Daniel Lemire's blog

, 7 min read

What I do with my time

10 thoughts on “What I do with my time”

  1. Otto Hunt says:

    You may consider adding a little exercise to your day: http://bit.ly/M4nytr. Search the file (ctrl f) for mentions of exercise – there are lots.

  2. phil jones says:

    Bloody hell. You make me feel incredibly lazy and unproductive.

    I’m scared to actually document what I did this week because of how little it will include and how many hours got squandered on Quora and reading a detective novel.

  3. Adrian Smith says:

    You certainly appear to have done a lot. I think some people are naturally good (or maybe just lucky) at picking the right things to do, i.e. those tasks that move you forwards in the direction of your goals. You may not even have a clear picture of what those goals are. You sub-conscience does all the work.

    “I constantly worry that I am just keeping busy instead of doing the important work.”

    Here here. Sometimes I don’t even know what the “important work” is any more. It’s just a general sense of spinning my wheels. It’s a terrible affliction.

  4. I like your openness about your workdays. Your blogpost let me rethink my own workdays, which are so similar to yours. One should think so looking at our basic job descriptions. But your post shows nicely the difference between prototypical knowledge (the job description) and experience (individual workdays). It reduces my guilt about the long list of not (yet) done things.

  5. I liked the idea of the article, and the execution. However, it sure seems like you kept busy. It’s hard to tell I suppose just by reading a list.

    This article led me to some of the other posts. Well done! And thanks for posting these.

  6. @Robert

    Yes, I have been busy but I don’t equate it with being productive.

  7. What would have to happen for you to view this as “productive?”

  8. @Robert

    Being productive has to do with what you produce. What have I produced last week? I kept busy for sure, but do I have to show for it?

    Multiply this sort of week by 52 and a year has gone by and I have nothing to show for it except some white hair.

  9. You’re answer belies how you filter the word productive. 😉

    I’m reading that you feel production must be lasting, with “something to show for it” a year hence. But I suspect your students would view you grading their papers as quite a productive use of your time, as would the readers of the report you wrote on the PhD thesis, your sons view of your time spent playing with them, etc.

    FWIW, my own view of productivity is largely identical to your own (or at least what I’m projecting your definition to be :), and hence I often struggle with identical frustration. Since I spend time in management I have little time left over for the kind of technical work I find interesting. I always assumed college profs had ample time to pursue their own interests, but have read a few blog posts that killed off that romantic image.

    The good news: your blog post is less ephemeral than some of the other stuff you spent time on last week.

  10. Mahmud Ahsan says:

    Nice to know what you do and don’t. Seems like you’re passing very busy time 🙂