Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Late Summer Lull

Photo taken by me.
A few weeks ago, I visited home for a week. Although I was back for a family christening, I decided to take full advantage of 'home' being an island. 

I caught up with friends and family. I ate a lot of seafood. I swam in the sea. I went for walks along the cliffs. I didn't check twitter. I read a lot. 

And then I came back. 

And then, not much, really.

It's been just under two weeks since I arrived back and I've been struggling to get back into the pattern of work I'd established. I've been having to use pomodoros to manage my time, otherwise I find myself ankle deep in tabs that have nothing to do with work. 

I think there are a few things that have contributed to this. Firstly, I got out of the habit of getting up early while I was home. I'm most productive before lunch. This means that I'm still struggling to get into my stride before lunch time. Secondly, because I'm focusing on a manuscript collection, I am still reading my primary texts. And - because of a lack of foresight - I am now left with mainly theological texts. Which aren't really my primary area of interest. It isn't that I don't find them interesting, it's just that they don't spark off lots of tidbits and trains of thought like other texts might. This means I'm less motivated to get on with reading them. 

Also linked to this is the fact that there is very little secondary literature on some of these texts. Which gives me less of a framework with which to approach them.

I haven't blogged about this until now because - frankly - I've been too busy beating myself up for this lull. How could I possibly be this demotivated? Why am I so lazy? Am I just too thick to 'get' theological texts? Or am just intellectually immature?

But now that I've sat down and had a stern talk with myself, I'm going to try this instead:
  1. Set smaller goals. It's unlikely I'm going to write 4000+ on every grouping of texts this early on. Instead, I'm going to aim for more manageable goals. This week, for example, I want to finish the secondary texts and note down areas I'll explore.
  2. Remind myself why I procrastinate, and stop it. Like most people, I procrastinate because I'm a perfectionist. I'd rather do less work than produce shoddy work. So I'm getting strict with myself: as of this week, LeechBlock is going to be back on my browser.
  3. Figure out what I need to come back to. These texts are really exposing my unfamiliarity with theology, and reading history scholarship. Which is going straight on the list of areas to explore later.

Does anyone else feel demotivated after taking a break? Any tips would be gratefully received!

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