Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

Time management

This and last weekend I've spent reading through the huge pile of magazines and journals that have accumulated in my apartment, some dating from Fall 2002. It feels very good to get that pile down to only a few items left.

The highlight for today's reading so far was a piece on time management, geared toward new faculty members, appearing in the SIGMOD Record (v32 no. 2, June 2003, by A. Ailamaki and J. Gehrke). I'm not a new faculty, but many of the suggestions are useful for anyone new to a professional position (faculty, researcher, etc.). The suggestion I thought most interesting was: read your e-mail only twice a day. This makes sense, in hindsight -- reading e-mail constantly quickly disrupts any attempt at a sane schedule. I disagree a bit with this, though -- e-mail is also valuable for low-latency small requests ("Corey, do you want to grab lunch in 20 minutes?"). But, thinking about how I read mail at work, I may try a similar approach: anything To: me directly I'll be notified about; ditto for a few lists I'm on. Anything else, though, I check only a few times a day. Okay, so I may miss the active progression of some discussions. But, if it means I'm less distracted, that's great.

The article had some other suggestions that I wouldn't have thought of myself (f'ex, don't surf online for airfare for travel -- have your admin do this; ditto even for printing papers or making copies). A good read, which I'm going to bookmark and re-read again, sometime in the future, should I ever consider becoming a "new faculty" myself one day. 8)
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