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Showing posts from June, 2013

Adventures in exercising (while working)

Stephanie's post (below) made me think of the recent research that shows how bad sitting is for our health, even if we do also work out regularly.  Stephanie's comment that exercise, sleep, and healthy eating are not luxuries really struck a chord with me.  And it coincides with what I've been trying to do the last couple of weeks--move while I'm working.

While I'd really love a treadmill desk, I'm not sure where I'd put one, and they're pretty expensive.  So my fabulous husband decided to try out a set of simple elliptical pedals first.  We bought one for less than $100 on amazon.com and so far, it seems to be working well, at least in terms of my writing output and productivity.  I currently have it in front of my kitchen island, and have my laptop on top of my microwave, which allows me to hop on the elliptical and still type on the laptop and read off the screen while I'm moving.  The transition has been surprisingly smooth, once I got used to r…

A new meaning to the term "Brain Drain?"

By Stephanie Goodwin, Ph.D., AWC Writing Coach

Academic life may be sedentary, but new research suggests it is both mentally and physically fatiguing. Macora and colleagues (2013) randomly assigned adults to either watch documentaries or perform demanding mental tests. Ninety minutes later, both the film-watchers and test-takers were asked to hop on an exercise bike and peddle for long as they could. Despite the fact that both film-watching and test-taking were equally sedentary, the test-takers ran out of steam and stopped peddling long before their film-watching peers. Importantly, although test-takers reported feeling more tired, both film-watchers and test-takers chose the same level of resistance on their bikes. In other words, even though the test-takers knew they were feeling drained, they didn’t adjust their expectations to match their energy levels. Instead, they chose to work just as hard as folks who weren’t feeling tired.


So what does this research have to do with writing …

The Lonely Academic

Okay, I'm just going to come out and say it.  It can be lonely being an academic.  Academics spend a lot of time on independent tasks that are done alone, such as researching, writing, editing, and grading.  If you’re not careful, you can spend too much time on your own, and it will curtail your productivity.

This loneliness can intensify in the summer months.  Those quieter months you've been longing for are here -- but you sit in the library or the office and realize that it's almost too quiet.  You may feel like you have no one to bounce ideas off of and that no one cares about your work.

Some of you might be saying, “But I’m surrounded by people!”  Or, “I try to work at home, and my family/friends keep trying to get me to spend time with them.”  Or, “I work at my office but other people keep coming in and interrupting me.”

The fact is, you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely.  If people don’t understand the struggles of academic writing, or are not intereste…