Ancient Historian Lindsey Mazurek Discusses Public Engagement and ProductivityHistorians in the News
tags: historians, Classical studies, ancient history
What does “productivity” mean to you as a member of the discipline?
Right now, my focus is on research, writing, and publishing, but productivity can refer to anything that feels like a satisfying accomplishment. I feel productive when my advice helps a student succeed, or when I put together a great lesson that helps students engage with ancient texts and objects in new ways, or when I find a new piece of evidence that really works for my argument in an essay. Thinking about productivity as a positive emotion rather than as a series of hurdles or deadlines to reach has helped me feel less stressed about the more logistical aspects of the job. Plus, I enjoy my work more when I frame it this way.
What method(s) do you find most helpful for your own productivity?
I’ve built a lot of accountability and collaborative work into my professional life. The University of Oregon organizes writing circles for faculty and graduate students. Every Monday from 1-4:00 pm, I meet 10 other faculty and staff members to write. We set achievable writing goals (“write two paragraphs of an article,” “draft an action plan for a revise and resubmit”), write in silence for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and then check in at the end about our progress. This group has also been a fantastic source of mentoring for me as I begin work at a new university. I use a similar method for a second 2 hour weekly writing session via Skype with a colleague back in Pennsylvania, which means that even in my busiest week I have 5 hours devoted to writing on my calendar.
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