It is possible to keep up with research and writing in a teaching-heavy position, even in a position that makes heavy demands on faculty to participate in the administration of the school. The only problem is that it is extremely exhausting and stressful. Hence, I’ve come up with a few tips:
- Don’t have kids. I cannot emphasize this one enough.
- Stay flexible. You don’t choose which days you totally collapse and cannot imagine anything more taxing than marathon TV watching — they choose you. If you stay a couple days ahead of the curve on your strictly required work, you’ll leave room for those blessed events when they need to happen.
- Start saying no to things that are irrelevant. I know this seems foreign to early-career academics, but one reaches the point where chasing CV lines does little more than introduce more incoherence into one’s research profile.
- Say yes to things that will give you external deadlines for your own work. As a result of talks I’ve agreed to for this semester, I’ve got close to a full first chapter draft for my devil book and a workable schema for Creepiness. That never would have happened without the external pressure.
- Get enough sleep. Different people need different amounts, and I suspect I’m on the high end — but I also suspect that many people who claim to be on the low end are lying to themselves.
- Floss. Unexpected dental work can destroy a carefully-constructed research schedule. Don’t let it happen to you.