Monday, 8 June 2009

Time for another habit...?

I'm really pleased with my daily 200+ words of writing, which I have managed to keep up so far. Even if it involved getting up in the middle of the night once, because I had just remembered that I hadn't written anything that day. I've written some 20,000+ words since starting it, and hopefully over the summer I will have some opportunities to turn that into some actual publications.

But now something else occurred to me. Writing is only part of the whole equation. You also need to read stuff, in order to a) get ideas for things to write about or research and b) know what other people are doing to either avoid duplication of mistakes or wheel-reinventions.

Since acquiring the Papers program, I have collected almost a thousand papers. But I haven't nearly read enough of them. Part of the hunter/gatherer or packrat mentality... Useful paper, will read it at some point when I've got time. Only, you never have time!

And here is the solution: apart from writing 200+ words every day (or spend 30 minutes editing), I will now do the same for reading research papers. I just need to work out what the best modus operandi is for that; clearly reading a paper every day might be useful but not feasible. One a week? Not really enough, probably. I think I'll settle for 30 minutes initially, and then see how much I can manage to read in that time. But it's not only reading, also post-processing. Keeping notes in some shape or form, probably a mind-map. Mmmh, this is more complicated than I initially imagined.

Anyway, starting from today I will try to read a research paper for at least 30 minutes every day!


  1. I hadn't heard about the Papers program before, but it looks very useful. I'm not a Mac user, though. Do you use it on your IPhone?

  2. No, I'd have to pay another £8 or so for it. I just got another PDF reader app which was cheaper, and I don't need the full capabilities of Paper on my phone. I can just upload PDFs I need to read, and if I'm ever stuck somewhere waiting for a train or so, I can spend the time reading useful stuff. Not easy to do on the way to work, though... might fall off my bike. Only today I was on the train.