Saturday, January 21, 2012

Killing Two Birds....

For years I have been juggling a lot of things - parenting, career, running and school. The first two items are given as the most important. I am not willing to compromise on quality of time I spend on those activities. The last two, though further down on the list, have shaped my life in many ways. I like to set bold goals and then go for them - all while maintaining some semblance of balance with the things on the top of my list.

As I was running my 8 miler today, I spent the time listening to this week's UCF class lecture. I am taking a course on Research Methods which is preparing me for embarking on my dissertation research. And it dawned on me (as it has before): How much of my school work (lectures, topic research, etc.) can I accomplish while I am out running? Even while training for half marathon distances, I am averaging around 20-25 miles of running a week. For slow me, that translates into 5-6 hours on the road. I am hunting for a decent .pdf reader so I can listen to research papers. I can use some of my devices to record thoughts that come to mind while running. I have started to implement "cloud" based tools for capturing and organizing my information (apps like Evernote, Springpad, RefWorks, and the Google suite of tools) and making them accessible from a variety of devices and connections.

And I must say, running helps me to engage the right side of my brain - which seems to help me develop some new ideas that can elude me when implementing my left brained study at my desk.

So, can I begin increasing my research activity AND increase my running activity and build my PhD while on the road? Stay tuned :-)


Rick O said...

If you are (or can get) comfortable with Audacity, it may well be worth your time to run your audio through it. It's got plugins to snip out pauses, as well as vary the tempo without varying the pitch. I put many, many hours on the UCF treadmills while listening to lectures I had downloaded from Tegrity while I was working on my BS there.

To be honest though, my retention wasn't as good as it was when I actually watched the videos. I think because I found the material so dry my mind would wander and I would end up absorbing 30 seconds of the ever-present "16 and Pregnant" subtitles instead of lecture material. (And the cognitive dissonance there is great indeed.)

MarathonChris said...

Thanks, Rick! I didn't know Audacity had that capability. I have used Audacity in the past with my podcast but mostly just for manually strapping pieces together and snipping out undesirable audio.

Retention with the audio lecture depends on the subject matter. Some of them are not good for audio (like statistics) - but some topics, like the one this semester, have a lot of unnecessary detail. It can cause me to drift, however :-)

Petraruns said...

I really like this idea Chris. You continue to impress and inspire with how you combine everything - I'm interested in your productivity hacks so keep us posted!