the grid

the grid

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Week 14: What Didn't Work?

Next week is the last week of this session, and since we'll probably want to end next week on a positive note, I thought that this week, we could look back on the TLQ areas from this session that were especially challenging, analyzing why we had trouble with them and how we might need to adjust our behavior or adjust our goals in the future.

Some of you were very successful with all of your goals, so you are welcome to skip the topic and just do check-in, or perhaps you can share a time from the past when you had trouble focusing on a TLQ goal or establishing a new habit but then managed to overcome your obstacles to create a pattern of success.

My first day of classes is Monday, and I know many others are preparing for a new term. I hope you all find time for TLQ and "deep work" even as the tide is turning (or the river is getting wilder, or whatever nature metaphor you might fill in). For those of you not starting a new term yet, I hope you can avoid meetings and continue dig into TLQ.

Also, wherever you might be, watch out for Nazis and the Klan.


Contingent Cassandra (carried over)
1) Get grades in (TRQ, but also necessary to having a bit of time to concentrate on TLQ)2) Figure out what I'll do when in the next month as much as possible
3) Keep lifting weights; get in the pool; move some more mulch if weather cooperates

Dame Eleanor Hull
Self: regular stretching and walking; see if I can get back to the gym without injuring myself; haircut; massage; have fun with out-of-town visitor.
Teaching: finish syllabuses for fall; set up Blackboard shells for classes.
Research: 5 hours each on revisions and on translation project.
House: Garden work, finish packing my study, finish packing the guest room. 

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Walk forty-five minutes a day.
Work on Prudence one hour a day.
File thirty minutes a day.

GoodEnoughWoman
1) Do last syllabus. Make necessary copies for first week of classes.
2) Get new curtains for daughter and a curtain rod for son.
3) Hem existing curtains for son.
4) Exchange daughter's clarinet for a flute (long story involving clarinet cheilitis).
5) Write 1000 words.
6) Walk dog with son. Watch Gilmore Girls with daughter. Take both to the beach for boogie boarding.
7) Arrange for a piano to be moved from my mom's house to my house (I don't feel like doing this AT ALL. Too much organizing and coordinating of schedules.)
8) Oh, and swim at least once.

heu mihi
1. Full rereading of ch. 2; get that one book to finish that one paragraph.
2. Reread intro and figure out what I need to do. 
3. Read SD's thesis (defense on Friday).
4. Keep working on to-do lists for other chapters.
5. Get caught up on some phone calls and emails; schedule car maintenance.
6. Finish syllabus 3/3 (this should take all of 15 minutes; no excuses!).
7. If I have time and/or need something concrete and mindless to do, photocopy stuff for second course pack.

humming42
1 finish grading and post grades
2 submit page proofs
3 submit reviewer comments
4 finish chapter 1 revisions

JaneB
1) write up and send notes/samples related to BlackSummerProject, try and tick off my part of the next step
2) write up the Picky Paper results from last week
3) Gallimaufrey review and possible grant - collect up comments so far, pull together, propose tasks others can do, send out emails
4) clear my office desk!
5) enjoy working with the Visitor
6) move more!

Karen
1) finish abstract ahead of extended deadline
2) draft theme area grant application
3) do one pomodoro of office tidying
4) move more (2 x yoga, 1 x walk - think about downloading a couch to 5k app)

KJHaxton (carried over)
1. finish posters
2. finish exam questions
3. finish skirt
4. start new knitting project (wool is ordered, sketches and plans made...)

Matilda (carried over)
1) Finish first draft of Chapter 2. 
2) 5-minute-exercises at least twice a day. 
3) Find ‘my own 15 minutes’ as many as possible, and do something. 
4) Re-consider my plan.

Notorious, PhD (carried over)
-3000 words this week
-3 yoga/four morning meditation
-One source collection
AND... clean up desk mess!
Oh -- you know, I'm going to add to my list: "Finish one nagging task." I have three, so I should be able to pick. Decluttering the mind.

Susan (carried over)
1. Make sure I've ordered desk copies of all books for fall
2. Keep moving
3. Keep reading 

Waffles
1. Outline for expectancies paper
2. Asthma paper - figure out next steps
3. Email guy from Tennessee
4. pack, clean, pack, clean, and random details related to packing and cleaning!




Saturday, 12 August 2017

Week 13: Parking on a downhill slope

I kind of hate to have to mention this, but we have just two weeks to go of this iteration of TLQ group, and some north American acadabloggers are already clearly gearing up for the start of the new academic year.  So I thought this week we should carry on thinking about the writing process, this week focusing on a metaphor that has been used for ages in this online community - I read it first over at Notorious' place - and which I've found a really helpful tip for myself and when shared with real-life colleagues - the notion of parking our work on a downhill slope. It follows on nicely from last week's topic, as one means of avoiding getting stuck is to always make it as easy as possible to re-enter work, whether it's just carrying on the next day or getting back to writing after a busy month or two of classes, tests, grading, student emails and bureaucracy. 

I "park my work" in one of two ways - first, I aim to end a writing session with a few "what next" notes.  For academic papers this is usually bullet points of the ideas I have for the contents of the next few paragraphs or the things I need to mention - even if I think it's obvious! - whereas for fiction it's more often a question or single phrase ("how does she feel when she wakes up the next morning?  Why did it dig a hole? He really doesn't want to answer that question so he'll evade, "look shiny!", now it's time to switch to what's happening in the woods").  Then the next session begins by writing those notes into sentences and expanding on them.  I try to stop before I run out of steam, so that it's easy to have a couple of nascent ideas to note - also that's a better use of time, as the "thrashing" of the last part of a writing session can be quite unproductive and confidence-destroying.  I'm getting better at accepting a good chunk done rather than trying to force myself to do MORE!  Second, when I leave a piece of work in progress for a longer period, and especially for working in semester time, I also aim to make a list of small, concrete "useful steps" - "add references to paragraph 7" or "format table 3" or "check journal rules for referencing" - that make using half an hour of writing time easier, as I spend much less time working out where I was, I just pick a thing from the list and do that, knowing it's necessary.  And I try and leave those lists somewhere really obvious, e.g. at the top of the document in bright red, again to avoid spending ten minutes of my half hour trying to work out what to do.  What about you?  How do you "park your work on a downhill slope"?  And especially for those of us on a Northern Hemisphere academic cycle, are there specific things you can prioritise in the last part of this iteration to park your summer's work on a downhill slope and keep some TLQ momentum going into the new semester?

Also, any volunteers to coordinate the next iteration between September and Christmas, and suggestions for dates to start?

____________________________

Last week's goals:


Contingent Cassandra (from week ten)

  1. Get grades in (TRQ, but also necessary to having a bit of time to concentrate on TLQ)
  2. Figure out what I'll do when in the next month as much as possible
  3. Keep lifting weights; get in the pool; move some more mulch if weather cooperates

DEH

  1. Relax and have fun.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

  1. Walk forty-five minutes a day.
  2. Clear my part of the study so I can think.
  3. File eveything on my desk at work so I can think.

GEW

  1. Do online registration tasks Monday or Tuesday.
  2. Write 3x for 30 minutes.
  3. Read a couple of more chapters of book on structure.
  4. Make appointment to see my primary about weird symptoms.
  5. Do 2 syllabi.
  6. Do sprucing up of laundry room.
  7. Sort through 1-2 boxes or bags in garage.
  8. Get (or at least choose) some plants for the backyard.

heu mihi

  1. Read MM's dissertation.
  2. Finish at least 1 Big thing for ch. 2 and as many of the S & M things as Interlibrary Loan will allow.
  3. Create a course pack for FYS.
  4. Take notes on the books sitting on my desk.
  5. Complete syllabus 2/3.
  6. Annual faculty report.

humming42

  1. finish revisions to rbp chapter 2 (saving intro chapter for last)
  2. grading for summer class
  3. follow up again with co-author

Matilda

  1. Finish first draft of Chapter 2.
  2. 5-minute-exercises at least twice a day.
  3. Find ‘my own 15 minutes’ as many as possible, and do something.
  4. Re-consider my plan.

JaneB

  1. write very rough draft of a paper which is for a special collection and is due at the end of September. This is the third ProblemChild paper (we originally planned on four, but have decided one meatier one is probably better). It is a nice long way off now but it will catch up VERY SOON.
  2. remake figure for Tagalong paper (so-called because I feel a bit of a fraud being a co-author, although I've written a nice chunk of the discussion and edited the heck out of the draft)
  3. get as much as possible done on Black Summer Project in the two days
  4. keep in touch with PickyPaper (I have sorted out the next batch of simulations today, so I can set them going between meetings & stuff so I can feel a little productive).
  5. read at least one more novel (I like reading novels)

KJHaxton

  1. finish posters
  2. finish exam questions
  3. finish skirt
  4. start new knitting project (wool is ordered, sketches and plans made...)

Notorious, PhD (carried over)

  1. Writing: 2500 words
  2. Research: One volume of ordinances
  3. Mind/body: 3 yoga, 4 morning meditation

Susan (carried over)

  1. Make sure I've ordered desk copies of all books for fall
  2. Keep moving
  3. Keep reading

Waffles (carried over)

  1. Practice APA talk
  2. Winnow down something in my house (to prep for move)


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Week 12: Getting Unstuck

I enjoyed thinking about work spaces last week. I just love thinking about beautiful views and desks and paper and pens, etc.

Nevertheless, I thought I might shift gears this week to talk more about the craft and process of academic writing. During our discussion about work spaces, JaneB mentioned that sometimes she tidies her office when she is feeling "stuck" with her work. That got me thinking about various strategies for getting "unstuck" or dealing with a problem in an article or chapter. Perhaps some of us might step away from a project to tidy a room or go for a walk; others of us might freewrite or do some further reading on a relevant topic. Or maybe some of us have other specific strategies for dealing the puzzles and conundrums that our work presents when things aren't quite fitting together. This week, perhaps we can share strategies for getting through the sticking points or rough patches of our work. (Sorry for all of the mixed metaphors.)

I hope everyone has a great week!

Contingent Cassandra (from week ten)
--Get grades in (TRQ, but also necessary to having a bit of time to concentrate on TLQ)
--Figure out what I'll do when in the next month as much as possible (I realize that not having a plan is raising my anxiety levels, to the point where I've had some trouble sleeping. On the other hand, some of this involves other people -- other people whom I really want to see, even more than I want some unplugged time to myself, though I also want that -- and their schedules, so I may just have to live with it. 
--Keep lifting weights; get in the pool; move some more mulch if weather cooperates

DEH
*regular stretching and gym
*make two appointments
*meet with writing group
*e-mail students about getting their work in
*put in a few hours of professorial work
*make two rooms Presentable
*empty a file cabinet (pack/recycle/shred, as appropriate)


Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (from week ten)
Walk forty-five minutes a day. 
Continue to compile versions of Prudence and continue to follow the schedule.

GEW
1) Write: 3x, 30 minutes.
2) Do kids' online registration.
3) Finish "checklist" of items for son's high school (!) registration.
4) Be present with family. This is the week to (mostly) be the water, not the stone.

heu mihi
1) On my ch. 2 to-do list, I have 12 small items, 9 medium items, and 5 big items. Goal is to complete 5 smalls and 3 mediums and to make progress on 1 big.
2) Complete 1/3 syllabi.
3) Read something for fall classes.
4) Get to work on scheduling September speaker.

humming42
1 finish book reviews (two due in the coming week)
2 read rbp editor comments
3 create rbp workplan
4 work on Snow in spare time
5 get caught up with summer class grading

Matilda (from week ten)
1) Finish first draft of Chapter 2. At least, finish almost.
2) 5-minute-exercises at least twice a day.
3) Find ‘my own 15 minutes’ as many as possible, and do something.
4) Think positively, plan concretely, work practically.

JaneB
1) work on some "loose ends" papers where I'm middle author
2) see if Gallimaufrey Review is ready to go out to the other co-authors
3) do something with GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted
4) touch base with PickyPaper

KJHaxton
1. write exam questions, keep plugging on with lecture/class prep
2. finish two posters for conference
3. finish skirt
4. go to beach

Notorious, PhD
1) On my ch. 2 to-do list, I have 12 small items, 9 medium items, and 5 big items. Goal is to complete 5 smalls and 3 mediums and to make progress on 1 big.
2) Complete 1/3 syllabi.
3) Read something for fall classes.
4) Get to work on scheduling September speaker.
5)"Finish one nagging task."

Susan
1. Make sure I've ordered desk copies of all books for fall
2. Keep moving
3. Keep reading 

Waffles
This week’s goals:
1. Practice APA talk
2. Winnow down something in my house (to prep for move)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Week 11: Summer daydreams

It's August next week, and I've not long been back from a week away, so continuing the lighter theme of last week's discussion topic seems a good idea.  One of the great pleasures of childhood summers was the space to daydream, and letting your mind run free is both relaxing and stimulating, an escape from the day to day and its demands.  Carrying on from last week, what's your dream workspace like?  I know we've talked about this before, but with some members having "she-sheds" in their futures and others moving house or reorganising their spaces it seems like a good time to revisit - and to think if there's a small thing from that dream space that we can affordably and practically bring into our current concrete but imperfect work spaces.

Goals from last week:



Contingent Cassandra
--Get grades in (TRQ, but also necessary to having a bit of time to concentrate on TLQ)
--Figure out what I'll do when in the next month as much as possible (I realize that not having a plan is raising my anxiety levels, to the point where I've had some trouble sleeping. On the other hand, some of this involves other people -- other people whom I really want to see, even more than I want some unplugged time to myself, though I also want that -- and their schedules, so I may just have to live with it.
--Keep lifting weights; get in the pool; move some more mulch if weather cooperates

Dame Eleanor Hull
Self: Stretch every day. Swim twice. Prep safe food for travel day.
Teaching: Grade all the things.
Research: Finish revising the MMP-3.
House/Life: type the packing list. Pack for departure from UK.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Walk forty-five minutes a day.
Continue to compile versions of Prudence and continue to follow the schedule.

Good Enough Woman
1) Finalize travel plans.
2) Walk 4x, Swim 1x. Yoga 1x.
3) Do three early mornings for reading/writing. Plan them ahead. (In general, try to plan ahead a bit more.)
4) Plan/take outing with son (if he can think of something he'd like to do).
5) Take remaining bags to office.
6) Put together reading packet and submit it to reprographics.
7) Complete online school registration for kids.
8) Get daughter started on a gratitude journal. She tends to focus on the negative, and she agrees that the gratitude journal might be a good idea.
9) Remind self that summer is not over yet!

heu mihi (carried over from last week)
We're going to the beach for a week on Saturday (YAAAAY!), so I'll have to do a bunch of grocery shopping/cleaning/cooking/etc. to get ready. In addition: 
1) Enter current revisions into ch. 2
2) Complete teaching portion of tenure file (Tuesday, I hope)
3) Work through print-out of ch. 2 (after #1 is done)
4) Take care of admin stuff--conference proposal, guest speaker, etc.

humming42
1 finish book review in progress
2 send additional information to Snow editor
3 submit Memory abstract
4 write letter for editorial board
5 read memoir for Perform paper

JaneB
1) enjoy time with niece and Sister's family
2) be the rock the water rolls off whilst with parents
3) keep checking of work email to a minimum! (I have to check some, but once a day would be enough)

Karen (from week seven)

1. Yoga - 3 home practices (even if little) and 1 class
2. Garden - plan 2017/8 vegetable crops
3. Office - 2 x 25 minutes of clearing the encroaching chaos of floor clutter
4. Read - one article
5. Write - 1 hour on messy first draft of grass text


KJHaxton
1. write exam questions, keep plugging on with lecture/class prep
2. start the sewing project (skirt and shirt - never made clothes before, equally exciting and terrifying)
3. work on the two posters for the conference at end of August (oral presentation wasn't accepted but offered chance to do it as a poster, other poster was accepted)

Matilda
1) Finish first draft of Chapter 2. At least, finish almost.
2) 5-minute-exercises at least twice a day.
3) Find ‘my own 15 minutes’ as many as possible, and do something.
4) Think positively, plan concretely, work practically.

Notorious, PhD (carried over)
-Writing: 2500 words
-Research: One volume of ordinances
-Mind/body: 3 yoga, 4 morning meditation

Susan (from week seven)

1. Get rough drafts of syllabi done
2. Find out how to set up my personal website, start designing it
3. Keep moving
4. Keep reading


Waffles
1. Finalize APA presentation and practice
2. Scoping review #1 - read through abstracts
3. Work on expectancies paper