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Do You Formally Schedule Research Time?

CalendarI’ve just wrapped up my first year as a junior faculty member at a new institution. Overall it’s been a wonderful transition, but I have run up against that familiar problem for academics: the encroachment of other duties into research time. Teaching well is essential, of course—as indicated by the many posts here at ProfHacker about the classroom—and every faculty post requires significant service. The time demands of both can creep into any crevice in a faculty member’s schedule, however, pushing research further and further into the ever-receding future. For me, at least, a haphazard approach to research time just didn’t cut it.

A mentor of mine suggested a simple hack to prevent such creep: add dedicated blocks of “research time” on your calendar and treat that time as you would any other appointment or class. If treated seriously, this method preserves valuable blocks of time every single week for reading and writing. If your calendar is public (if you use ProfHacker recommendations like Doodle to schedule appointments, for instance), this will prevent others from trying to book you during dedicated research time.

How about you? Do you schedule your research time on your calendar? Do you have other methods for protecting weekly research time? Tell us about your methods in the comments.

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