One discipline I try to maintain is a to-do list journal (of sorts). I keep a yellow composition notebook on my desk that is full of dated scribbles, my lists of tasks for a particular week, broken down by day. Alongside the to-do lists are notes of phone calls and meetings as well as the occasional brainstorming session about my mid-probationary dossier or what I’m going to teach in inorganic. I’m not sure if I make these lists so that I don’t forget what I’m supposed to do or as a way of discovering what I should be doing.
I began this habit in graduate school on a steno pad. Each day before I left, I tried to write down what I should do the next morning. I admit that my discipline is not iron-clad. Especially during the darker times in the middle of my PhD where I mostly stared at my desk. However, I think those steno pads saved me many mornings of wondering what I should be doing with my vast, unstructured time.