the grid

the grid

Friday 22 May 2015

Week 1 check in post

Apparently if you complain about the internet on the internet, the internet mends itself??  I dunno - my connection was ropey all day possibly because of some work going on down the street, but it's magically back now.  Ahem.  On to business...

Welcome back!  I hope you all had a reasonably productive first week, making due allowance for the time of year ('productive' might mean grading on track, grades submitted, that wonderful out of office email set up to deter all but the most determined of student enquirers, enough sleeping in and unwinding done so the ear-shoulder gap has returned to normal and you don't dread looking at your email, or the pasty white skin of the office-denizen getting a hint of sun-colour - unless you live in the antipodes and are digging out jumpers, sorry, guys!).  We have fifteen members, and fifteen weeks in this summer session, so lets hope that's a good omen for fifteen sets of goals achieved!

The format for 'normal' weeks reporting is a three to five paragraph one:

1. comment on the week's topic, when there is one
2. report your progress against last week's goals
3. analysis (optional): analyse what happened, what went well, what came up to derail things, note what you learnt/want to change, ask any questions of the rest of the group if you want some tips or suggestions
4. planning (optional): something about the coming week: what the priorities are, what issues are going to present challenges, what the framework for your goal-setting is
5. goals for the next week (or multi-week period until your next check-in)

topic for discussion:

In last week's comments, several people wrote about lists: picking up neglected lists, making lists of projects or for projects, reading lists, lists of recipes or holiday options, to do lists or things done lists.  I have to admit to a kind of love-hate relationship with lists.  I really really like how making a list makes me feel in control.  I like crossing stuff off.  I like planning.  But lists and plans can also feel confining or daunting, and lists flourish like the cedars of Lebanon, easily overshadowing any sense of achievement or progress and sneaking into all corners of life reminding me of what I haven't done.  It's so easy in this job to feel overwhelmed - sometimes lists are a great tool to control the overwhelm, but sometimes they contribute to it!  This year I've been experimenting with writing a 'done' list throughout the day, to kind of balance out the to-do lists, and I think it's helping.  Anyway, this week, as a topic, let's talk about lists!  How do you manage your lists?  Have you been using one system for years, do you tend to set up new systems and then have them lapse, do you have special list-making tools that you prefer (I currently use 6"x4" index cards - there isn't room for the list to get too scary-huge on any one card!  Also low-tech works for me, as I'm not always near a computer...)?  How do you feel about lists - essential, over-rated, a complicated relationship?

goals set last week

 allan wilson
1. plan and decide which paper to start on
2. list what tasks I need to do
3. write an important email about museums
4. exercise four times(?)
1) write 5 days,
2) gather info for letters of rec,
3) email Kind Advisor re: letters and what to say to my other recommenders,
4) print out apps for 2 jobs.

Contingent Cassandra
1. rest, regroup, and plan, in whatever proportions feel right
2. make some progress on reducing household chaos
3. start walking again
4. do some communicating with family and/or friends (it looks like this will be family, since I just learned of a dfficult/sad situation that is affecting several family members)

1) Collect all files and check through all data for almost finished new project (N1)
2) Make preliminary outline for N1 paper
3) Write data section for N1 paper
4) Read a paper a day

1) to compile the articles I need to read for the literature review,
2) to read and take notes on one article.
3) Walk for half an hour 5 times.
4) Compile healthy recipes that will appeal to the denizens of Testosterone Palace

1) exercise twice
2) make reading list and plans for next two weeks

humming42 apologies if I mis-translated your goals here, trying to summarise a longer post
1) grades!
2) clean up Proposal Em and send to Willing & Kind Colleague
3) think about how manage open time without overeating/overreading mind-candy

1) make a clear outline to get the work done
2) write for 2 hours per day
3) work 2 hours per day on each of two long overdue reports

1) write for 5 hours
2) keep a DONE list as well as a TO DO list
3) write a talk and give it at a workshop (also travel to and take part in the workshop...). 
4) Go to bed before midnight every night!
1) pick up dropped admin to do list and knock off a couple of items (P1)
2) organise all conference papers into one folder (P2)
3) physio exercises x4 and set a bed-time alarm every evening

1. tidy office, file all the left over bits of teaching stuff
2. write some lists of what needs to be done/improved/changed for each module I teach in.
3. start working on the planning habits
4. make headway in the marking

Let's Do This
1) finishing the article draft ahead of a short research trip in two weeks
2) re-reading what I've written so far of Book 1 (a lot)
3) re-reading what I've written so far of Book 2 (not a lot, but I'm only writing half of it, so maybe this is okay?)
4) enjoying my birthday, my anniversary, and my daughter's birthday!

1) to write a research report for the grant I got
2) to write chapter 1 of the book.
3) to exercise for 5 minutes everyday.
4) to have less sweets. 

1. survive the student presentations and grading
2. catch up with other grading and close off the semester
3. time sensitive admin task
4. work out when to squeeze very small fieldwork project into the summer (again, I may have mis-summarised this!)

1. Finish revision of last chapter, start work on introduction by setting reading list, sketching where new sections need to come into the intro.
2. Meet with colleagues to discuss ToC for collection of essays, write press and start writing potential contributors.
3. Send a few necessary emails related to decluttering.
4. Walk four days
5. Find out about potential vacation destinations (Do email if I can provide any UK info!).


  1. Topic: I have a very intense set of lists. Before I confess, let me just say that organization is my bread and butter, so my over-the-top organization is officially encouraged!

    I based my system on CGP Grey's youtube video on a teacher’s planner he created. I have color-coded folders for the twelve months and the five days of the week. I put dated things like deadlines to get regalia for graduation in that month, or a few months ahead for grant applications, that sort of thing.

    Then there are six “buckets”:
    Bucket One is a monthly calendar
    Bucket Two is a catch-all of reminders, or task lists
    Bucket Three is Daily Bucket, which is compiled by looking at the Buckets One and Two, yesterday’s Bucket Three and yesterday’s Bucket Four, filling in any information from Buckets Five and Six
    Bucket Four is the Memory Bucket--things that didn’t get done are written here at the end of the day
    Bucket Five is Information contacts, phone numbers, addresses and birthday dates (I keep this on Google Drive)
    Bucket SIx is Communications (notes for/from emails and calls)

    I also keep two other lists. One is of tasks broken down by time required--five minutes, fifteen minutes, and so on. Another is a list of things that have to be done every day, or every week, or every month.

    Aren’t you sorry you asked?

    Last week’s goals:
    1) to compile the articles I need to read for the literature review.
    I pulled several together, but I’m not done.
    2) to read and take notes on one article.
    Nope. I finished the rough draft of another article, so that was something.
    3) Walk for half an hour 5 times.
    Only three times, but it’s a start.
    4) Compile healthy recipes that will appeal to the denizens of Testosterone Palace.
    A colleague suggested a website that had some great recipes, including some take-along lunches. so I’ve started a list.

    Next week’s goals:
    1) Finish compiling the articles I need to read for the literature review.
    2) Read and take notes on one article.
    3) Walk for half an hour 5 times.

    1. Wow, great lists! 6 buckets in the mind sounds interesting. Or can they be real buckets?

    2. Actually, Matilda, they are paper lists for me, except for Bucket Five, which is virtual, but certainly not just only in my mind!

    3. Six buckets! This is a novel idea. I think I'd actually use real buckets (or little tiny adorable pails lined along a windowsill)! Thanks for the idea.

    4. I'll have to take a look at the video. As I'll mention below, I think I'm pretty committed at this point to electronic lists, but I like customizable ones, so maybe some of this is adaptable to my needs. Figuring out categories and how to sort them (which is sort of what "buckets" are, I think) is definitely part of the process.

    5. Your list strategy sounds very comprehensive!

    6. Wow!

      Not aorry I asked - I am fascinated by how other people organise their lives - but don't you ever get fed up with all the updating, or feel trapped by the lists, or do they make you feel in control? What's your method for always keeping on top of a system this comprehensive??

    7. I do feel a little less embarrassed by the wild assortment of lists I keep! I just don't have them systemically tied together in beautiful ways like the buckets.

    8. I like how the designations for the buckets/lists means there's no decision making on where things go or where to find them.

      Well done on the 3 walks - do you have a regular route or place for walking?


    9. JaneB, I have to keep up with it, or the deluge does drown me. However, I dedicate at least ten minutes to pulling together the daily list, usually last thing before I leave the office in the evening. I do find it freeing, but then I do organization more than the average person, I think.

      Matilda and Let's do this, I think physical buckets could be helpful. I work in a cube farm, so I don't like to leave things out on my desk, but in the home office, I can definitely see it.

      Karenh, I walk around campus if it's nice, and there is a tunnel system where I can walk in bad weather. I have a mile route and a two mile route. Although it can get boring, especially the tunnel, I try to work through some problem while I walk.

  2. Hello,

    1. topic:
    I do love making lists, but my lists are only memos, scribbled down on my notebook. I let my lists so flexible and only short-lived. They come up anytime on my notebook, and disappear so easily. Do they work as lists? I don’t know, but jotting down what to do, what to buy, and what I’ve done or other things help me to organize my mind, helping me to look myself objectively.

    2.last goals:
    1) to write a research report for the grant I got.- I have made a plan, but only got started. Still to go.
    2) to write chapter 1 of the book. - Nothing. Sigh.
    3) to exercise for 5 minutes everyday. - three days. Hey, it is just 5 minutes, but I just forgot.
    4) to have less sweets. - I did rather well. I had snacks, but less sweets.

    My daughter got sick and I had to change my working plan for 3 days. Well, children do get sick. I knew, but when my children get sick, I still I get confused about what to do now, and what I would do later…

    I put a post-it on the desk saying ‘5 minutes exercise!’ so that I won’t just forget doing it. This is a small step, but a first step for the future!

    5:next goals:
    1) again, to write a research report for the grant I got.
    2) again, to write (start to work) on the chapter 1 of the book.
    3) to exercise for 5 minutes everyday, when I have time.
    4) to have less sweets.

    1. I fully support your exercise post-it! It seems like a small step, but it makes a big difference, I think. There's something about throwing out a post-it that I didn't acknowledge that really makes that post-it speak to me ... good luck! Hope your daughter feels better.

    2. Children do, indeed, get sick (and life in general happens). This is one of the arguments, I think, for building some flexibility into all schedules, goals, etc. (especially if one has family members who are young or elderly or otherwise ailing, or one falls into one of those categories oneself). And yes, it's hard to prioritize when such things happen. One book I've been reading lately talks about making plans for when things don't go as planned ("if x happens, I will y"). That can probably be taken too far, but maybe it might work in some circumstances. The key idea, I believe, it not to have to waste the time in takes to make decisions, especially when one is low on energy/otherwise stressed.

      I like the post-it idea, too (but I have to admit that such post-its very quickly become part of the scenery for me).

    3. Hope your daughter gets better quickly!

      I call that sort of list a 'brain dump' - sometimes my head is so full of ALL the things I have to do that I can't work out where I am or how to do them! And writing out what is in my head is like emptying my handbag onto the table - SO much easier to separate the rubbish from the useful stuff, and to find what I need.

    4. Oh, yes, the sick child chaos. I find that I can get through the inital sick period well enough by narrowing down to what absolutely has to be done - the point where you come out and have to rethink all the TLQ stuff from the sick period and the TLQ stuff that was initially allocated to the current time is the bit that gets me...

    5. I hear you on the kids getting sick part. Even if my don't get sick quite so often anymore, it still throws off one's schedule. I think that I've become better at delegating and/or ignoring un-done tasks due to kids' sickness. So, let's say if there's no other way than to stay home with the kid, I don't reschedule appointments w/students, but do them electronically or over the phone. Same w/other appointments I have to miss. For teaching prep, I just do what I can but the next class period will probably be less over-prepped than usual. The big one is of course my writing/research: that just gets skipped (it's always the first thing not to get done for me) and I haven't found a good solution there.

    6. Thank you for all kind comments!!!
      Fortunately, my daughter is much better now, only with occasional coughs. And yes, you are right, I can do only what I can do. I find feeling 'Oh I could've done this and this' only cause stress on my family and myself.

    7. I need to put out post-its that say, "Put in a load of laundry!" It's task I don't mind, but I always forget to do it. Also hoping your daughter recovers quickly!

  3. Lists. Ah, beloved lists. I make lists for everything. Sometimes, if I've forgotten to put a task on my list but I've finished the task, I add it to the list anyway, just so I can see it there and cross it off. For this reason, I probably should break my writing project goals into smaller chunks, so there can be more crossing off.

    Consider last week's goals plus analysis:

    1. finish the article: NOT done
    2. re-read Book 1: NOT done
    3. re-read Book 2: NOT done
    4. celebrate birthday, anniversary, and daughter's birthday: even this is NOT done! Still waiting for daughter's birthday to happen.

    My conclusions? I need to set more and smaller goals so I can feel like I've actually accomplished something (and thus cross things off the list!). Also, I realized that I wasn't as ready to jump from full-time new mommyhood back into writing as I thought I was. I finished most of the article in the last few months, when the baby was really tiny, but somehow making a list of goals made me less willing to write this week. Uh-oh. Also, to be fair, this really is an unusual week for me because of all of the events and the long holiday weekend (e.g., I spent one whole day of this week on the road to the in-laws' house).

    On to planning. Next week should be a wee bit easier than this one, though it won't really start until Wednesday because of the return trip home. Goals and priorities:

    1. Again: finish the article.
    Sub-goals (to facilitate the crossing off of said goals!): Revise all existing prose. Work in survey results. Work in remaining scholarship. Re-format into Chicago Style (UGH).

    2. I'm putting "read Book 1 thus far" and "read Book 2 thus far" back on the list, but with an "if I have time" clause. If the article is really done this week (other than the last-minute archival work I'm doing in two weeks, just before the article deadline), then I can turn back toward the books with more focus.
    *****Interjected reflection/commentary here: I know it seems like my list of goals for the summer is insane (article and two books). But, if I can get them all out by the end of summer, there's a small chance I could go up early for promotion to full this fall. If either of the books were to be quickly accepted, and there's a chance this might happen with the first one because it's a solicited manuscript (based on a proposal I submitted way too long ago), then I'm definitely going up early. That's the only way to get a raise around here, so the push this summer is worth it. BUT: when my job got super crappy around six years ago, I swore never to let it interfere with my family time. So, I'm trying to balance the writing with the family in a way that aligns with my values. There are only so many summers in a kid's life, you know? But, there are only so many chances to write, too. For this reason, I'm trying to make sure to say "I get to write now!" rather than "I have to write now."

    3. Support my daughter as she heads back into the gym (she's a gymnast). She's been injured and she just found out she's leveled up, so she's going to have to recover and ramp up practices at the same time. She's ready, but she'll want me there for at least one of the practices this week, so that's four hours gone, Poof!

    4. Keep up with the house. This is a continuation of last week's goal to clean things up. Thus far, I've switched out my broken dishes for my grandma's china. She was a woman before her time. In fact, back in the 30s, she was a college instructor! They wouldn't let her be a professor, but I often think about how much she would love the life I have. That helps me to appreciate it.

    5. Play with the baby! Enjoy his little sounds and faces and hugs. :)

    Have a great week, everyone! I hope you all meet all your goals!

    1. I like the idea of setting more and smaller goals, so as to build a feeling of accomplishment, and momentum (I'm not a big checker-offer, but momentum/progress definitely builds more -- so maybe somewhat the same thing?). I also like re-framing work as "I get to do this." Oddly, *not* being on the tenure track, and so having no publication requirements, has made it easier to think of research/writing as something I *want* to do. I think that's true for many of us, wherever we fit in the changing academic landscape: precisely because the structures and incentives and rewards that we expected to encounter have become much less certain (thanks not only to the decline of tenure, but also to the recession, and changes in the availability of various sorts of funding), we have to re-think what we really want out of the whole enterprise, and how to maximize the chances of getting it while holding fast to our values, both professional and personal. That's not entirely a bad thing, though it doesn't always feel like a good one when we're in the throes of trying to set a course in an unfamiliar, apparently ever-shifting, landscape.

      And how nice to be able to enjoy your grandma's china, *and* to be able to make the connection with her pioneering efforts in the academy during another uncertain time!

    2. So you did get something done this week! Enjoy your grandma's china...

      I definitely believe in small steps and small goals for the day or week - I feel so much better about myself if I meet and exceed my goal list than if I don't get things done, and setting doable goals which are reasonably 'life-proof' is definitely part of that.

      The more 'they' tell me I MUST apply for grants/write papers/'DO IMPACTFUL RESEARCH' the less I want to, it's the same when people tell me I must lose weight - I certainly should and I do want to, but as soon as other people/voices start trying to order me around I get all stubborn and rebellious!

      My best friend from school who has followed a pretty different life path (home-educating mom) said once that she coped with "don't want to" moods in herself as she did in her toddlers - tell a toddler "put on your shoes" and you get screams and NO. Offer a toddler the choice of red shoes or blue shoes, and you are MUCH more likely to get a shod toddler without tears... so she said it's about framing necessities so that you retain some power for yourself. Interesting thought...

    3. Yes, I do that, too: inserting things in my to-do lists AFTER I've done them, just so they can be crossed off (I'm rationalizing this for myself that the crossed-off list is really my DONE list, so I need a full record of all things done, not just what I'd remembered to plan to do, if that makes sense.)

    4. I, too, add things to the list that I've already done, just so I can cross them off! And I feel you on writing, now that I finally have time to read and write--I finally "get" to--I'm freaking out just a little bit because I've set some intense goals for myself. It's been a lot of "have to do it all the time" in my mind!

    5. And, yes, you don't want the job to trump family, but this is the nourishing part of the job--the part for you, the part you want to do. Right?

  4. Lists: I, too, find them invaluable, but also potentially overwhelming (I know I'm really overwhelmed when I stop looking at my lists, and just keep the most urgent tasks in my head. I'm also anxious when that happens, because I suspect it means I'm forgetting something -- and that is increasingly correct as I get older and my memory, which was generally pretty good in the area of remembering obligations, gets noticeably worse).

    My solution for the last 20 years or so (since I moved back to my current area and began work, at first as an adjunct juggling assignments at up to 3 schools), has been an electronic "to-do" list that allows me to enter tasks at any time, but then sort/filter in ways that allows me to look at only what is due during a certain time period, or in a certain category, at a particular time. What I like about the electronic list is precisely the ability to consider either the big picture or a small part of it, without having to re-write/type the list.

    For many years, I kept the list on a Palm PDA (one of two, actually), and the software I'm still using is a leftover from that -- Bonsai, an outliner program that also allows for the setting of due dates (and beginning dates, though I don't really use that) and priorities and categories and such. At the moment, I'm running it on my (Windows) desktop and also on a flash drive, which allows portability; sometime in the near future, as I make the switch to an android smartphone as a replacement for the Palm (which I haven't carried in several years, which means I don't really carry a calendar anymore, though I keep one on my desktop; this is becoming a problem), I'll need to decide whether to keep Bonsai on the desktop/flash and find an app to sync with (a possibility, the research I've done so far suggests), or switch to something else entirely (I know that I definitely want another outliner-type program, and that I want there to be a desktop version; beyond that, I haven't really decided).

    Whether I stick with Bonsai or pick something else, I know I want to work out a better solution for several things, including keeping daily lists from looking too overwhelming (at which point I sometimes just give up), and finding a better way to plan future projects (both definite ones and what the Getting Things Done folks call "someday/maybe" projects. I like the Getting Things Done philosophy in general, but find one of its key ideas -- contexts -- less than useful, since the context for so many things I need to do is sitting in front of a computer, at work, at home, or really anywhere else there's an internet connection). I think I also need an "inbox" or similar for the to-do list: somewhere to quickly jot down to-dos for later sorting into one of the larger categories on the list (some of the fancier to-do organizers have this feature, but I'm not sure I like their other elements).

    So this is one of the things I need to think about over the summer (though I'll probably buy the smartphone soon, I'm sticking with Bonsai for the moment, and will probably buy a similar app that syncs, or just stick with the flash drive, until I have time to think this through. The more urgent thing is to transfer the calendar to google and get it working on all devices.)

    So I'll be interested to hear what sorts of lists others find useful, and especially how/if they manage them electronically.

    1. Last week's goals:

      1. rest, regroup, and plan, in whatever proportions feel right
      2. make some progress on reducing household chaos
      3. start walking again
      4. do some communicating with family and/or friends (it looks like this will be family, since I just learned of a dfficult/sad situation that is affecting several family members)

      1. Some of all of the above; not quite as much as I would have liked of any, but more or less what I expected.
      2. Some, but definitely less than I would have liked (but I took one big step that I've planned for a while: bought a tablet, on which I plan to read the newspaper, rather than taking the paper newspaper that tends to pile up and overwhelm my very small apartment when things get busy. Mind you, so far I've only gotten as far as charging the tablet, not actually using it, but having it and its accessories in hand counts as progress.)
      3. not at all (some weather issues, but mostly can't-decide-what-to-do-first issues)
      4. A bit of communicating, substantially more worrying, since the situation is delicate as well as sad/disturbing, and it's not at all clear, at this point, whether I can do anything to help (or even whether blundering attempt at help might make things work). This situation is probably going to be the wild card in the summer planning: if there is something I can do, I absolutely will, even if it's at the expense of working on other goals. But if there isn't much I can do, then I need to not let it preoccupy me, or keep me from concentrating on other goals (including strengthening relationships with family & friends not involved in the situation). The good news is that this is almost certainly not a life-threatening situation, though it is one that has the potential to have lasting repercussions for all involved (including me, but in a more peripheral way). And it's also new territory (I/we actually have more experience with life-threatening situations).

    2. I like the idea of only looking at the most relevant part of the lists.

      When I get overwhelmed, I've tried something Notorious Girl PhD recommended - I pick three things which, if done, would make me feel like I accomplished something, and only think about doing them. Sometimes I actually make a new list for them, and sometimes it includes things that have to happen like "teach x class" or really minor things like put on a load of laundry (but then, sometimes if I'm really stressed knowing I have clean underwear for the next week actually makes me feel a lot better), but choosing the three things puts me in touch with my main list (and gives me a chance to add more things to it if necessary, so that they get out of my head) without overwhelming me...

      Hope the family things at least gain some clarification - and don't end up causing too much summer derailment.

    3. I hope you start enjoying your tablet! It's great to find ways they can help with productivity (rather that with time wasting). I have a grading app on mine that I really like.

      And, yes, I hope the family situation (and your role in it) will become clearer for you, and less full of worry.

  5. Planning:

    The upcoming week is an unusual one, and leaning toward TRQish, since I need to prepare for a summer class that starts a week from Monday, and will spend most of the week at a workshop (which supports a TLQ goal left over from the spring -- continuing to increase my skills in/knowledge of the Digital Humanities -- but doesn't really address the summer's TLQ goals). So I feel good about the way I'll be spending the week, but summer TLQ goals will have to be very modest. So,

    Goals for next week:

    1) Take at least one early-morning walk, plus one other exercise activity that could form part of daily options for the summer (walk at another time, a swim).

    2) Make progress on household chaos-reduction to the extent it can be combined with packing for trip/organizing for return & start of summer session (just packing for the trip & being ready for the start of the summer session would be enough).

    3) some family/friend connection/communication (probably mostly beginning the process of planning get-togethers for after I get back; there are also 2 sets of birthday gifts to buy/send)

    4) more planning if there's time/energy (though, once again, being in a position to make the most of the workshop trip, and being ready for the summer term, would really be enough)

  6. topic: I love setting up new list systems, but then they fall apart as soon as things get busy, or start to feel confining (feeling confined/rebelling against confinement seems to be an emotional theme with work stuff at the moment - there is a wider pattern of "deprofessionalisation", lack of trust of academics and 'managerial bean-counting' in UK HE - most HE? - at the moment which definitely makes it worse!). One of the bonuses of keeping a 'done' list is that it helps me remember how much of my days, especially in the office, are taken up dealing with things I didn't, and couldn't, plan for - so I try to have a minimum 'must do this week' and then 'would like to do this week unless other things come up' kind of division. I still haven't found my One True List Making System yet though!

    goals from last week:
    1) write for 5 hours despite setting this goal, I didn't record time properly on my 'done' list. I certainly did SOME writing...
    2) keep a DONE list as well as a TO DO list yes!
    3) write a talk and give it at a workshop (also travel to and take part in the workshop...). yes! and it went well! But it also flattened me for several days, just getting back to what passes for normal these days now...
    4) Go to bed before midnight every night! no - I did well until the first day back from the workshop, when I had a really long afternoon nap, unintentionally, then felt guilty about all the stuff so stayed up, then slept late, then the next night I READ late and slept late, and here I am at 00:20... why is it so HARD to do something good for yourself??

    analysis: see above. Whether I let myself use the workshop as an excuse to slip back into bad mental and environmental habits or despite going well it had that much of an effect (it's very hard to tell where "stress" is a cause or just an excuse, I find, and second-guessing yourself is PART of the disease with both depression and anxiety disorders, and I over-think things anyway, and I AM naturally indolent, or at least slow/prefer days with much reading and solitude and little stimulus, so...), it marked the break between a good if busy first part of the week and a very idle (but new books reading, so not wasted!) second part. Now I have to pick myself up and get back to Doing Stuff.

    planning: This should be a quiet week. Monday is a bank holiday here in the UK but I will be spending it in the traditional manner of an academic, with my grading. Tuesday I will be in the office and trying to get as much of the fall-out of marking DONE as possible, including individual meetings with some project students to feed back on their designs. My big administrivia job which I didn't get to drop for my study leave (sulk) kicks back in as well. W-Fr I will NOT BE IN THE OFFICE, but will probably still be administriviaring (or avoiding it by reading/napping/house stuff ing).

    goals for next week: I have a lot of TRQ (s*dding marking and admin) so will focus on keeping some good habits in place this week:
    1) write a one-page research idea statement
    2) go through my notes from the workshop and send some follow-up emails
    3) go to bed before midnight
    4) get some exercise at least three days
    5) spend 10 minutes a day on something decluttering or not-desperately-urgent housework related

    1. I hadn't really thought about the connection between our own list-making (which I tend to love, but only at the beginning--can never keep up any one system) and the managerial/bean counting trends in (European) Higher Education, but you might be on to something there!

    2. Wait, why do you have grading? Aren't you on study leave? Did I miss something? I know we discussed the parameters of your leave before. Are these course students or post-graduate advisees? Well, either way, I hope it goes quickly!

  7. I love lists!! The paper kind. I have tried electronic ones and it just doesn't work for my brain. The most effective way for me is to keep a weekly list with a mix of big things and little things, and colour code them for urgency/importance. That helps to prevent displacement work on non-urgent or non-important stuff because the important ones are staring at me. I also keep the list visible in a bright yellow folder right next to my keyboard so that I don't lose track of too much. I am finding that I simply cannot remember everything I'm supposed to, so the lists are crucial. They also function somewhat as a "done" list because sometimes I put things on just so I can cross them off. I stick to one sheet of paper at a time to not get too messy. It definitely takes a lot of the stress off, and helps to fill little bits of time because it is easy to find an immediate small task. It also helps with triage of tasks because the colour coding forces me to really think about what the top priorities should be. I say "should" because sometimes that doesn't quite work.

    Last week's goals: (During lab work week away)
    1) Collect all files and check through all data for almost finished new project (N1) DONE except for brand new still-inside-fancy-machine bits
    2) Make preliminary outline for N1 paper DONE
    3) Write data section for N1 paper HALF DONE (some still in machine)
    4) Read a paper a day DONE

    One overall summer goal is to read a lot. My reading plan worked really well this week, lab work and machine watching is very conducive to good reading. I'm hoping to keep it up this week when things get busy back in the office.

    Next week:
    1) Awkward talk with ex-supervisor - the "either read and comment on two papers you've had for 6 months right away, or give me permission to submit without you" talk. Not looking forward to that!
    2) Do all accounting from the last term, and sort out summer student contracts
    3) Read a new paper every day
    4) Finish revisions for lingering old paper (L2)
    5) Sort out all field gear
    6) Try not to freak out about leaving for field work in two weeks, way sooner than I thought!

    1. Hope the awkward talk goes as well as possible with a good outcome for those papers! and congrats on a very productive sounding week

    2. Wow, I am sooo impressed that you read a new paper every day!! Keep it up!

    3. That is a productive week! I'm glad your reading plans are going well! I need to think about a similar system...

  8. allan wilson
    lists- i almost always have a list of things to do each day, as it declutters my brain. then, when i get to work i just do them and don't agonise about what to do. I am very amused by Let's Do This adding stuff o to the list to then cross off- I also do this :). Helps me staypositive and really see what I have been doing, instead of feeling like I have lost a lot of time. . .
    Last week's goalsAlso, making electronic lists on my phone is one of my favourite airport activities when I feel like I can't concentrate on real work, so focus on reflecting and organising instead.
    Last week's goals:
    1. plan and decide which paper to start on -kindof but not really. . .I made huge progress towards submitting a paper last week, and we are so nearly there, but because the remaining tasks are now dependent on my collaborator's doing them, I don't want this to be MY goal- I'll just get frustrated if i don't then get to submit! So, I have picked two papers- one an old one FS, again waiting for help from a collaborator, but I can work on getting that sorted over the next 15 weeks; and second, CR, where I have quite a bit I can do. Neither of these realistically will get worked on this coming week though.
    2. list what tasks I need to do -so far in my head!
    3. write an important email about museums -no
    4. exercise four times(?) - twice, so a start.
    This week's goals:
    1. Exercise four times
    2. encourage myself toward goal one
    3. Make a list of tasks for CR
    I will probably be late checking in next week as I am out of town next Monday. Good luck to everyone though-

    1. ah, the joys of collaborating. I like being in a STEM discipline, but I do rather envy the humanities bloggers who only have to deal with their own paper-delaying tactics, not those of other people...

  9. topic: Showing up late here (thanks, migraine), I am struck by how many of us seem to have some real joyful pleasure associated with lists. I’m not entirely sure what to make of that, but find it quite interesting. At the moment, I have three different lists, and they do tie together even though each is in a different format. The first is a longterm to do list that is in a Microsoft Word file. The second is a spreadsheet, and both are divided by area: teaching, service, research, domestic, personal. Earlier this year, I started keeping a bullet journal on paper, which is focused on the daily. I’m still working on trying to get everything to work together.

    last week (and thank you JaneB for summarizing my disorder):
    1) grades!: done, although there is a little sweeping up to do.
    2) clean up Proposal Em and send to Willing & Kind Colleague: still on the agenda for this week
    3) think about how manage open time without overeating/overreading mind-candy: this will be an ongoing task that requires some more deliberate planning

    this week:
    1) finish Proposal Em and send to Colleague
    2) set task list for Fem Proposal
    3) sweep up all teaching-related tasks from spring semester
    4) move bookcase in home office and bring in books from the garage

    1. It is interesting, isn't it? I'm impressed that you've kept trying with the bullet journal - systems that don't work within a week or two tend to just fade out with me, though I like the idea of the bullet journal approach...

    2. I watched a bullet journal video. I think it would work great for me, but I'm not sure I can sustain it. But as I get into the thick of the thesis, I might try it.

      I am also feeling very compelled to read mind candy. I allow myself to read it before bed, but I had to will myself not to bring my mind-candy book with me today when I packed my work bag.

  10. Mainly I write three kinds of lists. I use Wunderlist as my electronic 'project management' type list where I can break things into lots of small steps with deadlines. Lots of lists, one for each project, but less satisfaction in crossing small items off on a regular basis. I like making lists by hand in my diary, mainly for the week ahead. I try to update this on Fridays or Mondays and it's pretty satisfying. And finally the third kind of list is the 'I'm overwhelmed but have to get it all out of my head' list, usually for a specific thing, an event that's coming up. Then it gets written on a bit of scrap paper and carried around. Generally lists help me not forget to do something but then there are times when I'm just too busy to list! The other thing I try to conscientiously do is to say 'I will no longer do that' when something's being shifted from list to list for a few weeks. And try to rethink deadlines for myself.

    Last week: 1. tidy office, file all the left over bits of teaching stuff
    2. write some lists of what needs to be done/improved/changed for each module I teach in.
    3. start working on the planning habits
    4. make headway in the marking

    I'll give myself 55% for achievement this week. My office is significantly tidier but is more piles of stuff rather than filed stuff. I've been trying to write my lists as I think of things. Planning habits are in progress, I've definitely been better at turning my email off and restricting when I work with it so getting there. And the marking is reducing.

    This coming week is a 3 day week. Today is a holiday in the UK, and I'm taking a long weekend off next weekend so probably wont check in for 2 weeks.
    1. Finish as much marking as possible, what is not done by home time Thursday will be done on Wednesday.
    2. continue the list making and planning habits,
    3. start to write a small amount each day.

    1. That's more than half! Enjoy your three day week, hope all the marking turns out to be cooperative

    2. I'm right where you are--finished grading on Wednesday, getting organized, starting to write daily (or mostly daily). But I feel like I need to write a lot daily ...

  11. 1. Topic = lists.

    I too adore lists. I also adore purchasing notebooks and it was about two years ago coming back from a trip to a place with wonderful stationary stores that I found a way to fully indulge both loves. So now I have three active list notebooks with slightly different functions. The first is my master list of things to do (long skinny notebook with a pretty floral print on the cover) where I keep a large running list of things broken into teaching, research, admin, personal, writing, and personal. Then on the opposite page on a (sort of) daily basis I make a little schedule that I roughly follow. I also have another notebook that is more square with many many pages and that is my administrative notebook where I keep lists of things to do in my role as chair and I bring that sucker to all of the meetings I have to do to, so all of those notes are in one place. I track the things that my admin is supposed to do in there too. Notebook 3 is the best notebook—not so much a list as a time tracker. I find that I often put off “starting” writing, so I developed a reward system with this notebook. When I officially “start” an hour of writing (that means turning on the Freedom app) I mark down the time of day and give myself a sticker. I earn stickers through exercise, through doing other things that are healthy, basically though doing the things that I set out to do on a daily basis. I have been giving myself a reward for earning ten stickers (10 stickers = 1 larger sticker, 10 larger stickers = prize), but I never seem to get around to awarding the prizes, so right now the stickers are their own reward. It is quite fun (for me) to have a record of the hour to hour tasks and also makes me see when I have been productive to my standards and when I haven’t. The notebook seems rather juvenile, but it works.

    There is a lot of overlap between the list notebooks but I LOVE THEM ALL!!!!

    2. Progress
    1) make a clear outline to get the work done: DID NOT DO
    2) write for 2 hours per day: NONE ON BOOK
    3) work 2 hours per day on each of two long overdue reports: wrote these in the following chunks : 4 hours, 3 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours, 2 hours

    3. Analysis. The reports rose up like a salmon and gobbled up all of my time. They also took far longer than I thought they would and I am still working on them. This is a standard problem for me (underestimation of time for tasks). That being said, I am pretty happy with the amount of time I spent actually writing this week. Must get the reports finished so I can work on the book though.

    4. planning (optional): Well, I have to go do some fieldwork this week, so that will take up most of the time. But tomorrow I will finish one of the reports and turn it in, so that will feel good.

    5. Goals:
    1. Make outline for June
    2. Do fieldwork
    3. Write some on Tuesday and Sunday (at least two hours).
    4. finish some admin
    5. try to be patient with grad students

    1. Hello, iwantzcatbocl, I love notebooks, too. I usually keep two, one is a catch-all journal, in which I write anything, and another is my research journal. Well, though, all my notebook look so boring, with no patterns, no stickers. I am thinking of buying something looks more smart!

    2. I splurged on three really nice notebooks for lists, but then I don't remember to have them with me :-(

      I love notebooks. And stickers. My real-life writing group has stickers every week if you complete your task, it started out as a joke but has become very popular and a great way to help us plan more realistically, which is also useful.

      I like the image of the reports as salmon... may they soon be lightly poached, laid on a platter, and decorated with cucumber pieces! :-)

    3. JaneB, nice extension of the salmon metaphor!

      And I love notebooks, too. Eventually, your "prizes" can be the new notebooks you need!

  12. Sorry to be late -- yesterday was a holiday, and I spent it not working!

    Hmmm. Lists. I use them when I have lots of little things to do (phone calls, multiple emails, small errands); I don't find them less useful for most work related things: I don't need a list to tell me I have a book review to write, or that I have papers to grade. Like JaneB, I find lists confining, and I'm always inclined to allow myself to do what feels right.

    Report on last week's goals (there's no name, but I recognize my goals)
    1. Finish revision of last chapter, start work on introduction by setting reading list, sketching where new sections need to come into the intro.
    Yes, but having outlined the introduction, I froze at moving existing pieces into the new file, and have been engaging in productive procrastination (see below for analysis)
    2. Meet with colleagues to discuss ToC for collection of essays, write press and start writing potential contributors. Met with colleagues, have not sent emails.
    3. Send a few necessary emails related to decluttering. NO
    4. Walk four days - yes, if you include heavy yard work.
    5. Find out about potential vacation destinations - No; one of my nieces announced she's having a 60th b'day party right when I was going to go on vacation. I need to find out if the nephew I planned to visit is coming to that party....

    Analysis: productive procrastination is the theme. I had hoped to go to not very distant city to visit a friend next weekend, but she said this weekend was better. Part of the goal was to go to IKEA to buy bookcases. So yesterday (a holiday here in the US) I drove up, and went to IKEA, and bought bookcases, and seem to be in the middle of a minor reorganization of office space and bookshelves, and even my bedroom. I now have about 7 more feet of bookshelf space in my office! But this involved a whole afternoon looking at the IKEA site, measuring space, thinking about various other house fixes, etc. And of course I put the first two (of four) bookcases together, and now I have to reshelve all the books. I'm assuming that I'm thinking about my introduction somewhere in my subconscious.

    Goals for next week:
    1. Actually move text into my new outline, and begin to write the connecting pieces
    2. Make reading/ILL list
    3. Email potential volume contributors
    4. Email presses re. my book and essays
    5. Vacation planning (JaneB, I will email you!)

    Now, back to re-shelving books!

    1. JaneB, do you have an email where I can contact you?

    2. mollimog at gmail dot com

    3. Yay for Ikea and cheap, reasonably sturdy bookcases! I'm sure your subconscious is making its own lists... ;-p

  13. I thought I commented here, but I probably forgot to hit "Publish." Story of my life these days.

    I have to have lists of some sort, but I've been in a muddle trying to get a good list system going. My longest standing list system has been to have a Google Doc for a season, labeled with my big priorities at the top (health, creativity, career, household, community). Then I keep my goals for the week, plus a list of each priority with a few items under each one. I keep the text in blue until I complete a task, and then I change it to black. I have a lot more long-term and/or regularly occurring goals over the summer, so I'm finding I need to coordinate systems somehow. I'm so visual that I'm going to try putting up a big summer calendar on my wall so I can see what's ahead.

    Report in: 1) write 5 days--at least 3, but I made decent progress
    2) gather info for letters of rec--sort of started
    3) email Kind Advisor re: letters and what to say to my other recommenders--sent a "heads up" email, but didn't ask anything specific
    4) print out apps for 2 jobs--done!

    I ended up applying to teach an online class for a SLAC in another state, so that has taken up a fair amount of time. I have a "chat" which sounds like it might be an interview on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

    With the interview, end-of-the-year school activities, birthday party planning, and trip planning, I'm pretty swamped this week, but I still want to do some good things.

    this week:
    1) write 3 days
    2) rough drafts of 2 job apps
    3) gather info for letters of rec; email Kind Advisor
    4) exercise 3x

    1. Good luck on your interview! I hope it goes well!!

    2. Yes, good luck with the "chat"! And ever since grad school, I have thought of you as my "systems" and "planning" mentor.

    3. The interview went well, I think! My first one in 15 years. Of course, I couldn't connect to their online classroom at first, so they got to see me be flustered with technology. :)

  14. Sorry to be late, people. No excuse for that, really, except being generally busy and not making my research/writing (my TLG) enough of a priority.

    1. Topic, Lists! Yes, I like lists, too, and have enjoyed reading about yours. I've tried various systems, and switched to electronic, but not on-line, format some two years ago (a word document). For the past few months, I have been (trying) to do Sunday Meetings (as described by Kerry Rocqemore) with myself, where I make a weekly plan based on my ongoing to-do list and standing appointments, and put them on my (outlook) calendar as actual timeslots. It's going so-so, because like JaneB, and probably others, I also find that there are always many tasks at the office that I need to attend to, even if I didn't plan them for the week.

    2.Progress against last week's goals:
    a. survive student presentations--> Yes! Presentations done, no more class time w/students till Sept 1st
    b. catch up on grading --> Progress, but not done (far from it)
    c. time-sensitive admin task--> no progress (there's still time, but pressing now)
    d. figure out fieldwork plans --> no progress

    3. Analysis: Even if I set what I thought were modest goals (and I didn't even list a writing goal, knowing that I wouldn't have time), I still didn't meet most of them, so I'm disappointed. Our semester isn't done till June 1st, though, and I need to remind myself of that, and of the fact that around here, it's really crunch time (I keep a log of "hours worked" for teaching vs research, and I can see from last year that both May and June were some of the heavier months for teaching, mostly for the MA thesis projects supervision, which is a lot of work.) My conclusion from this is that I need to continue setting small goals for non-teaching (TLQ) stuff, and make sure to note all the teaching-related tasks I still need to do, so I'm not unrealistic in planning time for TLC stuff.

    4. Planning: following from the above, let me resolve to make a realistic plan for TLC stuff, broken down in smaller goals, and taking into account the amount of teaching-related stuff of the still ongoing semester.

    5. Goals for next (by now: this) week
    a. read and comment on 2 MA thesis projects, and meet w/students
    b. finish grading for WS class
    c. read for HA paper: 3 poms/day on 3 days/week
    d. finish not one, but two, time-sensitive admin tasks
    e. take a lunch walk on 3 days/week

    Good luck with your goals, you all!

    1. May and June are so crazy with the end of term that I usually don't get anything done. I brace myself every year, and then when the first couple week's of May don't seem so bad, I relax. Which is SUCH a bad idea, because those last weeks of May-first weeks of June are so overloaded. I've taken to scheduling a vacation right after school's out so I can recover! All that to say, you're right to give yourself some grace with TRQ. Maintaining some good habits seems like enough.

  15. I'm late, too! Sorry! It was a crazy week and a holiday weekend, so ...

    Topic: My lists are very primitive. I use them primarily as a memory tool and to refocus when I'm feeling scattered. Typically, I start a new spiral notebook each semester, and I just put everything in it--meeting notes, lecture notes, and to do lists. List get quickly retired as I recalibrate every few days. But they help prevent oversights.

    For the PhD, I keep a pretty notebook with mid-sized, smooth pages, and I put my notes, thoughts, articles references, readings lists, and to-do lists in that notebook. But I think I'm going to need something a bit more sophisticated as I get into the thick of the thesis. I have not liked electronic lists though. I find paper lists easier and more satisfying. The only electronic list I have embraced is a grocery list on my phone. I will be investigating systems as I move forward.

    Last week's goals:
    1) exercise twice: YES. Four times. Just walking, but still.
    2) make reading list and plans for next two weeks. NOPE.

    Finals week stuff and preparation for the commencement speech really took up all of my time and mental energy. But I just submitted grades (still a little "sweeping up to do" as with humming42), and the speech was, I think, well received. Onward!

    This week's goals:
    1) exercise 2-3 times
    2) makes plans, establish strategies for productivity
    3) outline thesis intro
    6) plan and shop for daughter's b-day party

    1. And here are totally different types of lists--lists for when one is "stuck"--from young adult author Y.S. Lee. I love these, and they are right up our alley.


    3. Congrats on your speech! and on all the exercise!

      I hope the bd party is fun! We've got one this weekend and one end of June. It's making me crazy!