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Not that I'm a poster child for productivity on any front but I think it's important to set realistic goals. Realistic. Most of us in academia are used to setting difficult goals and then achieving them against all odds. When we are talking about eating well and incorporating exercise and writing and teaching and administrivia we're really talking about striving for some kind of balance. For me, achievable goals are some kind of exercise for half an hour a day and some kind of research activity for an hour, 4 times a week (I'm in a heavy teaching term). Maybe to some folks this sounds unrealistically low. But for me, if the goals aren't attainable I spend zero hours in exercise and zero hours in research/writing and then what? I find it so easy to get overwhelmed by the teaching and administrative load, esp at this time of year when committees are going full tilt and the hallways are full of new students.
The work of the world does not wait for perfect people.
I think the danger with balancing academic work and exercise is that it's easy to use exercise to procrastinate on writing (and vice versa). My suggestion would be to set particular times for exercise and stick to it. (Exercise classes are good for this.) And, as soon as you get into good enough shape to do so, choose high-intensity exercise, so that you burn the most calories per minute.
As for writing, when I was dissertating, I set a do-able goal and made sure I stayed consistent, no matter what. For me, it was five pages a week. That might not seem like a lot, but I did it consistently week in and week out and got it done. If I had a fit of inspiration on Monday, I got to slack off the rest of the week. If I was in a section that was a slog, I worked all seven days, on top of my day job. Different disciplines work differently, so the specifics might not apply, but the same concept of goal setting applies to both writing and losing weight.
I'm Sue, and I won't let fear hold me back.
I have the same question about tips for balancing everything, especially as I write this message on the eve of the first day of school. I've come to discover that I really enjoying the "me" time that goes along with working out, but I'm afraid that the time is going to be hard to maintain once I begin teaching and taking classes again.
I'll have to check out the Silvia book. It sounds helpful. I definitely need more discipline when it comes to setting aside time to write the upcoming dissertation.
Does anyone else have suggestions for how to balance the demands of academia with the demands of losing weight? Thanks!
Hi. Welcome back from the summer.
I just picked up "How to write a lot by Paul Silvia (ISBN 13:978-1-59147-743-3)for about $15. He advocates basic Spark techniques like making a schedule, keeping it, setting specific goals, and rewarding yourself when you meet them. There are some helpful tips on setting up a successful writing support group and tracking writing progress and setting up the writing schedule. If only buying the book would make it happen ...sigh
Best of luck in the new semester, Kate
Edited by: KATEALLEN at: 8/27/2010 (14:03)
I feel like that since I've joined spark people my attitude towards exercise has changed. I am obssessed with going on spark people and tracking my food, exercise, and I love to swim!
But it hasn't helped me with my intellectual goals.
I know I have to study, I know I have to prepare for a talk, I have so much to do yet I have so little discipline.
Do you guys have any advice on transferring the discipline you have for exercise to the discipline you're suppose to have for studying?
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Leader of the 'Fans of Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert!' Team