Friday, 6 February 2009

Finding motivation

It may surprise you to hear that I am a very task oriented person. I like to have a list of things that I work through organised in nice discrete segments. My perfect working scenario has specific defined tasks that I make progress through from beginning to end. When I had children I feared that I would never again get anything done. The notion of being able to move steadily through a task was thrown out the window. Instead I had intermittent, inconsistent moments to try to get something, anything done. It drove and drives me mad. I think that I would be a better person and a nicer human being if I could multi-task more efficiently and with better grace.

One thing that has always motivated me though has been deadlines. Give me a deadline and 99% of the time I manage to slide in under the rope. Sometimes I am cursing and wiping off sweat (and tears), but I make it to the end.

Well I now have a deadline – self-imposed but a deadline nonetheless. From the beginning of March through to the end of June I’ll be working two days a week. I want to finish the book before I begin the madness of juggling children, timetables and work deadlines. It’s a really exciting project full of challenges that fill me with both trepidation and anticipation. Although it is only a part-time position I suspect it will consume much of my available emotional energy. And I want to tackle it with my book under my belt.

An aside here: when I was in grad school, my academic discipline was struggling to define itself as a social science. Anyone who didn’t want to do numbers, even pseudo-numbers, was given a lot of grief, both professional and personal. How often I had to insist that I wasn’t interested in political psychology or the “science of persuasion” even if that was where the jobs were. And that withheld grade that took me a year to finagle out of someone who would not concede anything even after my paper was published. Stubbornly, I insisted on doing the type of research in which I was interested. After all, what was the point of even being in grad school if I didn’t find what I was doing interesting and worthwhile? When I ended up outside academia, wiping snotty noses and playing trains, I was glad that I had pursued my interests. Now, work is being offered to me on the basis of my qualitative research skills, because such skills are rare in science/health areas. Ironic, huh? I would poke someone with this point except that well, it’s really only important to me.

I’ll let you know how I go with the deadline. Of course, I will edit the cursing, sweating and tears. After all, I have an image to maintain.

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