But for my purposes I'll define success as whatever it is that got me a done dissertation and a pretty good job, and whatever it is that keeps me writing and submitting and publishing and presenting.
1. Like dhawhee, I'm a list-maker, and I make one nearly every day. This isn't to say that I get everything on that list done every day--far from it--but it calms me down and helps me focus.So, uh. . . check back in two or three years, why dontcha, and let's see if those habits have actually gotten me somewhere.
2. I pile up projects. That doesn't sound like a recipe for success, but I've found that I get more done when I have more stuff to do. Take my reading group, for example: who has the time to read four scholarly books unrelated to her research in the course of a semester teaching a 3-3 load and going to three conferences? Totally not me. But because I have that obligation, I've met it. What would I have done with that time otherwise? Frittered it away on the internet or course prep.
3. Relatedly, I put off course prep until the last minute. I get my grading done promptly and I'm pretty good about getting handouts and assignments made up in plenty of time--but planning what I'm actually going to do in front of the class the next day? Best to do that at 10 p.m. the night before. Or 11 p.m. Otherwise, what need take only 30 or 60 minutes could well suck up three hours.
4. I goof off a lot. Seriously. On days when I'm working at home--and especially if I don't have plans in the evening--I get up at 10 or so, spend a couple of hours on the internet, take a shower & put myself together. . . and then putter around the apartment until 3 or 4 or even past dinnertime. I've come to the conclusion that I really need that time to be totally by myself, just doing mindless, pleasurable things, in order to free up mental space and relax.
5. In between that goofing off, though--and tending to teaching and administrative tasks--I try to get some scholarship done every day. This I always schedule in manageable chunks: two hours here, an hour there. I can work very intensely for short bursts, and if it's an especially good day, I may have two or three such bursts. What's much harder is to make myself work for 6 or 8 hours at a go. . . and in the long run I figure that an hour or two of work, nearly every day, is much better (and much more likely to happen!) than setting aside one or even two days a week that are theoretically totally devoted to writing and research.