April 18, 2008

Don't overdo your will power quotient

We only have a limited supply of willpower in our brains at any one time, reports an article in the NY Times. If we use up that supply resisting dessert, giving extra time to students instead of taking a nap, or staying within our budget, we won't have anything left over. Image

How does this willpower limitation apply to academics? One of the biggest struggles for academics is having the willpower to write on a daily basis. Because there is no one out there calling up each graduate student or professor and asking them how their writing went that day, it is extremely difficult for them to nail their butt to the chair and just write something. So days without writing become weeks without writing, which leads to unfinished dissertations, low publication records, and reams of research that the world isn't learning about.

The fact that we all struggle with willpower in so many areas of life is one reason I came up with the Academic Writing Club. Why use up all your energy trying to go it alone, when you can lean on the support and encouragement of many others just like you? It's a simple but powerful principle. Save all that willpower for organizing your closet or going green.

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