Do you need to talk through your ideas with other people? Or, do you need time to really think things over without distraction?
Does physical activity, like walking or running, stimulate your thinking? Does creative activity not directly related to your work, like painting or quilting, stimulate your thinking?
Do you work better in the morning? Mid-afternoon? Evening?
How do you use a to do list? How do you use your calendar?
Does it help you to know that other people are expecting you to do something? Or does that increase your anxiety to a point where it is hard to do the work?
There is no one perfect system
When you think about how you work, you need to take your own personal quirks into account.
It is useful to know what other people do, but the fact that something works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Also, if what works for you seems kind of weird, that’s okay. You don’t have to grow out of that or become more “professional” (whatever that means).
Step 1: notice
Too often your frustration is generalized. It feels like nothing is working but that isn’t true.
What is working well? Specific things, however small.
What would you like to be different? Again, be specific.
Take your time
There is no instant fix. No perfect solution. And no “normal” week.
Notice. Experiment. Reflect. Adjust. Repeat.
The changes will be more like a spiral than a straight line. Things will get better in specific ways. You will get better at noticing what’s not working and adjusting more quickly.
If you are a member of the Academic Writing Studio, there is a class in the Resource Room called “Establishing a Writing Practice” that takes you through this process.
Edited May 30, 2016.