Monday, September 4, 2017

Motivation and Falling Behind

So, as you know from my previous few posts, I have left Oxford and moved to London for a new job in professional services at Queen Mary, University of London. The tumult of starting a new job and moving home has meant that I have inevitably let things slide.

I have been off the academic wagon (as it were) for too long and it is time to to hop back on.

Now that I finally have internet in my new place, I can finally feel set up to get back to my academic research. I am the sort of person for whom a deadline is always needed to push me into action but unfortunately I have cut things a little close this time.

This year focuses on two academic publications:

  1. Turning a conference paper I presented at the Harlaxton Symposium in 2016 in an proceedings paper for their forthcoming publication. The deadline is....TODAY! While I wrote the paper sometime ago, I hadn't fully incorporated all the review comments. It is fiddly but I am almost there.
  2. A collaborative publication of the translation of Urbanus magnus/Liber urbani by Daniel of Beccles.* This is due to the publisher in January, and while we are not too far behind, there is still a lot to do!
(*For those unaware, this is a 12th century medieval Latin text on courtesy, manners, household management, diet, etc., which formed the basis of my doctoral research).

These deadlines help to spur me on and keep me focused, but I am guilty of letting things slide. One of the challenges of doing your academic work outside of your 9-5 is motivation. Some evenings the TV, the Nintendo Switch, the cinema, a glass of wine or two with friends.....all seem more inviting than staying in and doing more work. 

So, why do it?

Well, first and foremost it is because I love my subject and want to share it more widely. But pragmatically, continuing to maintain an academic identity keeps the door open in the future for academic roles. While I have ruled it out for the moment, my day job is taking me closer to teaching and learning and in the future there may be a role that allows for further blending of my academic and administrative personas.

Does anyone else have projects/interests that they try to maintain in addition to the day job? If so, how do you staying motivated? Please share below!


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