I didn't think it would make a difference in terms of time, since I try to teach the same class each year (an online one), so although there's some time spent in getting the materials together and grading, it's not like teaching a whole new prep. No big deal, right?
I was wrong, and here's why.
- Without teaching to take up that time, I don't feel that I have to reward myself by "treating" myself to fun sites and am spending a lot less time web surfing.
- Without grading, I don't have any way to procrastinate about writing; there's no "well, I have to get these papers back to them, so I can't write today."
- Since I don't have to check email constantly to see if students are contacting me, I can ignore it with a clear conscience--or turn it off entirely because there's nothing from colleagues that can't wait.
- I'm also finding out the truth of Winifred Gallagher's advice to sit down for 90 minutes of uninterrupted time early in the morning, since the intervals of attention I can pay to the writing diminish during the day.
- This works even better if I get up and go for a long walk very early, before sitting down to write, since that helps with the "get me out of this chair!" twitchiness that can otherwise occur.
What I've learned is that with sufficient time management skills I can do both--but there's no solution to mustering sufficient attention management skills except not to have the huge attention elephant of teaching a class at the same time in the room. It's a little humbling to realize that rationally compartmentalizing your time doesn't have any discernible effect on how much you can actually get done.