Tips for Conveying How Busy and Important You Are

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Productivity advice — in the form of books and blogs — has become so ubiquitous that an entire sub-genre of criticism has developed in response.   Now it’s hip to critique as unproductive any focus on day-to-day work productivity (a la David Allen of Getting Things Done fame).

The anonymous blogger   at Grad Hacker offers some”advice”(here) about”How to Act Productive.”  Here’s my attempt at a spoof version for law profs:

What good is your inner, clandestine productivity if your dean, colleagues, students and even you yourself don’t really know the extent of just how unbelievably productive, busy, stressed, in a rush, and important you really are?  Here are some tips on how to communicate this to others at your law school.

  • Tip #1:  Walk fast when on campus and explain to colleagues that you cannot go out to lunch because you are busy responding to law review editors’ comments on your manuscript.
  • Tip #2:  Remind your colleagues how many students you teach, how many exams you have to grade, how frightfully many hours it will take you to grade them, and how grading exams really cuts down the time you can be available for scholarship, service activities, friends or family.
  • Tip #3:  Send an e-mail informing your dean or colleagues that you have been invited to speak at the local Rotary Club or the neighboring town’s PTA meeting.
  • Tip #4:  Bring massive amounts of work to talks by outsiders and student events, and make sure to visibly mark on documents — as if editing your own paper or making comments on student work — in full sight of everyone else in the room.
  • Tip #5: Get ticked off and behave badly at faculty meetings.
  • Tip #6: Do not timely  answer e-mails from anyone who may be relying on you to show up to an event, help review applications or schedule a meeting, then get huffy when the meeting takes place before you respond to the e-mail.
  • Tip #7: Make sure you tell students and administrators, “Now is not a good time.”
  • Tip #8: Pretend that you don’t know how to use the copy machine or create a pdf.
  • Tip #9: Refer to anything you write that is longer than 500 words as an “article.”
  • Tip #10: Check how many times your and your colleagues’ articles have been downloaded on SSRN.
  • Tip #11: Regularly log on to the Westlaw JLR database and search “FIRST /2 LAST % AU(FIRST /2 LAST)” using your own name.
  • Tip #12: Keep your cell phone on during class and all meetings, and let it ring several times before stepping out to answer it.

Productivity Note:  I have shamelessly imported Grad Hacker’s conceptual structure and some of Hacker’s actual language (from here) in order to minimize the time spent blogging about anything other than my own work.  Blogging is unproductive when engaged in regularly and/or with any one or more of the following goals: creating community, critiquing community (or the lack thereof), questioning authority, or increasing awareness of imbalances of wealth, power and/or privilege.

-Bridget Crawford

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