Lately I've felt busier than I've ever felt in my life. Maybe it's because of my class schedule this year, or that the longer I teach, the more responsibilities I take on. I have few moments to spare, and when I have those few moments of freedom I really relish the experience.
Even though I am (too) busy these days, I am super productive, and I don't mean productive in a multi-tasking kind of way. (I'm still not quite sure what multi-tasking is because I can only focus on one activity at once, but I know multi-tasking must be bad for you.) In fact, I am more productive in the fall than I am in the summer. Although this seems counter-intuitive -- shouldn't I get more done when I have more time? -- I actually work better under the restrictions of a schedule than I do when given the freedom of flexibility. That flexibility sometimes feels endless or even daunting, and it sometimes causes me to lose that edge that drives me to complete projects in a timely manner.
I think about this as a teacher and try to relate this experience to my students. Many of them get their best grades during the season(s) in which they play a sport. Participating in athletics forces them to prioritize their time. It gives them the structure to stay focused. I know this applies to me.
I'm curious: does this concept hold true for you? Are you most productive when you have the most time commitments on your plate?