Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Slow Semester

After two straight semesters of graduate seminar courses (which were a lot of work, but that I enjoyed immensely), I have an easy load this semester. I am only taking a single undergraduate course: ASM 246, Human Origins, taught by Donald Johanson (as I described back in November).

Johanson is an enjoyable lecturer: Always friendly, explains things clearly, and has great stories from his fieldwork in Africa. My only disappointment is how much of this material was already covered in ASM 104. This makes it more difficult to sit through the lectures, since there's so little "aha" information (at least for me).

The light load has left me with a lot more time for my personal research projects, yet I find that I am squandering a great deal of the extra time and not making much headway. Why is it that the more time we have for something, the less efficient we are at getting things done?

I read a great story in the New York Times about an author, Simon Sinek, who discovered he got a lot less writing done when he reduced his travel and had more time for writing. It seems that he did most of his writing on the plane, and the inevitable dead battery in his laptop provided a sense of urgency that motivated him to write quickly.

Does this mean I need a greater workload to be more productive? Perhaps...