the grid

the grid

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Week 6: Time changes

We've turned back the clocks in both the UK and the US, I believe. Even if you don't face the mechanical manipulation of official time, the days are getting shorter or longer, depending on where in the world you are. I'm wondering if the time change has any particular effect on you, and what season better matches your own rhythms. Are longer days more inspiring? Is it less distracting to tuck in and get work done when it's cold and rainy or snowy outside? Also of interest would be tips for managing time change. While I'm happy to have that fake "extra hour" today, I don't know what tomorrow will feel like when it will be dark when my afternoon class ends.

Here's the latest list of goals.
Allan Wilson: 1) write every day 2) exercise every day 3) do analysis for FS.
Amstr: 1) finish article and send in by Thursday night; 2) make some (any!) progress on dissertation reading.
Contingent Cassandra: (1) continue progress on garden, especially replacing fence; (2) continue work on food and sleep. [yes, I'm putting off the financial stuff and the formal exercise for now, in hopes that getting the garden to a stopping point will free up time and energy for other things]
Daisy: Traveling, no check in.
Der Modell Wissenschaftler: No check in.
Earnest English: 1. Continue gardening momentum. 2. Take care of self with good food and good sleep. Take mental discipline seriously. 3. Plan workshop early in the week instead of going crazy at the last minute. 4. Work in as much homeschooling as I can while I'm home several days this week. 5. Start work on getting Great Class proposed to the Curriculum Committee. 6. Do as many 30-minute sessions on Beloved Field as I can.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: No check in.
Good Enough Woman: No check in.
humming42: 1) write for 15 minutes a day. 2) grade papers, tests, and assignments that have gone all TRQ for me. 3) decide whether to apply for the fellowship with urgent application deadline
Ivy: 1) more endless data analyses. These data are going to be tortured into revealing the meaning of life…  2) data collection! 3) three lots of 30 mins on the Discussion of Paper 2 - it's close, I could get it out the door by end Jan… (perhaps that should be my goal!)  4) Three lots of exercise - combination of swimming and yoga…  5) something fun!
JaneB: No check in.
KJHaxton: (1) prep for fun Hallow'een outreach and do the event on Friday afternoon (yay! slime! fancy dress!) (2) use what's left of the week to catch my breath and catch up on the general TRQ to-do list, (3) start planning my November thing - I think I'm going for NaBloPoMo, would love to do the NaNoWriMo but I don't think I'll hold it together - I need small chunks so a blog post a day will be good for me.
Matilda: 1) Plan a structure of the paper. 2) Revise the research theme of my book plan, and work on it. 3) Write at least 15 minutes every day. Exercise for 5 minutes every day. If I have some snacks, have healthier ones.
Susan: 1) finish this chapter, which should be possible -- I've got most of it written, and need to fix transitions, and write a couple of thousand words, but these are mostly things I have in an article I wrote last year. 2) finish my last report (a reader's report on a manuscript). 3) write a couple of letters.


  1. Hello, I forgot to report in last week. Which is what I get for popping in and commenting on the prompt, but skipping out on reporting in in hopes of getting something else done that evening...

    goals two weeks ago: 1) talk to one person about something other than work/work crises for a few minutes every day. 2) 1 x 45 minutes on Crunchier. 3) pull out journal formatting and submission instructions for the target journal for Easy Win paper.

    achieved: 1) probably, in the week I set the goal, but I expect it was about Furball's health crisis instead, sigh. Not in the last week, but that's what comes of giving in and calling in sick... mind you, I probably spend more time thinking to myself about non-work stuff than usual by far, and that is a Good THing. 2)huh. Don't think so. Must. 3) nope.

    analysis: I need a reboot of the semester, but that isnt going to happen for the next few weeks - this week, assuming I manage to not succumb to the lurgy properly, I have a LOT of overdue paperwork and administrivia and busy work which will take far more time than I think even if I triple my initial estimate and change the units, in relation to some field trips happening at the end of this week and the beginning of next and some Compulsory Training Which Is Good For Me. And a new administrative task, oh joy. So in fact, my goal for the next two weeks is Be Nice To JaneB, I think! As a means to the overall goal, which is Survive, followed hopefully by ...without having to call in sick and disrupt the teaching programme any more than you already have.

    goals for this week: 1) complete all the administrivia paperwork with the minimum of extraneous mopping and mowing and whining - it has to be done, I don't want to do it, I will do it (even the bits other people should do but won't). 2) Go to bed before midnight every night. 3) don't pretend, inwardly or outwardly, to be capable of more than you are. Embrace your humanness and limitations, and put off worrying about competitive excellence rubbish for a couple of weeks. 4) writing about research can be limited to reading other people's stuff, reviewing papers etc. (I currently have 2 of the former and three of the latter in the queue) - completing any one of these COUNTS. 5) Enjoy NaNoWriMo, and remember you can always write a Huge Pile Of Description on the last weekend if necessary to make the word count (and will enjoy doing so), and if you don't make count, who cares??? No-one's going to come round and thump you literally or metaphorically for that!

    topic: I like this time of year - the coming home in the dark after classes is a bummer, but hot tea with honey just goes along with an evening of writing so well, and there's much less of a sense that I Ought to be out having fun on a dark, wet evening...

    1. In support of "Be Nice To JaneB", sending HUGS! (I don't know if that is appropriate to do in "academia"... ;) )

    2. I will echo the above hugs--and I firmly believe virtual hugs should be permitted. :) I especially like your embracing your humanness--hard won in the ivied halls.

    3. Thank you! Virtual hugs always welcome (especially when Furball is sulking and not being at all affectionate!)

    4. Havi Brooks (her website is called The Fluent Self) writes about exquisite care...for your exquisite self. Be fabulous to JaneB this week, not just nice!

  2. Last week:
    1) finish article and send in by Thursday night--sent in Friday night. Yay!!
    2) make some (any!) progress on dissertation reading--yes--just reviewed Ch. 1/5

    I really fell off the organizational bandwagon last week. The kids were off school Friday and Monday, so my schedule got thrown off; I was feeling a little under the weather; and I just got lazy. So this week, I'm already ahead on planning. I did get the article done after way too much procrastination, and I just re-read some diss without time constraints.

    I've also had a chance to think more about why I would be revising the diss and why I am dragging on teaching apps. I do think I'm going to take a career route that doesn't involve academia, but at the same time, it's hard to give it up altogether. I was never going to be on the traditional route--MA, PhD, TT job. But I've had trouble figuring out what another route might look like. I'm currently embracing the label "independent scholar," and I'm really enjoying my non-academic writing endeavors. I still need to work out more about all this career stuff, but things seem to be settling into place.

    For next week: send job app to reviewer-friend; 2) more diss progress; 3) journal re: career 2x20min; 4) exercise 3x; 5) write 2 hours per day M-Th.

    Topic: I typically get a lot done this time of year (mostly because of deadlines). For some reason, I'm more clear-headed, life feels like it slows down a bit (even in the midst of holidays), and this year we have fewer things on the weekly schedule starting this week.

    1. I left the traditional track and became an independent scholar long before I finished, due to the market at the time. It may take some thinking to find a comfortable place within or without academia, but there are lots of options. Do you know about the Versatile Ph.D. group? I've found their newsletter helpful, and contact with other wanderers comforting.

    2. I've heard of Versatile PhD--I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the encouragement!

    3. Also, Jennifer Polk and Liana Silva Ford, both PhDs who are working and writing outside of academia. Their blogs and Tweets are inspiring.

    4. I think your options are exciting, but I understand the anxiety of freedom and the possible weirdness of moving into life outside academic institutions.

  3. Last week: (1) prep for fun Hallow'een outreach and do the event on Friday afternoon (yay! slime! fancy dress!) (2) use what's left of the week to catch my breath and catch up on the general TRQ to-do list, (3) start planning my November thing.

    Done: 1, and it was fun making slime with lots of kids in fancy dress. 2. Yes but not nearly as much done as I had hoped. 3. Yes planning writing a blog post a month for November is done.

    This coming week: (1) Make serious headway in TRQ stuff, no scope for TLQ at work this week, just got to get stuff done. (2) Start work on christmas crafts at home in evenings. I have a few plans for gifts but need to get started on them. (3) Eat properly, drink properly...get out into the fresh air each day...bah!

    Topic: I like this time of year, the weather and the early darkness gives me permission to sit and get stuff done without the guilt of not being outside. The food I cook is more comfort food that seems to offset spending a weekend day working in a way summer salad simply cannot. I'm just about past the very hectic part of semester and into more steady ground. This is the last big push week to get significant TRQ stuff so I'm welcominging the coming darkness!

    1. Yeah, I completely agree about the comfort food! And the rhythms of making a nice slow-cooked stew or casserole can actually fit in really well around academic work, plus you get tasty lunch leftovers all week

    2. Getting things done and taking care of yourself...absolutely.

  4. Updates:
    1) I still haven't finished my paper that I have intended to every week for as long as I can remember. So, that is still goal #1.
    2) I do have a sense of my graduation deadlines, and the pressure is on time-wise.
    3) My husband "decided" that the job offer overseas is not what he needs for his career. But, I am not going to be convinced until the deadline passes. We have been so wishy-washy on this whole decision and that alone has been exhausting.

    I am finally feeling like I can think again and am out of the funk that was hanging around. It is such as relief. I'm not sure what caused the change, but I hope it lasts. I’ve been trying to keep focused on meeting my goals. I am making progress, and that has felt good, but I still feel behind and unsure if I am going to make my deadlines to finish this semester. I don’t want that to happen AGAIN!

    1) Submit chapter 2/paper 1 to coauthors
    2) Update committee with progress and if appropriate, request dates for defense
    3) Fast draft of paper 2

    This week's topic:
    I don't mind the early darkness at night, because I find the early light in the morning so refreshing during the time change. I don't have any great tips for managing the effects of the clock change. In general, I have a really difficult time maintaining a consistent rhythm to may daily habits. I wish I weren't like that. I almost envy my type A friends with that internal daily consistency.

    1. One of my standby mantras is "it will all get done," because at some point it has to. Similar to the paper that's there every week, I have this book manuscript that I so want to finish, yet it seems always out of reach. I kind of marvel at how I can't seem to get that done, so I'm hopeful you'll share the secret when you get there because I'm confident you will cross that paper off your list soon.

  5. As I slink back into the group--sorry to have disappeared, but at least I got some things done!

    Goals from three weeks ago:

    1) Another 1000 words on the article.
    2) Finish the statement on research for the dossier.
    3) Continue self care--walks, creative activities, time to daydream, in addition to the yoga and meditation.

    Accomplished: 1) I managed 1000 words each week, so I am very, very close to done.
    2) Um, no. I have blocked time when I will disappear from my office, because I refuse to write the dossier on my own time.
    3) Yes. Actually, I started working on a fiction piece that has been in my head for more than a decade, working with a friend of mine’s interesting approach (which is working on publishing). It actually helped me write the article--more’s the astonishment at that. I’ve also started back on my knitting and other needlework in short snippets, which helps with the stress of the job.

    Next week’s goals:
    1) Edit and polish the article--note loopholes and where the documentation is thin.
    2) Work on the verdamte dossier--5 hours in the next week.
    3) Continue self-care.

    Topic: As I age, I find the time shift more difficult, but not so much because of the light/dark thing, but my general curmudgeonly nature is heightened for a few days. I am always up before dawn, so I don’t miss that, but coming home from the day job in the dark is not welcome. I do have a wood burning fireplace that is coming into great use, with the comfy chair and hot tea in easy reach of the warmth.

    I do find myself aghast at how fast the years go by, and I no longer wish the work week to disappear, realizing that the weekends go just as quickly.

    1. How fantastic to start writing something you've been thinking about for so long! Spinning it into reality.

      I have a senior colleague who routinely comments about how he looks forward to the end of semester, and I concur with you here--my days are far too precious to rush through. Even the stressful weekdays.

    2. Wow, a real fireplace must be fantastic in winter times!
      Humming42, I feel the same. Time is precious.

    3. I would love to hear more about how the creative writing helped your article writing! And I would also love to have a fireplace.

  6. 1) more endless data analyses. --- slowly slowly...
    2) data collection! --- yes! completely took over the week…
    3) three lots of 30 mins on the Discussion of Paper 2 --- nope, not even one
    4) Three lots of exercise - combination of swimming and yoga… swimming x1, yoga x1 and went tramping on Sunday
    5) something fun! --- yes - tramping on Sunday

    Next week's goals - same as this week… have to contribute to a presentation about the endless data analyses on Thurs so that will force me to do that. I need a bit of a breather with the data collection though.

    Topic --- since I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, we're heading into summer! Hence data collection is ramping up and I'm going swimming more. I do love the longer evenings in the summer but here we're too far north (too near equator) to get the really long evenings places further from the equator get and I do miss those.
    On the plus side of that though, the winter dark hasn't affected me as much here as in other places I've lived. (Although that might also be because it never actually got cold, wet and rainy).


    1. Wishing you warm and bright summer days! Despite data overwhelm, it's good to see you have space available for exercise and fun too.

  7. Back after travel... And boy did I learn things! Some academics, but mostly about life and stuff.
    I've done no work on anything research-related (other than the pre-done research talk for conference 1 and poster for 2) and am barely getting my head back together.
    While I was at conference 1 partner got really sick, he and child had to be taken care of by colleagues I managed to reach by phone late at night (thank you eternally!) and then I came home for a whole afternoon, got him carted off to hospital, packed up child and took her to conference 2 with students who I couldn't abandon. He was in for a week, turns out it is an inner ear thing and not the stroke they thought at first (we were not told that until after it was all over, probably a good thing, of course I found all that on PubMed anyway! Bad academic!)... Major relief all round. But it is amazing how fast a system falls apart. I always worried about kid getting sick when I go away, I should have been worried about adult! Now I will set up a few back-up systems for when I do far-off research in places where there are no phones...
    Last week was catch-up, and this week is driving Mr Daisy who is not allowed anywhere near a car :)

    Next week's goals:
    1) Send off paper 1 with nth round of revisions to supervisor
    2) Redo discussion and methods for paper 2 as per discussions at cool conference.

    Time change: I hate it, makes me all cranky and coinciding with Halloween is terrible because there is unlimited candy everywhere. I indulge for a few days and then recover... Must make stews and soups for lunch after everyone's great suggestions!

    PSA: everyone who travels and leaves behind cats, kids, people, plants - go through your friends, set up a few to be backup systems for emergencies, and program the numbers into someone's phone and stick to a wall somewhere. Shit happens really fast!

    1. What a lot of madness! I am so glad to hear that your partner is on the mend, and his illness wasn't the awful scary it might have been. Children of academics do have strange and interesting experiences as well as a view of "work" that is different from many norms. Thank goodness for the little ones who are up for adventures.

    2. I agree, it is important to set up the back up systems. I have put a list of phone numbers on the wall but I have not simulated actually what I have to do in case of emergency. I need to think about it.
      I hope your husband gets well soon.

    3. Systems are precariously balanced! Great ideas for backup. "Inner ear thing" sounds way better than a stroke. So glad it wasn't more serious!

  8. Hello, all,
    I am checking- in late again.

    Last goals:
    1) Plan a structure of the paper.- not much, though I am reading an article related to the paper. This helps me to think ‘I am doing something at least’.
    2) Revise the research theme of my book plan, and work on it.- some. Working on my book (though it is still only a plan) is sometimes stressfull while enojoyable at the same time.
    3) Write at least 15 minutes every day. Exercise for 5 minutes every day. If I have some snacks, have healthier ones. ( I have changed the way of thinking. Not to think ‘no snacks’, but think to have healthier snacks, if I want some. )- Writing: one day. Exercise: two days. My left foot was aching when I did some stretch. Snacks: some nuts and yoghurt. Less feeling guilty.

    My daughter has become better, but in turn , my husband got cold this weekend and was in bed so I had to stay at home to take care of my children instead of attending a conference. I felt guilty (or pressed? The feeling of missing my precious time to study) but then changed my mood and just enjoyed having time with my children all that day, which I cannot do on weekdays.

    Next goals (have them even smaller):
    1) Revise the research theme of my book plan and write up the draft of that part.
    2) Write for 15 minutes every day.
    3) Exercise for 5 minutes every day.

  9. While writing every day enables getting words on the page, the other benefit to writing every day is staying engaged with the project you're working on. But if you are reading, outlining, and revising plans, you are still deeply engaged with that project. You avoid that bad feeling of being distanced from the thing and having to get familiar with it again, where when you are dabbling in it, it's always present and on your mind. All that to say that "writing" is not just about writing.

  10. Hi all, I am slinking in late as well-
    Last goals:
    1) write every day - I think every work day, which I will take as a win. And I can see the difference- I am slowly inching ahead now with overdue paper writing
    2) exercise every day - nowhere near. A bad week in fact- I think maybe twice
    3) do analysis for FS - too busy and I couldn't face it.
    Some major excitement though- having a small (and not terribly profound) paper accepted with minor revisions- it's small, but I am so thankful. The day after I received the decision, I spent the whole day doing all the required revisions. I am so yearning for that final acceptance email! And it helped galvanise me to work really hard on my next paper writing over the last couple of days.
    So what to do this week?
    Same kinds of goals I think (even though we are half way through the week already).
    1) Exercise 5x
    2) do FS analysis
    3) finish revising FS paper
    4) one day writing whk paper.
    I as well as Ivy have the summer opening out before us. I am looking forward to it!
    We have also just bought a house which is sunny and warm and has a magnificent calming view that I love, (and it was a surprise because we thought the vendors would want much more for it than we were able to offer). And, it is cat friendly which is vitally important as one of our cats was recently very badly hit by a car and is still recuperating, and we do not want to have that happen again. So, a new summer in front of me is appealing and I am looking forward to 'settling' and thinking in a relaxed and sunny spot.
    allan wilson

  11. I'm very late--a few weeks late, really--so I'm not even going to try to go back and find my goals from several weeks ago. I will start fresh. I fell behind because things got busy, kids got sick, etc. The best reason I fell behind is that I've made a late-in-the-game decision to apply for sabbatical for next fall, so I've been working on that application instead of doing my research.

    This week's goals:
    1) Walk 3x
    2) Finish draft of sabbatical proposal and send it to letter writers
    3) Read 50 pages of primary source text
    4) Find a way to take care of self or feel balanced in the face of a lot of social obligations this weekend

    #4 will be tricky. My husband is planning to take the kids camping on Saturday night. Usually, such dad-kid outings are a great chance for me to be alone in the house, soaking up the solitude and getting a lot of work done. This Saturday, however, I have three social commitments on Saturday afternoon and evening. I just want to stay home, research, and eat pie.

    As for the time change, I used to dislike it. When I was single, I didn't like the dark evenings because the day felt over too early, and I had a difficult getting work done during the darkness. But now that I have a family, I like the time change. I tend to get up early a couple of mornings a week to get work done, so it's nice when mornings get light again. And in the evenings, I'm usually cooking and hanging with the family, so the darkness makes it all feel very cozy.