Sabbatical Thoughts

So, I’m on sabbatical (i.e. academic leave) this semester. My goals are to discover a bit of mathematics and to create a bit of artwork. In particular, I’m working on some research pertaining to bi-Lipschitz homogeneous metric spaces (see the Math page for more info on this), and I’m attempting to create some artwork based on certain families of non-periodic tilings of the plane.

The concept of being on sabbatical is certainly attractive. Actually being on sabbatical is even better, but I’m learning that it comes with it’s own “challenges” (if you want to call them by that name). Here is what I mean – if you are given a lot of time to pursue almost whatever projects you want to pursue, the name of the game becomes organization. I’ve learned that I need to prioritize the projects I’m working on, and then strategically plan out how to spend my time each day. If I start to slack on these planning efforts, I can really stress myself out by trying to accomplish too much in a single day, or by letting myself feel like I’m just “spinning my wheels” to no avail.

A book that has been of immense help to me as I try to pursue a productive sabbatical is Do More Better by Christian blogger and author Tim Challies. It’s a pretty short and easy read, but it is chock-full of helpful advice. One of his most helpful insights is found in his definition of productivity: seeking the glory of God by doing good to others (I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but that’s the basic idea). Thinking about productivity with this key idea in mind has been very helpful as I work my way through each day and plan for the next. If you’re interested, the book can be purchased from many online vendors, including here at Amazon.