Last spring and summer I instituted “my time”. I started scheduling off 3hr blocks of time 2-3 times a week on my calendar for research. This happened around the time that I started making my calendar available so students would know when to find me. (It has made scheduling meetings very easy.) But I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t interrupted arbitrarily. I treat these blocks of time like any scheduled meeting. They are precious. I will only cancel one or intrude on one for very important things (such as working with collaborators on research or attending a graduate exam).
My productivity went up, I found. I knew I could rely on a decent chunk of time regularly. Before, I had found myself with useless one hour blocks squeezed between meetings – not enough time for me to think seriously about a problem.
For some reason I stopped in the fall. I probably just forgot to reschedule the time for the quarter, with new committee and teaching schedules to work around. Last week, I was reminded about the importance of uninterrupted time for the creative process from John Cleese’s surprisingly relevant-to-research speech on creativity, posted by Luca. So, “my time” is reinstated.
Of course, that’s no excuse to waste precious minutes of “my time” writing this post.