Productivity Report, Week of March 3

No tomato post title or photo this week, because I (gasp!) did not use the Pomodoro technique. It wasn’t a conscious decision and I wound up getting quite a bit of work done anyway. Last week was also the unofficial start of my spring break, (it officially started yesterday). Rather than doing a day-by-day report, I’m going to write a more free-form summary.

We left town early Thursday morning after a very busy half-week. Monday was meetings, classes, review sessions, finalizing the exam, etc. Tuesday was extra pre-exam office hours and other meetings with students. Wednesday was classes, more extra office hours, dinner with a friend, and prepping for the trip (yes I am very last-minute). I probably could have squeezed in some Poms, but I was so tired and so itching to get out of town that I just forced myself to get done the things I had to and tried not to think too far ahead.

I had a longish list of tasks to finish over the week, and amazingly I managed to get quite a few of them done. Rather than making daily task lists I pulled out one of the ToDo sheets I always carry in my diary but generally avoid looking at. I wrote down everything I could think of, which came to 22 items. By early yesterday morning I had vanquished 10 of them, postponed 2, and had 10 left. I decided this outcome represented a minor victory, since the things I had finished were time-sensitive and the things I hadn’t completed could be rolled over to this week.

I found that I didn’t have to think in 25/5 blocks of time to get work done; I sat down at my desk and cranked through the things that needed doing. Some were small things I’d just put off, others were slightly more complicated, but with a few good nights’ sleep all were easier to tackle. And having done the most important tasks, the next set looks much more doable. I have a few more tasks to add to the list for this week, but not too many and nothing horrible; it’s a mix of teaching, research, reading, and household/personal stuff.

And I’ve managed to do fun things on my break. I told TheHusband that given how tired we both were by the time we got on the plane, we needed to make sure we took some real time off and did non-work things or we’d never make it through the second half of the semester. The winter has been so cold and icy and unpleasant that it’s made the semester feel brutal even though it’s gone by fairly quickly (does that make sense?).

So far, we’ve eaten out for lunches and dinners at old favorites and new discoveries, caught up with friends, walked on the beach, taken relaxing drives, and done a little necessary shopping at non-peak-hour times. The weather has been wonderful (sorry everyone) and the food has been delicious. The artichokes are popping up at stands along the coast, and Dungeness crabs are still in season.

Here’s a shot of Pillar Point, north of Half Moon Bay. This is where they hold the Mavericks surfing competition every year (well, every year the surf cooperates). The waves were almost Mavericks-sized and the tide was out, so we could walk out further than usual. It was just barely warm enough, and beautifully sunny.

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Oh yes, before I go, a quick reminder that DABWAHA is about to get under way. If you’re on Twitter and can’t stand hearing about it, the mute button is your friend (remember to mute both the word and the hashtag, folks). And if you enjoy it and want to participate, there is still time to nominate books for the 8th slot in each category. So Fanyons, Voinovians, Bone Rider lovers, and other fans of 2013 books and authors, get to work!

I saw a tweet yesterday by an author who was railing at other authors for promoting their books, promising she’d never ever buy a book by anyone who bribed or campaigned for votes. To ensure that as many people as possible would get the message, she used the #DABWAHA hashtag. Moreover, and I quote, “vote-begging proves polls online are popularity contests rather than about the quality of writing.” Well, no shit, Sherlock. Of course it’s a popularity contest, the clues to that are contained in the words online and polls.*

Look, DABWAHA started as a small event and has mushroomed into something bigger in one part of online romlandia. The vast majority of romance readers still have no clue what it is, but if you’re in certain corners of Facebook and/or Twitter, you can get inundated for two or three weeks. Some authors and readers enjoy it, others hide from it. Even I, a DA contributor, have been known to mute the hashtag, and I definitely DM Twitter buddies to express my outrage that certain books are even being considered for such a prestigious award. OK, I kid. Not about the DMing, but about the prestige.

Social media is this big, public space where lots of things get attention because some subset of participants want to talk about them. That’s why all the Twitter apps I use have to have the mute function. It’s not social media’s job to protect me, it’s my job to use social media in the way that’s optimal for me. I’m not going to defend DABWAHA, any more than I’m going to defend the Red Carpet fashion snark, or the many, many TV show hashtag conversations. But I am going to defend people’s right to participate and enjoy these communal activities. If they go overboard, that’s on them and they can live with the blowback. But good grief, telling people they’re horrible for engaging in a contest? Get over yourself.

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*Pedantry alert: Of course it is possible to conduct online polls that are scientifically sampled and therefore generalizable. This is not that kind of poll. In addition, the popularity-contest aspect is only partially related to the vote-mongering. Even if authors didn’t say a word, the outcome could be popularity-based rather than a reflection of quality, however quality is defined.

14 thoughts on “Productivity Report, Week of March 3

  1. “Voinovians” — I had a little heart skitter about whether I missed getting nominated, but I haven’t. Whew. It was good fun last year, and mad, and I get the frustration about the sheer noise of it (my feelings about online polls were mixed until I got nominated myself, and then I ended up somewhat shamefacedly enjoying it.) So, let the madness begin. :)

    • I just wanted to remind people that good candidates are always left out, and now is the time to rectify that. ;)
      Of course you should enjoy it, and not shamefacedly. I’m fine with people pointing out the omissions and the weaknesses of the slate of nominees, but when that tips over into making those who *have* been nominated feel bad (or wondering if they should feel bad), that’s going too far. And I’m well aware of the fangirl-roundup behavior that occurs. I don’t like it. But the genuine expressions of affection and appreciation for books shouldn’t be tainted by that, and authors shouldn’t be made to feel as if every vote or compliment is seen as engineered.

      • I was shamefaced mostly because it was a 180 on my previous attitude (so yeah, I’m a hypocrite). But no, what I enjoy maybe most is the community rallying behind its “champion” as it were, and the battle between the Minions and the Fanyons lives on in memory. :) It’s all fun and games, and IMHO no worse than football team supporters trying to out-sing each other. (I use the simile with a bit of hesitation, because hooliganism.) And if the fans get something out of it, like free stories/snippets, the better. :)

      • Plus, you know, it’s DABWAHA. I really don’t get why anyone is outraged. It’s not like it’s a RITA or an RT award. It’s mostly all about the silly videos and the trashtalking and the fun. It’s not like it matters.

    • I never enjoyed it before either, but having been involved in the nomination process this year, I’m totally into it! So there you go.

  2. It’s taken me some time to learn to manage my own social media so as not to be annoyed by how others are enjoying it, but I hope I’ve gotten there!

    We have our week of break in February, which is really too early in the term. It’s a legacy of the Olympics, when we closed for 2 weeks (a decision that proved totally unnecessary, but was encouraged by government) and everyone said “That was great for students and staff. Can we have a break every year?” Before that we had only a two-day reading break, and with few statutory holidays compared to fall, you could never catch your breath. My kids have the last two weeks of March off, though, and not having to get them up for school/pick them up/do soccer practice/etc. does give us a bit of a breather. I try to take some partial days off to do fun things with them.

    I’m glad you’re making your break both productive and relaxing! This winter was brutal for lots of people.

    • I would go mad without a real spring break. We only get a week, but usually we get enough random warm days that a week is enough, and spring usually shows up by mid-March. This year, not so much.

      The social media thing is a work in progress. I inevitably get annoyed at something (it is My Way), but I’ve learned just to turn it off and go read or get some fresh air or some face to face interaction. Plus, I try just to spend less time overall online. That probably helps more than anything else.

  3. Do you have a recommendation for a twitter android app? Any time twitter on my phone I’m reminded of how lovely the mute option is.

    • There is no Android app that is as good as Tweetbot for iOS, in my experience. I have tried a LOT of them. Right now I’m using Tweetcaster, which has a pretty good mute function. Other people use Janetter, Hoot Suite, or Plume. I remember liking Plume pretty well but don’t remember the muting abilities. I would take a look at the interfaces and see which one appeals to you and go from there, assuming it has the functions you want. I’m happy enough w/Tweetcaster but I miss Tweetbot.

      ETA: I think all of these have free versions, so you don’t have to buy the app to find out if it works for you. In my experience, Twitter apps are worth paying for if you find one you like.

  4. Thank you for the lovely photo of Pillar Point, and telling us a little about your time there — even the mere mention of artichoke season and Dungeness crab makes me feel a little happy vacation nostalgia!

    I like your take on the DABWAHA thing.

    • It was one of those perfect March days, where the surf is pounding but the air is warm. Despite Mavericks, Pillar Point is still pretty quiet, especially during the week. It’s mostly people with their dogs and kids and the occasional tourist.

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