Example

Take teaching, for instance. I teach the same courses this semester that I taught in the Fall. But they are completely different in structure, readings, classroom strategies, etc. Because I love exploring new ways of doing things.

In the meanwhile, it took me almost a year to move a lamp from one place to another in my bedroom, which improved the look and the comfort dramatically.

3 thoughts on “Example”

  1. I’m very much like this, too. I will buy clothes or exercise gear online and it will sit in the package on the floor for weeks or months, until I deign to unpack it. I don’t care about it, so I don’t see it. In contrast, I constantly tinker with my courses — I teach a larger number and variety than most, and still tinker with them incessantly. I also switch research directions more frequently and more dramatically than most.

    The issue is, I think, prioritization and extreme focus on stuff that is high priority, even if the priority if subjective. Stuff I don’t care about is invisible to me. That’s why I can work very productively even if my office or desk is cluttered; most people must control the space around them first before any intellectual work can occur, whereas it has zero effect on me. If I feel fired up to work, nothing can stop me.

    With kids’ activities I can physically feel the extra energy I expend on thinking where and how. I don’t really care about that stuff (I also don’t care about holidays, presents, etc.) so I have to force myself to do it. What works for me is a) stealing any good ideas that life (or other parents) throw my way; thankfully, I have a good memory; b) doing everything in bursts: for example, I will sit one day and organize a summer full of camps for all my children, and another half day to organize the family vacations. No time before or after is devoted to these activities, save for passively absorbing any info that happens to be thrown at me. Stuff like Xmas shopping is 100% husband’s purview as he enjoys it.

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  2. To maintain some semblance of control over my time, and get some research done, I had to force myself to acknowledge that a lot of the assignments in my class are actually pretty good. I’m “only” revising 40% of the projects.

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  3. I’m way past wild experimenting every new semester but I’m constantly tweaking and fine tuning (with a steady stream of new things).
    Unfortunately a number of colleagues haven’t updated anything they’ve done in….. oh, goodness, years and years…. (and refuse to recognize changes in the students’ lives that I think should trigger some curriculum changes).

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