Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Schedule (Time)

Like everyone else, I like to think of myself as an existentialist. I like to think of my self as resolutely my own, while acknowledging that one must live among others. I consider myself thrown into it all with everyone else.

So here's a little bit of philosophy. "What?" is to space as "Who?" is to time. ("Not 'When?'," you ask. No, "Where?" is to space as "When?" is to time.) If your outline tells you what you will be writing, your schedule tells you who will be writing. So a schedule is, indeed, a rather existential affair. It is about who you are.

I'm kidding, of course, but only a little. You have to find time to write your papers, and what time you have depends on your other commitments, on what you are "with others" before you find time "for yourself".

As a standard model, that you can of course modify to suit your particular temperament, a weekly writing schedule is spread over ten possible time slots. This normally means mornings and afternoons, five days a week. (That's one thing you can modify. If you don't get up until late morning, you will obviously need to think in terms of afternoons and evenings.) At most, five of these slots should be devoted to your writing project and, ideally, no more than one a day.

For example, I have a lot non-writing commitments. I edit other people's work at least three times a week, sometimes more, for about three hours at a time. I do that in the morning. In the afternoons, I talk to my authors, attend meetings, and hold workshops. That means that if I want to write a paper (I actually have four in the works) I have to fit my work on them into a number of "ongoing activities" (the Heideggerian Hustle, Betrieb). I can't just set aside a week and "get that paper written".

I can expect to get at most two sessions a week (some weeks, none, some weeks, one) free to work on a paper. So I need to know very specifically what I will be doing in those sessions. As I have been saying, the outline is a useful tool in this regard.

Over the next two weeks, I need to find about 6 sessions (18 hours) to work on my paper about sensemaking scholarship, all of which exists already as prose in a number of drafts and working papers. It's about editing a final version to send off to ASQ. First, I will work on the introduction and conclusion. Then, I will work on the theory section. Next, the Westrum case. Then, the Mailloux case. Then I will return to the introduction and conclusion (sharpening them in the light of the other three sections). Finally, I will copy-edit, check the references, and send it off (after a few colleagues have had a chance to read it through).

It should all take three or four weeks (one or two sessions a week). I'll let you know how it goes.

No comments: