Grad school is…

fostering time away from your work.

One of my mentors as un undergrad at the University of Nebraska, John Janovy Jr., wrote eloquently of time spent in the lab at the end of the day, washing glassware, his hands in the warm sudsy water, his mind adrift. It is not a coincidence that ideas pop into your head when you least expect them, on a long walk, in the shower, …

It is all the more important in these days of iPhones, iPads, iPods, and iThink, to find time away from social media, away from the web, lost in your thoughts. So volunteer to do the dishes, clean the house, mow the lawn. You get a karmic two-fer: time with your thoughts, and somebody–your housemates, your spouse, your cat–will think better of you.

Image from “Mr. Natural does the dishes” by R. Crumb.

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One Response to Grad school is…

  1. Busy Signals says:

    So true–I’m the one who usually does the dishes in our house, and it’s almost purely selfish. Yes, I enjoy/don’t dislike doing them more than my wife, but I also know from long experience that I do some of my best thinking (and mind-adrift, productive non-thinking) when doing such tasks. Plus, the feeling of completion, even on such a small and repetitive task, is addictive.

    (Also, good to see a reference to my alma mater in the productivity blogosphere!)

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