Reading, writing, reps: 20/02/17

Reading

With a bit of time before I start work on the final coursework component of my doctorate, I’ve been taking it easy on the reading. I’m reading around a couple of key areas:

  • Dialogical self, to make sure I’m up to speed for the rewrite of the chapter I’m co-authoring
  • Threshold concepts, which I have a feeling will form a cornerstone of my research.

Writing

Writing. At the same time, it’s one of my strongest strengths and weakest weaknesses. Once I get going I do well, but the getting going isn’t always easy. I’ve been making good progress in changing my habits and making small improvements. A couple of things I’ve been doing to help:

  • The 30 minute time periods of #readingwritingreps help by letting make incremental progress without feeling the need to sit down and write a whole paper in one sprint.
  • Similarly, the pomodoro technique helps me stay focused and mindful of how I’m spending my time.
  • I’m learning the value of generating text: reading notes, emails to my supervisor and peers, scribbles in my notebooks, these blog posts, and so on. Any text that can be used to contribute to papers and therefore save me time and effort later one. I’ve described it to someone as like making regular savings. Not to mention the value it has for consolidation of learning.
  • It’s occured to me several times that this blog could be used to much better effect for generating text, if I were to blog some key ideas or problems, share my essays, and just generally get more of my thoughts out on this platform.

REPS

Where the reading and writing can be a struggle, my exercise regime has become a real pleasure and I’m having no problems with compliance. It’s a rare day that I miss my daily goal of 30 minutes of exercise. I hit the gym about three days each week, bike to work about the same, hoist my kettlebell once or twice a week, swim once a week (just playing with my son, mostly, but occasionally I do a few laps), and use my stretchy bands every so often. The image above is my workout this evening with my 20kg kettlebell, and yesterday in the gym I did:

  • Barbell back squats: 80kg, 1-2-3/1-2-3/1-2-3
  • Bench press: 52.5kg, 1-2-3/1-2-3/1-2-3
  • Dumbbell row: 26kg, 5×10
  • Squats again, 60kg, 3×10
  • Incline bench, 40kg, 8/8/7

I’m really enjoying the lifting, I think because I’m not trying to follow a strict routine, such as Starting Strength. Rather, I’m following a set of principles that keeps me on a certain path and keeps me moving forward (putting more weight on the bar), while allowing me some freedom and variety.

I’m enjoying it so much, I’ve been toying with the idea of entering a powerlifting meet, as a challenge to myself and to give me motivation to train hard.

 

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Michael Healy

Career development consultant, educator and instructional designer at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

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