“Some Extremely Useful Lessons”

How do you do it? Some useful lessons:

“The first was to compartmentalize: never to allow the problems and distresses generated in one domain to spill over to other areas of work or family life. The second was to concentrate: to use whatever time was available to address the tasks at hand with maximum focus and to get them done as efficiently, without compromising, as humanly possible. Both require a fair amount of discipline: the discipline not to procrastinate; to avoid tempting but not necessary socializing; to preserve as a quasi-sacred commitment the time set aside for scholarly work, and not to let anything distract you from it; to pace yourself so that there is time for other things—if no longer children, then music or gardening or tennis or whatever activity affords pleasure and alternative modes of living. I still try not to work on weekends, although I am not entirely successful, and I always return to work much more refreshed and eager than when I violate this regime.”

from Gabrielle M. Spiegel, “History Mom,” From the President Column, Perspectives in History: The Journal of the American Historical Association (October, 2008)


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