I often remark publicly that I never have time to read anything of substance, even in my own field of practice, and certainly don't have the time to read dense, peer-reviewed academic work. I probably read about one academic paper a year, and most of that "reading" is skimming. This is half my fault (not making time for important reading) and half the authors' fault (I don't want to read 15 introductory pages of lit review and rehashing what others have already written). But at some point the daily schedule itself truly gets in the way of any serious reading -- or even thinking -- about the issues we work on. That's a problem and it worries me. Without wanting to come off as a martyr, here was my day today (1/12/2012):
6:00 am - Wake up after 5.5 hours of sleep 7:20 am - On bus into city, working for 45 minutes on laptop to clear out overnight email 8:30 am - At office; forget to dial into Foglamp staff call 8:40 am - Remember to dial into Foglamp staff call; rush call to make 9:00 am call 9:00 am - Call with Israeli and Croatian governments on Open Government Partnership 9:40 am - Get off OGP call, stare at more email, say hi to two colleagues returning from weeks overseas 10:00 am - Leave office to begin touring potential office space for envisioned "Transparency Hub-DC" with two other NGOs and real estate brokers. Inbox = 5 messages. 12:30 pm - After seeing six offices in two hours, do quick rehash and post-mortem on sidewalk at Farragut Square 12:45 pm - Grab cab to go see Affinity Lab up on U Street (for "Hub" inspiration purposes). Look at iPhone: 114 new messages in various inboxes. What. The. Hell. 2:00 pm - Leave Affinity Lab to go back to office. 2:15 pm - Order bibimbap for lunch at hole-in-the-wall across the street from office; begin killing off the 100+ emails on iPhone 2:30 pm - Say hi to colleagues, kill more email, wolf down bibimbap & Diet Coke 3:00 pm - Meet with USAID colleagues 4:00 pm - Email now down to manageable queue; respond to a few of the important ones 4:30 pm - Jump on call with Public Radio International and Center for Public Integrity to strategize about upcoming release of the State Integrity Investigation. 5:15 pm - Leave office to catch bus home; dial back into call on iPhone 5:45 pm - Call ends on bus; laptop opened to fight more email 6:15 pm - Take car to repair shop to fix flat tire; back on email in waiting area (thank you Mobile Citizen and 4G service from CLEAR) 7:30 pm - start writing this blog post 8:00 pm - (hopefully) leave tire shop, go home, give toddler bath and bed time routine 9:00 pm - (hopefully) TBD dinner. Debrief with wonderful wife on her day. 10:30 pm - (hopefully) sleep
Again, the point here is not that I'm any more important or special than other folks; it's when are any of us supposed to read anything of consequence? I'd welcome ideas and strategies for solving this!