I swear my productivity (and motivation) comes and goes in waves. I’ll have a period of time when I’m super highly productive, followed by the next period of time where I’m lucky if I get anything done.
Recently, it’s been definitely a low productivity time. Between going on vacation, then having a few weeks back where all I managed to get done was what absolutely had to be done, but no more, then a conference trip, followed by a weekend trip home that got extended more than double in length so I could stay and help out my mom. Now, staying home was worth it, and I’ll go again if needed, but it didn’t leave me with much time to do any of my work. I also wasn’t great at making time, instead enjoying my extended break.
However, I’ve been back for a while and I really need to get back on top of things. So, I took a piece of advice I’ve given before (although can’t find at the moment), and I set a goal for myself by announcing to my supervisor that I was going to have x and y done for our research meeting this week (today!). So, finally, yesterday, after way to much time being un(der)productive, I managed to get back on top of things.
I finished off goal x and got started on goal y. I chose to do x first, because the process, and thus evaluation of “did I meet it” is much clearer than goal y. And it’s always easier to work on a task that has a fixed finishing point. I could judge how far along I was and how much more I needed to get done. Y, on the other hand, was a much more vague hand wavy goal that basically amounts to, I’ll work on a piece of a bigger project, but not sure how far or where I’d get.
However, I still do hope to put enough together to have something reasonable to show later today. I’ve got bits of pieces done, including some research, which will allow me to discuss it more. However, we also have limited time in our meetings, so I’ll just have to show what I can in the chunk of time I get. But, I’m going to work with the assumption that I have enough time to show everything, and would prefer to show up with more to show and run out of time. (I’m pretty sure my supervisor is wondering when I’ll get back on top of things. Although we have had decent meetings lately.)
And at the meeting, in order to maintain my productive streak, I will set another goal, of how much I want to have done for the next meeting, so I have something concrete to work towards.