Tuesday, July 13, 2010

some suggestions on "getting stuff out the door"

One survey question was "Do you have any techniques for getting stuff out the door?" ( i.e. "getting articles into the mail")?  Here, lightly edited, are a range of your answers to this:

Q. Do you have any helpful techniques for getting stuff out the door?
  1. Write an hour every day! Even if you delete it the next day. This includes creating and recreating outlines. It keeps the material fresh even as you suffer through midterms.
  2. Freedom.exe
  3. Just hunker down when the deadline approaches.
  4. Sheer terror at an approaching deadline.
  5. deadlines and priorities
  6. Can you put some on the site, please? :-)
  7. Graduate students. The ones who know how to write and do what I tell them to do are very helpful.
  8. Deadlines - I usually target special issues of journals or conferences. That forces me to get things done by a given date.
  9. Yah, remembering that I do not yet officially have a permanent job yet have a large mortgage and am the sole support for my family. That does it.
  10. Quit whining and get to work.
  11. No.
  12. Masturbate while watching Maury.
  13. Write stuff down, and then send it out.
  14. Deadlines help. too.
  15. Canceling a few classes and limiting course preps to, say, 30 seconds or so works great. But the consequences don't exactly feel worth it.
  16. Find good people and collaborate with them.
  17. Looming yearly progress reports.
  18. Yes. Read "Stupid Motivational Tricks."
  19. Retreat!
  20. Work instead of fussing about office politics.
  21. Getting stuff out the door is the hard part for me. Research and drafting are no problem, but then I start to obsess about whether it is good enough or not. I fear rejection. Which (and I know this makes me insufferable) I actually haven't faced yet. Every article I've sent off has been accepted.
  22. I wish.
  23. Just bust it out
  24. I work with superb PhD students, and collaborate with teams of researchers, and submit 8-12 refereed articles a year.
  25. Post-tenure review. Keeps the flame under the butt. Not good for things like having kids, though. Tends to be harder on the women.
  26. Don't be a perfectionist. Realize nobody will really read it anyway.
  27. Fear.
  28. I don't surf the web at work.
  29. Work with other people, to make delays immediately embarrassing to me.
  30. collaboration with others
  31. I refuse to put up with patently unprofessional, immature behavior by students, even if my department chair doesn't always back me up. But then, I have tenure.
  32. Nope. I'd like to have some, though.
  33. Get a research collaborator. It's hard to be entirely self-motivating, but when someone else is relying on you, it's a huge kick in the pants to get stuff done, already (for both of you).
  34. Reflecting on my state of (mostly) unemployment.
  35. close my office door, hack others computers for info
  36. Thinking about how disappointing it would be for someone else to publish similar results before I do helps a lot. Also, because collaboration is standard for most projects in my field, I know that others' careers may equally (sometimes moreso) depend on my work.
  37. I see homeless people on my way to work. That's all the motivation that I need.
  38. Terror that I'm stagnating.
  39. Freezing solid for months, then working frantically, to a deadline, while the rest of my life goes to hell in a handbasket. This does not work well. My resistance to regular research hours is phenomenal, though I know that's what would work for me. When things reach crisis point I will go and work in a café, which seems to help, if only because no one can find me there.


  1. Before I say this, I'll make it clear:
    1. I'm not necessarily proud of my behavior, and
    2. This only works if you have a dialup connection

    I made myself write an article, for about one month, while downloading *ahem* movies from the internet. I found out that such a reward has a way of focusing my mind.

  2. I would just rest on my laurels, but my good stuff is classified so I have to write something that I can publish.

  3. Beaker, I used to do the same when I was sneaking interwebs off a neighbor (took forEVER).

    A friend of mine used to push himself by rewarding every "well-written" paragraph. One full paragraph, 5 minutes of Arrested Development. The problem was that 5 minutes often turned into an hour, so he was often asking for extensions and getting excluded out of collaborations.

    I use the ol' "write every day even if you toss it" method. And I've got hundreds of lists littering my house. All I need now are cats to complete the picture...


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