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Monday, February 20, 2012

Benefits of changing work environments

The past 10 days I have been on the road.  First to Wilmington, NC to see my mother and sister, run with Without Limits and see other friends, then on to Myrtle Beach, SC for the Dasani Half Marathon.

I brought my laptop, notebooks, etc. and was very productive research-wise, particularly on the depression project with Bill.  Over that time period I wrote code using the svy function in Stata for both the difference in means and regressions, tabulated the difference in means and continue to work through the regression results.  The svy function is great when using weights!  Additionally I organized (at the request of Bill) a session proposal for the 2013 ASSA/AEA meeting (the big economics conference...yes, the nerds will invade San Diego in January 2013).  We got folks from Duke University, UCLA, NCSU, Washington and Lee University, University of Minnesota, and the Thought Leadership Institute on board.  Hopefully our session is accepted as it looks fantastic.  The topic of our session is the effect of mental and emotional health and stress on labor market outcomes over the business cycle.  If you just got giddy, well... never mind.

I had to stay an extra day in Myrtle Beach due to the snow storm in Virginia.  Despite this, I was quite productive.  I have found that changing environments enhances my productivity.  When I stay in one location for too long I lose my focus and find myself watching too many reruns of Real Housewives of _________.  Don't get me wrong, we all need a little NeNe, but eventually I have to put my foot down and find a new place to work.

Changes of environment don't require five-six hour drives and hotels.  Simply moving my setup from home to Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea does the trick.  I am not sure why this works for me or if it works for others, but on this sabbatical I am desperate to get a large amount of research done and I will do what it takes.

I returned to Virginia this afternoon and am hopeful that this productivity rush will continue.  Otherwise, I might have to move on from NeNe to Tamra.


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