Writing While Teaching

To Write More – Pay Yourself First

pay yourself firstWe use the same word, “spend,” when referring to both money and time. If we pay bills and then go shopping, and only put whatever is left over into a savings account, the savings will accumulate very slowly. Likewise, if a professor prepares for class, grades, writes reviews, and takes care of all the other parts of her job, and hopes to write in the time left over, that time may never come.

Many academics find it difficult to fit their writing into the week during teaching semesters. I tell my clients to pay yourself first. Spend the first hour of the day on your own research and writing before turning to everything else.

A client who made that shift to doing her own writing first was pleasantly surprised by how much she could accomplish in an hour a day. She told me, “The other day a colleague said, ‘you know you can’t write during the semester.’ I don’t say that anymore. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with you it’s that even though I have as much or more to do than I did a year ago, I can assert more control over my time.”