This post is about the ‘Handbibliothek’ (German: hand library), that part of the library where frequently-used books are shelved easily ‘to hand’. At your writing desk, you will need to build a personal Handbibliothek that will be exactly calibrated to your individual research project.
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.
I cannot believe, after all my to-do list and planning your time blog posts, I’ve never actually talked about how to break down a big project, set goals and then plan to meet them: an essential aspect of doing a PhD thesis… Partly because when we teach this in a workshop we know there is so much diversity in the ways that different people achieve the same outcome
I recently re-read Cal Newport’s Deep Work in preparation for my new book on writing and wellbeing. And soon enough I started to notice that the people he uses as exemplars of doing deep work were … all pretty similar. By my reading, there are only two women in the book who are described as doing deep thinking. And yet, perhaps, ladies* would still like to do deep work.