Embracing the creation of good writing habits

In the higher education world here in Australia we are busy bees organising for a new semester – selection, subject guides, curriculum development, team meetings, and getting our heads around policy are action items on all our lists. But if I interrupt this busyness and ask the question: So where does research sit? A colleague and I were chatting yesterday and she posed the question, if you can’t find time to research (data collect in the field, analyse, write your outputs up, etc)  now then when will you? This question made me think. I know personally research is a strong priority in my diary, actually it is number one. I designate time everyday to write, with a minimum of one hour. I also guard my one full day of research. I generally connect most of my other tasks to my research as well. Some would call this strategic thinking. In some ways yes, in other ways I’m seriously thinking about what I do, when I do it, why it do it, and am I the best person to do it.

My colleague stimulated an interesting conversation – what are you going to research?  when is your deadline? and how are you going to make it happen? So often we don’t use our time wisely as academics and we can get easily distracted and bogged down with tasks that take us away from one of our core responsibilities. Now don’t get me wrong, learning and teaching are also important, but what is not important is valuing administrative tasks with buckets of time. I wonder how much time we would save and transfer across to research if we attended to these tasks much quicker or perhaps not even at all. I have observed for many years now colleagues dedicating time to tasks that actually do not need to be done or could be completed much more efficiently by someone else.

Now is the time to set good habits. To organise the diary, create pockets of time that are focused on research. As I have blogged before there are numerous strategies that support developing healthy writing habits (Shut up and write sessions, pomodoro technique, #ciricleofnicrness, #acwrimo, etc). So the challenge is set, what are you going to do to create a healthy write habit? What is your first step to assist you creating more time to research, write, or analyse?

Here’s some ideas:

  • Map your diary out for the week with blocks of research time
  • On you computer open up the file for your current writing task the night before you begin to write in the morning, them It will be the first thing you see in the morning when you sit down at you computer
  • Go for a run, stretch and the. Head straight to the computer to write
  • Head to your favourite cafe in the morning, enjoy a coffee while you write before you head into the office
  • Roll out of bed and write I your pj’s
  • Don’t check email until 2pm
  • Read a new article each day to inform your writing the next morning
  • Download a pomodoro app to help you build writing time

How will you embrace the creation of good writing habits? 

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