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Deep Creative Work

I read the blog Study Hacks regularly. It's a great resources examining the use of time, particularly at the college level, but it applies elsewhere. In this post he examines his work load, common things that he works on, and the disparity between a "good week" in which he gets to do a lot of single-minded, deep, creative work, and a week where he doesn't get the time to do much of it.
 
I find that the larger my program grows, the less time I have to do the deep work. And really, that sort of work is what I'm hired to do, or at least what I get assessed on for Tenure and Promotion. Finding the time, blocking it off, and occasionally saying "no" is pretty difficult for me. It's a great read on a problem that many of us have. 
 
 
 
on December 14, 2013 1:27pm
So true, Josh! I've enjoyed Cal Newport's blog and books since reading his How to Become a Straight A Student, which I thought was brilliant. I, too, find it difficult for the truly important work: studying scores, searching for new repertoire, programming, etc. Thanks for this post!
on December 15, 2013 7:21am
I really like how he quantifies his "fixed" time expenditures, particularly classes, and to a certain extent meetings and emails and the like. Then through the chart he clearly shows that when you do "other" stuff, the time comes specifically at the expense of deep, creative time. I've always intellectually known this, but seeing it in such stark terms really resonated for me. 
 
I have a number of colleagues that know how to run a big program and still find time to do the deep work. But I think they are rarer than we think. I know many more people who either do lots and lots of deep work, and their programs aren't large or aren't quite as robust and flourishing (not to say bad, just less active), or folks who are large scale administrators who run around rarely doing the deep work and juggling a large number of committments. I guess I tend toward the second, though I strive for balance. Add a family to this and the challenges are daunting.