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Give Me a Break: Making the Most of Academic “Downtime”

By Katelyn Hoover on Jan 28, 2020

Time is a researcher’s most essential commodity, and “publish or perish” academic culture means that downtime has become as important as the time spent conducting research or standing before a classroom. However, breaks in the academic year can be the best time for professors and other academics to begin to pursue their publishing endeavors.

The beginning of the publishing process might seem to be the most daunting, but, in many ways, it is the stage of the publishing process with the least amount of pressure. Titles and content do not yet need to be perfected, and every aspect is still in a state of development. While coming up with ideas for what an academic project should be called can leave many stumped, a polished title is not essential for the presentation of a good idea to potential publishers.

The most important aspects of a proposal from an evaluative perspective is the planned content coverage, and, if applicable, the planned reach that an editor intends to have when recruiting content. Most academicians and researchers who intend to publish research know each of these things at the time that they decide to publish, leaving effective presentation of these ideas as the only barrier between them and the submission of a proposal to an academic publisher.

Having the time to create a proposal that one is proud of is essential for academics and researchers seeking to publish. If finding time to pursue such endeavors is complicated by regular teaching and researching schedules, then it might be worth considering the pursuit of publication during downtime.

Rest and relaxation are essential for all whose lives are busy and often stressful, and, therefore, it is important to know one’s mental limits when it comes to working on projects, but utilizing downtime effectively to launch an academic project into motion does not mean sacrificing precious vacation in its entirety. Due to processing timelines, submitting a proposal for a project early during a break allows for weeks of downtime before the publisher makes a final decision on the project, with the only potential interruptions being requests for further information or clarification on concepts presented within the proposal.

For some, it might not be feasible to start a project in their academic off time. In these circumstances, time management becomes crucial to the accomplishment of academic writing endeavors. However, a busy schedule should not preclude a researcher from pursuing a book project. In an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, academicians of all levels provided feedback on how they managed their time. Some professors recommend blocking out a larger chunk of time during the week to work on research writing projects. Others recommend being intentional about daily routines. However, all academicians suggested taking the time to know oneself and then make time to write at their most productive time of the day, even if that meant writing on a tablet at a bus stop (Niklewicz, 2017). For those looking for time management tips, or how to best the seemingly at times almost insurmountable barrier of getting started, there are a bevy of blogs and articles offering lists of tips for maximizing research and writing time, just a few of which are listed below. Applying these tips and pieces of advice to routines and project schedules can make a project that seems impossible or daunting much more attainable and feasible in a busy schedule.

Starting an academic project might seem stressful and intimidating, but through the use of effective time management skills and maximizing downtime, these projects can be accomplished with little additional stress.

If you are interested in pursuing a research book project, we invite you to check out our Publish With Page to submit a book proposal, or locate a suitable book or journal for your manuscript on the Publications Seeking Submissions page.

Additional Resources

10 Time Management Techniques for Academics

How to Make Time for Research and Writing

Want to Publish More? Then Train Like an Athlete

References

Niklewicz, A. (2017, April 9). How to Make Time for Research and Writing. Retrieved January 28, 2020, from https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-to-Make-Time-for-Research/239724


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