The 3-hour max

Young academics struggling with a heavy teaching load and the need to "get the book out" may be relieved to hear that many of the great artists of the twentieth centuries suggest that it is difficult to do more than three hours of creative work a day. 

I take this conclusion from a book by Mason Currey that I blogged about earlier this week. It profiles artists and their daily routines, which Currey refers to as "rituals."  

A few examples of these working hours:

Morton Feldman 7-11am

Mozart 7-9am, 6-9pm

Strauss 10am-1pm, 3-4pm

 While many maxed out at three hours, others were able to do two three-hour sessions each day though this did not necessarily mean that they were more productive. Many told horror stories of writing only a few good sentences on some days. Gertrude Stein wrote that she could only do about a half an hour of writing a day, but claimed "If you write a half hour a day it makes a lot of writing year by year. To be sure all day and every day you are waiting around to write that half hour a day" (Currey, 2013:51). Young academics take heart!

Most who worked longer hours (and even some who worked only a few hours each day) had either a wife who managed EVERYTHING or a servant. Sigmund Freud's wife "laid out Freud's clothes, chose his handkerchiefs, and even put toothpaste on his toothbrush" (p.38). Under such circumstances, couldn't we all write a masterpiece?

Getting Things Done, part II AKA "The Secret Weapon"

I've decided to try The Secret Weapon system for time management.  I was initially skeptical about it because their instructional videos and descriptions  WASTED SO MUCH OF MY TIME. However, if you skip the instructional video and just cut to the instructions (here), it does not take long to set it up. The main idea is that it integrates David Allen's Getting Things Done with Evernote, the information app for all of your devices. You basically create an inbox for all of the items on your to do list. Rather than using your email inbox, email is immediately processed out of your email inbox and into your time inbox where it can be managed by when and where it should take place.

My only complain about the system so far is that it privileges the urgent over the important, since it encourages you to organize your to-do list by due date. The system needs to be combined with Allen's Getting Things Done because that system teachers you how to break down bigger goals into action items (that can be processed by Evernote). More soon.  

Getting Things Done, part I

Of late I have been considering various time management systems. 

I found this article helpful as a beginning. This article contains a review of several systems.

The most popular system in the business world appears to be "Getting Things Done" by  David Allen. It seems to rely on a few general principles. For starters, do a "brain dump." Get everything you know you need to do on a piece of paper. Then, design a system to input these to-dos. From here on out, do anything you can to enter any task that you need to accomplish into the system so that it does not get forgotten. Within your system, you need to be constantly assessing how much time that you are spending on particular tasks, making sure you are living out of your priorities (focusing on the "important" before the "urgent"), and constantly identify the "next step" of any task.

I'll let you know what I figure out.