have work .. not just to do, but to accomplish!

[1] when i was a graduate student, there would be semesters that i'd have enough funding not to teach. the frustrating thing was that i seemed to get as much done in those semesters as i did when i was teaching! then again, it's hard to measure progress as a graduate student, especially as you're not publishing as often as postdocs and more senior researchers.

related to this, at some point i noticed that i don't get that much more productive after 8 hours of research. it's almost as if thinking more than that would just lead to stupid ideas. so i've been working less than i used to .. just so i can work more effectively and get better ideas.

i could be wrong, but so far it hasn't hurt me that much. in my first (3-year) postdoc, i wrote up four preprints. since moving to finland, 13 months ago, i've written up the same number of new preprints!

[2] i used to be able to think while in front of a screen .. whether it be a computer, a television, or otherwise. somehow i lost that ability to focus. these days i try to work on paper for an hour, every morning, before turning on my laptop. (it's not like any email is ever that important.)

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