February 4, 2005

Time Management for Professors and Grad Students: Make E-Mail Your Reward

There is an often-overlooked principle in psychology: Something that you choose to do with high frequency is a reinforcer. Many of my graduate student or assistant professor clients admit that they spend a lot of time checking e-mail. The conclusion? Make checking your email your reward for doing a less-preferred activity.

How to put this in action? Well, you know what you don't want to be doing. Decide that you will do it for, say, 15 minutes (see my last newsletter article.) If you do manage to spend the allotted time on your dissertation or article, then you get to check your email.

How to get back to the work after you check your e-mail? Aye, there's the rub. I'll leave that to a later blog...


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