Monday, October 6, 2008

What Am I Doing With My Weekends?

Recent posts on ScienceWomen about striving to find balance between work and the rest of life dovetail nicely with my own ponderings this past weekend, about what work I had achieved and whether it was sufficient.

My obsessive time-keeping experiment is over, so the weekends are no longer a push to get up to the theoretically correct hours of work done for the week. Instead I try to focus on accomplishments, starting each day with a short list of things to accomplish and trying to manage it despite whatever comes up during business hours. Still, there is a temptation to see weekends as "wasted" time: time that could be spent in the lab coding on computers that are suddenly free from people, or working on comps in chunks of time uninterrupted by visitors, meetings, and incoming email.

Overall, I have no hard concerns about the balance I am achieving in my life. If I am unbalanced, it's in favor of "life" not "work". This comes of having no ambition whatsoever, a "maybe I'll just join the Peace Corps" philosophy to what I'll do after graduation and what I'd do if I left the program. I have no stress over working on weekends because I know I'm spending a decent chunk of my weekdays on things unrelated to my research - either teaching, which my advisor is not going to see as particularly productive, or doing something completely unrelated to graduate school.

So I spent my weekends not working, and feeling like I should because I also spent some of the weekdays not working, which is an entirely different take on "I didn't get enough done this week!". I could just declare my "weekend" to be Thursday and Saturday - the typical days for getting no work done - but I think the five-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week schedule suits both my ability and my will for getting work done.

The only real question is whether I'm productive enough in my focused time slots. Tick tock; the semester's deadlines for data collection and comps defenses are rapidly approaching.

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