As I was getting to the end of the recent book, I was buying books at my usual pace but not reading them (as that brainspace was completely taken up with reading my own draft or references for the draft).
Now the book is in and the summer has started, I felt excited to dive into all these books but I also felt stuck. I couldn’t get into gear, let alone find my groove.
So I rummaged around in my toolbox, and came up with this list of techniques. None of them are perfect, but little by little we are turning the dial back to reading.
I am a massive fan of writing luxuries. Somehow the beautiful pencil or the diffuser scent or the ideal snack makes an outsized difference to how excited I am to sit at my keyboard. Maybe it’s a bourgeois trick, and maybe it’s self-care, and maybe it works for me and anything that works is worth exploring.
We’ve just passed a major landmark, with our 250th post here on Research Degree Insiders (about how to anonymise your research for peer review without erasing it!) Back in 2013, I started a tiny place on the internet to share the resources that I was talking about every day with students in one-on-one sessions .
Perhaps you feel like your year swings into productivity and then out again. Perhaps you are aware of all the wobbles and adjustments you are constantly having to make. Perhaps sometimes you need to reach out for support. Maybe sometimes you fall off balance and have to quickly get back up again. These are ways that people talk to me about balance–and they suggest that they are therefore ‘bad at balance’, ‘unbalanced’. But actually, this is exactly how bodies and minds should balance.
At a workshop the other day, as they always do, someone asked about how to get over ‘procrastination’. And as I always do, I asked whether what they were experiencing was procrastination, or something else. Any delay, resistance or pause in the productivity machine is labelled as ‘procrastination’ and it often isn’t. But it can be hard to tell, when all you know is that you sat down to work and couldn’t get started.