26 out of 410 Days: Academic Nesting

man_in_a_bird_s_nest

Yesterday felt dreadfully chaotic.  My mind was pulled in 1,000 directions.  I kept chasing ideas and evidence down rabbit holes.  Some wanted to go into the talk for next Tuesday, some into a few different chapters of the book.  That should have felt like progress, like productivity.  Instead, each competed with each other I couldn’t get my notes organized or the idea slotted in.  Some new kernel of a thought kept pulling me away and demanding my attention.  My body was tired.  My mind was tired, but curious and driven, just completely unfocused.  Even yesterday’s blog post felt half baked.  AND, I felt guilty because Day 24 had a coin, but not a coin for the BOOK.  I woke up at 4 am thinking about all of this.

I deduced two problems.

1) SDA asked me last weekend if what I had created in the back bedroom AKA my home office was an academic nest.  Stakes of books on stakes of books.  Random cups and mugs.  Sticky notes and iDevices and wires, wires everywhere.   Why, yes, that’s what precisely it is.  Just like my office at work.  SO, this morning before writing this I put my toys away like a good little girl.  Sometimes the chaos is inspiring, but the chaos also creates some of the noise in my head.

2) I didn’t define a specific goal off the mirror. Playing with Roman republican coins and reading scholarship felt like goofing off because I didn’t know what the specific goal was, even though I still made progress towards things on the board.  So, I decided today, no coins until I and Polybius have spent some quality time together.  My failure to pick a goal was because I had the unreasonable expectation the editor to whom I returned proofs the day before might get back to me  and I might need to respond.  I left myself in limbo.  [As I said some 20 days ago, being an academic often feels way too much like being on the dating scene.]  And, I left myself in a position that I didn’t feel productive, even when making progress.

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