Sunday, August 10, 2014

Too Late to Day-dream?

I have not been blogging much during this family vacation at the beach.  Turns out I am doing something right.  This piece by a McGill prof identifies how we pay attention to stuff and how important it is to let our brains meander.

This has not been a particularly productive summer for me. Last summer, I wrote a new book (under review).  This summer, I started a new project and did not make much progress.  I did better un-stalling long moribund projects (conference deadlines are a beautiful thing, sort of).  One of my problems is that I have not followed the advice in this piece--to cordon off my time so that I don't do social media stuff when I am trying to do work.  Turns out that the world today is super-distracting!  Who would have thunk it?

Ok, so I was aware of that before.  But the importance of daydreaming/meandering highlighted here is suggestive.  I probably should listen to fewer podcasts when I am driving/exercising since podcasts mean focus and thus not much creative meandering.  Good thing I don't have a waterproof device for listening to podcasts in the shower.

The good news is that I have been pretty un-focused on this vacation--I have not done much in the way of academic work, I have not blogged, and I have not been on twitter/facebook much expect to post silly pics.

The better news is that this piece does justify something that I do regularly--naps FTW! 

The other key bit of news is that we should feel less guilty when we are not getting stuff done--because that is when we do get bolts of inspiration.  I surprised my relatives by discussing the relevance of guilt in the academic enterprise--they were horrified.  Like anything, perhaps not bad in moderation.   Distractions can be good:

On my last day of vacation, it is time for me to stop blogging and start doing the sunscreen thing.  See you on the other side (of the vacation).


L'il Steve said...

I do pretty much all my best academic thinking while jogging. Alas, I'm also usually listening to podcasts at the same time. Thus, I only get insights during boring podcasts. Imagine what a great political scientist I'd be if podcasts did not exist.

Anonymous said...

Podcasts are great to fuel up on examples for our lectures.
Listening to presentations also saves me from reading books that are peripheral to my research.
Podcasts do limit my free-thinking time