Nigel Thrift writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Some academics have found a way which is to stitch together fellowships and periods at institutes of advanced study and the like into a continuous thread of opportunity which gives them the time and space to think and with no distractions over a concerted period of time. Other academics are able to keep an intellectual problem on the boil because they have the ability to switch on and off, almost at will. So distractions do not so much pass them by as belong to a parallel stream of life. And, of course, many academics still have the privilege of sabbaticals. But for the vast bulk of academics, clever use of time will become an even greater imperative. That is a real skill and some academics are clearly better able to capitalize on the opportunities than others — think only of the gender dimension.
But there is one more thing. Some academics are clearly better at organizing their time than others. This is something that more and more universities are now trying to teach. Some will say that increasing workloads and other pressures make the situation more and more difficult and that such courses and workshops on efficient time management are simply a form of camouflage that masks malign management intentions but, in my experience, being able to manage their time effectively is something that very often distinguishes the best academics.