This week, first week of classes at Brown, I tried to pay more attention than usual to how I spend my time. Monday was a holiday. From Tuesday to Friday, I arrived at work between 8:30 and 9 am, and left at: 5, 7, 5, 8 pm. On the two days on which I left early, I spent, one evening 2 hours and the other evening 4 hours working at home. Discounting lunches, in total I spent 40 hours working over four days.
How was that time spent? Primarily, meeting advisees, students, teaching assistants, etc. In second position, dealing with various aspects of course organization. In third position comes actual lecture preparation and delivery. Then there was all the other stuff.
In those 40 hours, how many hours did I spend doing basic research activities?
- attending seminars: 1
- discussing research questions: 2
- thinking, by myself, about research questions: 0
- reading papers: 0
- reading titles and abstracts of new results on arxiv: 0
- working on my own papers: 1
Total: 4 hours, that is, 10 percent of my work time. What a minuscule amount of time! At this rate I'm not going to prove any breakthrough result any time soon...
Today, since (unsurprisingly) I have already fallen behind in my research schedule, I have set aside 3 hours to be spent working on the first draft of a paper. Bliss! (Of course it means that it will be the turn of home chores to fall behind, but who cares?)