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...


  1. Or maybe more airplane time. A long haul to Asia gives plenty of time to focus.

  2. came across this randomly. I'm actually in your class! trying to find some good study material for the test tomorrow.

  3. I wanted to send you a private email, but your “about” page is not linked properly to your ASU profile. I am in a similar situation to you and found your blog intriguing. I read through your blog and saw that someone recommended that you do a B.A.! Why did you do that instead of the M.A. or M.S.? I already had a Masters in another subject, but still no one ever said "do another B.A." It actually seems quite crazy and a step backwards if you go onto a Phd program where you will need to do M.A. classes all over again. You could have done the M.A. part-time at night and still had less classes than the B.A., even including prerequisites. I have some additional questions, so please send me your private email.