the grid

the grid

Saturday 28 February 2015

The Golden Rule

As I read the comments here, and as I peruse the web, I always notice that many academics are very hard on ourselves.  We set high standards, and give ourselves demanding work loads, and are not very tolerant when we fail to accomplish all that we have set out to do.   Perfectionism comes with the territory.  In recent weeks, a few people have tried to set reasonable goals, but I notice that we mostly set stretch goals for ourselves.    And then we don’t quite make it.   The Golden Rule suggests an ethic of reciprocity, or, as Leviticus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I interpret “love” here to include both practical kindness and generosity of spirit; my observation is that many of us are more generous to others than to ourselves.  But my experience is that if I am not being kind to myself, I can’t be kind to others, at least not for long.  So my question for the week is, how do you balance stretch goals with limits?  How are you kind to yourself when you are not perfect?   What are the things that you do to accept your inability to do everything you would like, in a perfect world, to do?   This, it seems to me, is another aspect of self-care: balancing our demands with reality.   And we could probably all learn a something from each other on this one.

  1.      Topic for the week
  2.     Goals from last week
  3.      Goals for next week
Here are your goals from last week:
1) finish the bags - 12 to do.
2) Tidy office, file things, make space for new projects
3) survive

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
1) Write 100 words a day
2) Space planning for home office. The current arrangement is not working
3) Personal time. I do not protect down time for myself either at work or at home

1) Finish and submit past due article
2) Finish and send proposal to friend for feedback
3) Write at least three days

Contingent Cassandra
1) try to get a full night's sleep when possible; eat the nutritious food that I have in the fridge/freezer; regroup toward the end of the week re: exercise, possible day off.
2) keep making progress on DH class materials (and, now, feedback for that class).

1) exercise 4x
2) eat well (according to "plan" I've established)
3) reasonable bedtimes
4) four 90-minute writing sessions

- Get close to finishing chapter. (The goal was to finish it by the end of February, but other obligations got in the way, so I'll give myself an extra week.)
- Work on panel for fall conference (my new favorite conference)
- Write abstract for invited workshop in April
- Keep walking
- Keep making progress on the garden. (This goes on forever, because weeds keep growing.)

1) five minuteses
2) survive three days in the office doing various things with people
3) do at least one hour on Crunchier on each of the days I'm NOT in the office
4) take the weekend completely off work work (and maybe do some housework).

Good Enough Woman
1) Write 500 words for special section of Chapter 2.
2) Read 75 pages of primary text.
3) Exercise 5x, tracking water and spending

1) Week 5-2 of Belcher's book.
2) Continue to read the important book.
3) Finish the introductory part of the review article.
4) Exercise for 7 minutes everyday. Do a short exercise in the morning.
5) Be tolerant of snacks, but try to have healthier one.

Allan Wilson (continued from last week)
Exercise every day, and complete the analysis with a goal of having the paper tidied up as well.

Friday 20 February 2015


A number of people mentioned conferences last week--as a way to gain coherence and in their goals. What do you enjoy about conferences? What do you dread? Do you have any conference-attending strategies? What purpose do conferences serve in your career? in your work life?

Partly, I'm curious about how answers will differ, and partly, I'm trying to figure out my own relationship with conferences. I'm attending my first non-academic writing conference next month, and I have never felt like I've been able to make conferences work for me in my academic life.

Check in:
Last week's goals
This week's goals

Here's the roster:

Allan Wilson: (no check in this week; back in week 7)
Exercise every day, and complete the analysis with a goal of having the paper tidied up as well.

relax with family, and do some stuff outdoors.

Contingent Cassandra:
1) continued attention to self-care: sleep; exercise (lift weights and either walk or do something else -- perhaps some stair-climbing -- if it's too cold); cook (prob. soup); eat more salads; take at least one full day off.
2) Make substantial progress on DH assignments, handouts, examples, etc.; plan 1st round of grading.
3) Begin tackling/planning financial tasks in a more systematic way; do travel request.

Daisy: (goals from week 3)
1) Send paper A (easy goal for positive reinforcement)
2) Draft B

Earnest English: (goals from week 4)
-keep up the great Get Serious work with daily writing and weekly typing!
-grade a little each day (papers coming in Tuesday!)
-1 hour on scholarship: soon I'll have to do 2 or 3 hours to catch up
-get travel for upcoming conference all scheduled and done
-make food
-Artist Date on Wednesday???
-try to get out of the house each day unless it's actively snowing
-unpack boxes
-meditate/do yoga

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell:
1) outline the presentation I have to give in March.
2) Write 100 words a day.
3) Sleep.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Complete draft of Summer Institute application
2) Organize my work bag and desk areas to help get routines back in order
3) review my timeline for the next 5 weeks to see if it still works

Finish and submit past due article
Finish and send proposal to friend for feedback
Write at least three days

1) keep up the 5 minutes of exercise, house stuff and email blitzing. 2) Put in an abstract for a conference at the end of my study leave . . . 3) On both of Tuesday and Thursday, I will do at least half an hour on Crunchier, even if it is just working on tables.

Kjhaxton: (from last week)
(1) Pin, press and hem the cut fabric.
(2) do something about the untranscribed paper
(3) writing daily

Matilda: (from last week)
1) Week 3-3 of Belcher's book.
2) Review the important book.
3) Write the introductory part of the review article.
4) Exercise for 5 minutes everyday. 2 sessions, if possible.
5) Have snacks, but not too much. You can do it!

1. Review article for journal - I will have to silence the evil email prompts!
2. Keep plugging along on chapter --
3. File expenses for research trip
4. Keep going on garden cleanup
5. Continue with exercise -- maybe figure out how to integrate yoga at home.

Friday 13 February 2015


I’ve spent the week working at a library a few hours from my home, one where a bunch of people I’ve known for many years are on fellowship this year; I’ve also had the opportunity to hang out with several people who I don’t know well, but whose work I’ve admired for a long time.   So it’s been a sociable week, but with professional friends.   These are people who know me as a scholar, but who also treat me as a person.  We can move from talking about ideas (how do you read those plays? How can you open up that argument? How do you get going on the new project?) to talking about life and gossiping about other colleagues.   Last night, as I was returning from a very relaxed dinner with someone I’ve known for over 20 years, I realized that these times help me feel as if my life has some kind of coherence: there are people who link my professional and personal life.    So the question for the week is this: what are the things that help you feel as if the pieces of your life fit together? Or isn’t this important to you?

Goals from last week:
Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
1) revise tenure documentation, which is due Tuesday
2) Start writing March presentation, 100 words 4 times this week.
3) Make third doctor’s appointment.
4) Start meditating at night, in hopes of better sleep.

Contingent Cassandra
1)Continue paying attention to sleep routine, exercise (walk at least once; lift weights at least once), and cooking healthy foods (freeze current pot soup; make another).
2)Do what's necessary (assignments, sample materials, logistics) to get students started on DH projects.
3)Do something (anything!) to make incremental progress on finances (at the very least, decide which of two spring professional trips I should use available travel money on).

(1) Pin, press and hem the cut fabric.
(2) do something about the untranscribed paper
(3) writing daily

Good Enough Woman
1) The conference paper is not on the border between TRQ and TLQ. It would be easy to prioritize other things until Wednesday, but I want to make sure I don't do that, so I'm still listing it here. Finish paper by Wednesday night!
2) Track water/exercise/spending.
3) 7 minutes exercise everyday.
4) Ask husband for true amount of time I need to do work this week. Let go of guilt for time away from the family this week.

1. Read the ms. for the journal -- that review is due on the 16th, as the editorial management software reminds me
2. Read primary sources at library
3. Get going on writing, expanding this chapter
4. Walk or other exercise daily -- given the gardens I'll be working in, the walks are inevitable. And one day, there will be yoga in the garden.

1) regular bedtime (between 10:30 and 11pm)
2) 1 hour or more on proposal chapter
3) ½ hour on proposal
4) exercise 4x
(Goals: NONE right now. I'll be back in three weeks, after adding a catch-up week after these two.)

1) use the calendar pages to track: a) 5 minutes every day of house related stuff b) 5 minutes every day of some kind of exercise and c) 5 minutes a day of deleting/filing/curating old emails and 2) 2 lots of 30 minutes on Crunchier. TRQ is to complete all of last semester's administrative paperwork for one of my roles... sigh

Allan Wilson
1. exercise every day (aka stay sane)
2. do one analysis on a TLQ paper to my satisfaction, so I can get it submitted by the end of next week. I have contracted with my awesome boss for chocolate if I do it.

1) Week 3-3 of Belcher's book.
2) Review the important book.
3) Write the introductory part of the review article.
4) Exercise for 5 minutes everyday. 2 sessions, if possible.
5) Have snacks, but not too much. You can do it!

So, comment on topic, report on last week, and set next week's goals.   And I'd like to give a cheer for Elizabeth Ann Mitchell who has now (by hook or crook) submitted her tenure portfolio!