Today was the first day of Dissertation Boot Camp (I’ve been talking of going to Boot Camp like Buster from Arrested Development talks about going to Army). The permission granted by this program to focus, without guilt, on your dissertation to the exclusion of everything else was liberating. Readers, hear this: I checked my email once today, at 7pm. Physiologically, it was far too much sitting, but I found a bathroom several flights of stairs away and did some air squats and stretches there before returning, looking forward at 4pm to heading across the street to the gym.
I have never worked – I mean researched and written my own work – in an on-campus office. I prefer to work at home partly because I hate to spare the travel and set-up time, and I like access to espresso and tea and food and exercise breaks. I also like the privacy. I already know that I require unbroken stretches of time to write, and so I attempt to condense other activities to provide for that, but I’ve never kept to a remotely 9-5 schedule. Part of this is because I don’t believe that the domains of my life are actually separate “work vs. life” – as though work is death and as though life doesn’t take work – especially in what I see as a vocation, but there is also the fact that I’ve never trusted myself to really set aside chunks of time where I’m not working. That doesn’t mean I am working all the time, but it means that potentially I could be. I realize the folly of this: it promotes a sense that work is looming always, tainting supposed leisure time, making it near impossible to truly refresh oneself. I will have to reconsider being firm about my hours of operation. I think I owe it to my family and friends.I’m someone who hates waking up, so I’m thrilled to notice that I’m actually looking forward to going back tomorrow morning. I also hate to play favourites, but I couldn’t help but notice the morning today was my more enjoyable half of the day. Tomorrow I’ll share some goal-setting strategies and other tools we’re working out together under the vaulted ceilings of the Harry Potter room.