Helpful Hints For Academic Procrastinators

The first item on my To-Do List today was to fire off some e-mails to colleagues that I’ve been waiting to hear back from about various proposals. No deadlines have gone by yet, but I’m hoping to avoid that with some friendly reminders along the lines of “Say, I haven’t heard from you in a while about that proposal I sent you…”. Perhaps you’ve been there before. Maybe you are an editor still waiting for a promised manuscript or chapter submission. It may be you are an ACRL committee chair still waiting for members to act on an overdue action item. Or it may be you are just waiting for a library colleague to pass on some information, complete a report, or finish the project that was supposed to be completed last month.

It can actually become an awkward situation. As the person waiting you don’t want to become a pest or a nuge, so you put off contacting your colleagues. As the person who has yet to respond or has let a deadline pass, it gets harder and harder to get in touch about the overdue project. I’m glad to share the news that a sensible academic has written about this whole situation – the AWOL academic – and gets the issues out in the open. After discussing the problem, analyzing the reasons why it happens, and providing a list of tips for returning from being AWOL, the author writes:

If you are AWOL right now, why don’t you try an “About Face!” Return that phone call. Answer that email. Knock on your advisor’s office door. Stop polishing that manuscript and send it out. You’ll be glad you returned to duty.

So, if you owe someone some work or you promised your committee chair you’d have a report ready, go read about being an academic who has gone AWOL. Today’s the day to make your return. And if you are patiently waiting for a colleague to send you that long awaited response, you may want to send an e-mail with a link to this article with the note, “I thought you might find this article to be an interesting read (hint, hint).”

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