the grid

the grid

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Week 4 - One bad habit...

Hello everyone!
I loved reading all the great tips on keeping control of schedules and emails and other things.
As I’ve been dealing with journal revisions for the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about work patterns and habits a lot, and it struck me last week during my scheduled teaching prep time that I was doing something really counterproductive. Allow me to explain...
When I was writing and revising my PhD, particularly the parts that dealt with data collection, I always had an overwhelming urge to find a way to time-travel, for the express purpose of going up to my former self and hitting her over the head with a two by four, and telling her how much work she was causing for her future self by doing (or in most cases, not doing) X, Y or Z... I was wondering whether my future self would have that same urge about me now... And had to admit, probably she would! There are a couple of things I do habitually, and I’m starting to realize how much trouble I could save my future self if I just do something about it...
The example that I saw very clearly during last week’s teaching prep was this: I almost finish things... As in, I do all the hard work, in this case it was collecting problems and supporting literature for a new lab and organizing it, but I didn’t make a final decision on which problem to use, because I wanted to think about it. And of course, by the time I got back to thinking about it, I forgot most of my original opinions, had to read things again, and finalize the decision before I could print. So in an attempt to decide on the “best” version, I left it 95% done, but then had to go back and rethink and redo probably about 50% of the original work a week later. I checked in my other class folder, and had done exactly the same thing for that one! Then I checked my draft folder in emails – three unfinished drafts that should have been a no-brainer to get done... Cue major epiphany...

So my question this week is:
What is your ONE worst habit for working? Pick the one little thing that you do that causes problem and see if there is a conscious way you can fix it.
Garden variety “procrastination” is not the answer, because that encompasses a multitude of specific little actions and is too big a “thing” to tackle in one fell swoop!

My example: leaving easy things 95% done – remedy? Just DON’T! One goal for me this week will be to finish all the little things I start.

On to the goals from last week now!

Report in with the usual format for goals for last week, new goals, and discussion.

allan wilson
1) decide what to do about overseas conference that I'd love, but I am doing a Jane B as in, I hate travelling, and it is so much effort, and I like being home with my pets and routine. If I go, there will be lots of benefits, re networking and ideas, but on the other hand, I think getting mss written is so much more productive . . . So conflicted!
2) work on submitting the two papers, and more specifically not being avoidant
3) finish two grant applications, both short
4) do two fun things with my child while on leave for most of the week

Contingent Cassandra
1. Redouble efforts to establish a bedtime routine/routine bedtime.
2. Exercise at least every other day (whatever works with the weather)
3. Keep working on boxes (exactly which aspect gets attention is also weather-, or, more precisely, plow- dependent).
4. Complete one more cooking project (parsley pesto) and replenish pantry.

1) Finish revisions
2) Finish new data processing
3) Write outline of talk for local conference
4) Run

Eizabeth Ann Mitchell
Write at least 500 words and clean up a page of footnotes on the critical edition. I am still keeping this one on deck, despite my failures so far.
Finish outlining the short story.
Do better with commenting and responding on this post. Although I have read everyone’s comments last week, I haven’t responded. My apologies!

Earnest English
1. Research: Send out needed email. Keep going with sabbatical app. Check funds for online course.
2. Health: Go to vision appointment on Monday and reassess supplements, if needed. Add in new supplements as suggested by new book. Keep reading new book. Inch forward with relaxation or anxiety CBT books. Try to go to bed earlier the night before teaching days.
3. Read. Enjoy. Just because. I think reading is necessary to my overall health!
4. Family: Address teaching day dinner issue. Move forward with Spirited Son issues. Keep making time for family, but also schedule the work time, then be firm about my need to get work done at home. Mom's door can't always be open and keeping calm while being firm is important.
5. Herbalism: I don't know that this is vital right now. Consider ordering the stuff for the kava chai.
6. Keep up with work stuff: Have grading coming in on Tuesday, so I need to schedule that and get it done in decent order.

Good Enough Woman
1) 100 pages of primary text
2) Edit conference paper down to 10-11 pages
3) Print Spy chapter and review with an eye to revision and article development
4) Write 500 words of intro
5) read one article or chapter
6) help son with presentation
7) Have date with daughter
8) exercise 3x with at least one swim!

heu mihi
1) Draft connecting paragraphs between points L & Q--500 words on ch. 3.
2) Get a handle on Difficult Language Article 1 (towards R&R).
3) Outline talk to be given in March.
4) Read for Seminar Week 3; prep Week 2.
5) Give myself modest rewards for working on own projects (and stop piddling the day away when I could be working).
6) Submit conference paper abstract.
7) (If I'm really cranking this week:) Read and take notes on AvonS article for ch. 3.

1 read for short bio piece
2 start drafting extended abstract
3 ok, finish book review
4 send another contact email

1) go to gym. Once would do. Just GO!!
2) finish going through and commenting in detail on first paper for collaborators (it is SO not interesting...)
3) spend a little time with Picky Paper, remembering why I want to write it.
4) bed before midnight, deliberate food choices.

1. Finish pulling apart paper. 15 minutes freewriting at beginning of each work day, and 250 words added (minimum) each day.
2. Prepare archive transcripts plus images and banner text to send to printers.
3. Decide on gym. 3 x swim/walk/yoga.

Write and deliver conference presentation 3
Finish off Kermit for delivery at week's end
Do as much marking as I can
Keep my head down and avoid people

1. Finish track record for the project I do have faith in.
2. 2.5 full writing days on the paper, with the aim of a complete rough draft.
3. Do my research/writing plan for the year. I must do this or I've no chance of pursuing my own research interests.
4. Nice things: dinner on beach with friends and family; yoga or jogging every day this week.

1. Read proofs for article
2. Respond to readers report
3. Exercise 4 times
4. Do at least one session of weeding in the garden
5. Plan remaining work on book ms. revisions
6. Get back on sleep schedule

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Week 3--How to keep teaching, or whatever urgent time-sucking job, in its place

All of us have that expands-to-fill-all-available space part of our jobs.  For most, it is teaching, a ravenous beast that happily chomps through whatever gobbets of time we throw at it.  For some, it is administrativa, the never-ending loops of red tape that universities merrily wrap around those who find themselves in that position, voluntarily or through luck of the draw.

Many of us mentioned keeping TRQ in its place, either in our goals, or in the discussion last week. Its expandable nature is a real problem, especially when TLQ goals tend to be finite, quiet creatures waiting for our attention.  I visualize them often as very different siblings--the child who demands attention, even negative attention, contrasted with the child who is happiest off on his or her own, quietly playing or reading.  

For our topic, please share any tips and strategies for keeping teaching’s (or administrativa’s) toes within its own quadrant.

Format for checking in is to address the discussion topic if you like, report on your progress toward your weekly goals, and list goals for next week.  

allan wilson
This week's goals:
1) exercise at least three times. Why? Because I don't want to sacrifice my quality of life for work, and I want to be an active person, and it makes me happy to exercise
2) write for at least two hours on the novel. Because I want to create an alternative career so when the science stuff gets on top of me, I don't feel trapped. Also, because I have always wanted to write a novel, and I like writing a lot, and I have lots of stories in my head.And, because I fantasise about not struggling for money, and this, I imagine, is one way I can make a change to that.
3) do a bit more of the submission process stuff. So I don't feel inadequate about being a 'non-achiever' at work, and I will feel a sense of achievement and completion when I get these off my desk, and I can mentally move on, so my brain will be less cluttered.

Contingent Cassandra
1. Begin exercising regularly, even a bit, doing whatever makes sense given the weather, at least every other day. 

Options include walking outdoors, lifting weights, and/or climbing stairs (I live in a mid-rise apartment building, so there's an easy source of aerobic exercise a few steps out my front door even if the weather is nasty). I might also do one last session of mulch-moving, weather permitting; that, too, would count. 

2. Continue work on boxes, especially moving what stuff I can out of the apartment to other places (apartment-basement or remote storage, donation/mailing dropoffs, the garden plot, etc.)

3. Continue cooking -- at least one more pot of soup -- and get into routine/logistics of taking food to school with me. Also make use of (i.e. eat) those salad greens. 

4. Try to begin school year with regular sleep schedule.
The key issue here is coming up with an afternoon/evening/bedtime routine that has me off the computer and into bed in a timely fashion. While this semester will almost certainly resist regular routines, I'd like to at least keep experimenting with ways to handle my time better. I'm pretty good at getting up in the morning and being productive (if I'm not dealing with a sleep deficit from less-than-ideal behavior in the day or two before), but things definitely go downhill from noon or 1 p.m. on, as I try to figure out which of the many tasks I needed/hoped to accomplish should get precedence. This is probably not the semester to really tackle this issue, but I can at least observe and treat disturbances of routine as a chance to try out new options (e.g. I need to figure out which time of day works best to call my Dad,and the answer might well be mid-late morning, when I'm usually reluctant to interrupt what feels like a continuing flow of work, but I read an article recently -- maybe linked here? -- that suggested that mid/late-morning breaks actually lead to greater productivity later in the day. So maybe that's worth a try, whether or not that break might also include a phone call and perhaps a walk or some physical work as I process the conversation?) 

Goals for this week:
1)Finish revisions 
2)Read 5 new papers very seriously for new area
3)Run, inside and out, to each

Earnest English
This week’s Goals:
1. Research: do galleys and send them off by the end of the week. Morning writing at least 3x/week. Read some inspiring stuff.

2. Health: engage in a little active relaxation. (Baths, for example.) Keep stretching as often as possible. Eat well. (I know I should aspire to working out, but but but)

3. Read. Read and enjoy. Read a little bit often.

4. Family: make dinner occasionally. Spend time with Spirited Son. We need to figure out what to do about his piano lessons and getting him some more involvement. One idea is in the works with that but we need more.

5. Herbalism: this year I really want to learn more about herbs and making tinctures and stuff. I have some instructional stuff on this. Perhaps order to kava chai drink (which is supposed to be amazing for dealing with anxiety and overwhelm).

6. Keep up with work and try to deal with needed work time proactively.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Next week’s goals:
Next week’s goals: Write at least 500 words and clean up a page of footnotes on the critical edition.

Finish plotting and outlining the short story.

Float above the work day on my return at the end of the week. Borrowing the “move like water,” I hope to move like mist above the fray.

Good Enough Woman
This week:
1) Write 2,000 words for introduction
2) Whittle down conference paper to 12 pages (that will at least send me in the right direction)
3) Read 75 pages of primary source material
4) Read one critical article or chapter
5) Help son with presentation
6) Feel no guilt about giving my kids mediocre food this week (e.g., fried chicken from the grocery store).
7) Exercise 3x

heu mihi
This week's goals:
1) Write 1500 words
2) Read one article/chapter related to my research
3) Read for (& prelim prep) seminar Week 2
4) Finish reading for seminar Week 1

1 Figure out requirements and write outline for short biography piece
2 Finish and submit photo book review
3 Send short emails to two project contacts

Quite routine, no actual trips. A pile of grading, but all the handwritten items are now done, so that doesn't feel too daunting - one of the problems of generation cell phone is how little they write by hand, which seems to make their attempts in exams especially painful to read! Following CCs example and putting the thing that seems to be slipping first:
1) exercise. 2 visits to gym
2) Picky paper. Give it an hour.
3) Other People's Papers. An hour a day?
4) bed before midnight and deliberate food choices (even if I choose chocolate... dieting does not go with grading).

1. Break up conference version of Earth and flag where additions are needed. Set daily word targets.
2. Remaining fieldwork contact and transcribe archival bits and bobs from last year.
3. Decide on a gym to try. 3 x swim, walk or yoga.

This coming goal
- finish 3 conference presentations and deliver 2.
- do all the marking 
- develop research tool for Kermit
- get week 1 teaching into shape.

1. Spend 2 hours a day writing on my 'women's labour' paper. This is a resented paper with collaborators who have not pulled their weight, and I want it gone. So 2 hours per day to develop a tight front half and conclusion and loosely filled in findings section.
2. Finish track record sections for two grants that I am working on (but not leading).
3. Work on the two grant applications, as required, but putting writing my paper first.
4. List the teaching prep tasks I need to complete before semester starts (I'm in Aus).
5. Finalise marking of late assessments.
6. Plan when I'm going to do my writing/research tasks for the year
7. Knock off on time for at least two ocean swims with my kids

Weekly goals:
1) Finish the paper.
2) Start to write the short article.
3) Write documents for my sabbatical 2017.
4) Have less snacks at night.
5) Exercise for 5 minutes three times a day.

Goals for this week:
1) Finalise last Semester’s grades and get through exam boards
2) Hand over one big admin role to colleague
3) Draft of one grant application
4) 2x 1 hour article writing sessions
5) 2x 1 hour translation sessions
6) No work at the weekend.

Goals for this week:
1. Get class up and running
2. Take some time next weekend for writing
3. Four days of exercise
4. Be kind to Mom and to self. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Week 2 - Goal review: WHY do we do it?

Last week we all set out our goals for this session of the TLQ group. There were many different ones, and I always find it fascinating to see how different people organize their work and everything else.
For this week’s topic, take those same goals you set out last week (the WHAT) and write a WHY for each of them.  TLQ goals tend to be internally motivated for most people, so this should be a nice motivational exercise in articulating why we do or want to do certain things. 
However, sometimes the WHY may be something purely external like “I have to do it otherwise I get fired” but in those cases, try to think of a deeper, more personal, or more satisfying reason. If there really is no internal reason for a particular goal you can think of, try this: “What will be particularly satisfying about accomplishing said goal?” or “What will make the happiest about being done with X?
My own are in the comments for amusement. I found this a very interesting exercise!

Below are last week’s goals for everyone, and session goals overall so we can have a nice visual reminder! Format for checking in is to address the discussion topic if you want, report on your goals for this week, and pick goals for next week, in whatever order that works for you... We will be getting posts up either on Friday night or Saturday mornings leaving all weekend for checking in.

allan wilson

Session Goals
1) spend two hours on average each work day writing
2) work on a novel I want to start writing once a week
3) exercise at least three times a week

This week's goals:
1. write something on the novel- maybe a plot structure that I have in my head?
2. Exercise
3. Attend to two papers that are in the submission process.

Contingent Cassandra

Session Goals:
--Do whatever I can to support my family members (father, brother, stepmother, nieces and nephews, and sister-in law) during my father's dying process, while also taking care of myself, and keeping up with my basic professional and other commitments.
--Take care of myself, including working exercise and regular sleep into my schedule whenever circumstances allow (and perhaps sometimes when it seems like they don't), and keeping the pantry/freezer stocked with healthy and easy-to-prepare food (for myself and any family members who may end up crashing at my place).
--making continued progress on the most vital TLQ financial/household tasks (taxes et al. and boxes still sums this area up pretty well).

Last week’s goals:
1. Cook and freeze some food (one pot of soup already done; another in progress; I need to finish and freeze that and make some oatmeal for the week ahead).
2. Make some progress on the @#$%! boxes (really, any progress will do; I'll be near a dropoff point tomorrow, so I should have something ready to take with me on that trip;just dealing with the ones that require the least decision-making is probably the right approach).
3. Begin exercising regularly, even a bit, doing whatever makes sense given the weather, at least every other day.


Session Goals:
1) The three papers in revision right now have to go away, and go away forever...'nuff said...
2) Write the first two papers on new field area.
3) Read more papers - will break this down each week.
4) Get exercise back into my schedule - I'm signed up for a very long race in May to help with inspiration.

Goals for this week:
1) Finish revision for paper that is due in 2 weeks
2) Conference abstract for fabulous event in March
3) Conference abstract for local event in February
4) Run OUTSIDE twice, inside twice.
5) Sort out new term's schedule and plan times for cooking and activities now before things go crazy.

Earnest English

Session Goals
1. Research: In general, I'd like to have gotten my research world back in order. Specifically, by the end of March, I'd like to have gotten my sabbatical application ready. (Ooh, it makes me nervous just to write that.) Send out unpublished Olive Tree branches. And by the end I'd better have long since addressed galleys of Forsythia, which are currently staring reproachfully at me.
2. Health: I'd like to work on getting some movement, centering (meditating, coloring, whatever), and relaxation into my life on a regular joyous (hopefully) basis. This has to be broken up into steps. And vegetables are to be sought out, even if under a blanket of cheese. Salads at Panera are worth the cost (though maybe not the perils of the snowy drive). I also want to maintain a sense of purposeness and centeredness instead of getting so stressed or anxious quite so often. This is all of a piece (peace!) to me. Must move like water more often. It's all good.
3. Reading: I want to read more books. I want to also stop beating myself up about this. I think this means I need to blog the absurdity out of my system. Sometimes one needs to be humiliated out of one's idiocies. I have a blog for this purpose; I need to use it.
4. Family: There are loads of things I want in here so I know that I have to be careful here because that means there's the possibility of making all this into sticks to beat myself with. I want to prepare more meals than I did in Fall. I want to keep up on gardening, when that comes back up. I want to spend more time working with Absurdist Spirited Son on his education, etc. I want to get a babysitter occasionally.

This week’s Goals:
1. Clearly I must move forward with Forsythia. I printed it out and sent an email earlier today, so I'm finally moving on it. So by Sunday morning, I really need to have gone through the galleys with a red pen. There! I said it. I will also try to freewrite in the morning at least 3x.
2. I'm going to the cardiologist on Thursday, and it's going to snow, and I really don't think on a week where I found out David Bowie died (I'm embarrassingly upset about this) that much more can be expected out of me on the path of health. I also woke up at 6am today after several weeks of sleeping in. I'm trying to eat better. What more can I realistically do? I think, rather, I need to be very good to myself. How about make sure to do crunches as well as leg lifts when I watch my shows? Let's say 3x this week. And sleep.
3. I ordered some fun books, and when they get here I will read them. I will try not to "should" myself to death that I should be reading "better" books.
4. I'll cook a couple times this week. Spend some time with Spirited Son.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

My session goals:
I want to make substantial progress on my critical edition. It has been hanging around for more than a decade, and I just have the commentary and footnotes to finish.
I want to finish a short story for submission at the end of April.
I want to get in better shape, once I’m cleared for exercise. I need to resume walking, and may have to hit the recumbent bike in the gym as well.

Next week’s goals:
Write at least 500 words and clean up a page of footnotes on the critical edition.
Plot and outline the short story.
Relax and recover after surgery.

Good Enough Woman

Session goals:
1) Write a solid draft of the introduction for thesis
2) Revise Chapter 1 (I'll call it Spy)
3) Revise Chapter 2 (I'll call it Magic)
4) Revise Chapter 3 (I'll call it Authority)
5) Submit at least one article for publication (probably one based on Spy)
6) Maintain exercise (5x per week of at least 20-40 minutes)
7) Eat more veggies
8) At least two special activities with kids per month (outdoor adventures, craft projects, etc.)

This week:
1) Integrate notes into Chapter 3
2) Create bibliography of remaining sources I need for Chapter 3
3) Write 1000 words of introduction
4) Write solid draft of conference paper that I'll give February
5) Cook b-day dinner for my mom
6) Exercise
7) Organize school office and buy a couple of plants for said office

heu mihi

My session goals:
1) Finish drafting ch. 3
2) Write/prepare a talk that I'm giving on March 8
3) Write Kalamazoo paper (for mid-May)
4) Get research for ch. 6 underway

This week's goals:
1) Incorporate scraps of old essay into ch. 3
2) Write 2000 new words (classes don't start until next week, so why not dream big?)
3) Finish reading relevant portion of book about monks
4) Prep first and third weeks of grad seminar (don't ask me why I'm going out of order--I have no good answer to that!)


Session Goals:
1) plan my conference-going for the year, including abstract submission dates, topics etc.
2) either find and renew my lost and expired passport or just apply for a new one from scratch
3) set up and launch a web page for the project I nickname Gallimaufry
4) make some substantial progress on the paper nicknamed Picky Paper and on either Ferret or Fancy (which are from team projects so not entirely under my control)
5) take small steps every week to make my domestic environment and self-care more of a priority

This Week:
I have two trips (one to a medical appointment, one to a work meeting) next week, and extra grading will be coming in thick and fast. My TRQ - urgent AND important - goal is definitely to finish the Big Nasty Marking Task before the weekend so I can then crack on with the smaller but still highly unpleasant ones. But around that, TLQ still needs to happen. I would like to:
1) revisit Picky Paper and spend an hour reading over the notes I have and sketching out a plan for what next
2) write and submit an abstract for 'did I really say I'd go to this'? conference (due mid-week)
3) go to the gym at least twice, even if all I'm in the mood to do is walk slowly on the treadmill
4) go to bed before midnight every 'schoolnight' (I add the qualifier because it's 02:21 between Saturday and Sunday right now...) and make thoughtful food choices (they don't have to be perfectly 'good', just considered).

Session Goals:
1. Submit co-authored paper (let's call it Earth)
2. Revisit older conference paper (call it Body) and have a complete draft of an expanded paper for journal submission.
3. Find an exercise routine that works for me
4. Be prepared for major research fieldwork in late March-early April.

Week Goals: This week is pretty clear from meeting etc - so writing time is a priority.
1. 2 hours of writing time each working day.
2. Contact all participants for fieldwork collaboration.
3. Fill in gym paperwork for trial membership, 3x swimming or walking across the week.


Session Goals:
1. Write scary paper 2 and scary paper 1
2. Develop research tools for Loop and Kermit
3. 25 hand crafted items.

Week goals:
1 - revisions to Gemstone paper
2 - write Scary paper 2
3 - finish 3 conference presentations (Scary project, Picture project, and House project).Matilda


Session goal: I want to revise, commit to, and work my research plan for the year (tight plan) and the following two years (looser plan), and to put that plan first in my decisions to say 'yes' or 'no' to 'opportunities' that arise.

Week goal:
 a) list the papers/ research outputs I am committed to in 2016
b) list the papers/ research I want to do in 2016 - 2018
c) list the people I want to professionally connect with in 2016
d) jot down ideas for working and timetabling in ways that will help me prioritise the work I want to do.
None of the above require strict timetabling, more an imagining of what I want my research future to look like.


My session goals:
1) Write chapter 2 of my planned book.
2) Revise chapter 1 of my book.
3) Write two short articles.
4) Live a healthier life.

Weekly goals:
1) Finish the paper (from last session).
2) Finish the short article.
3) Have less snacks at night.
4) Exercise for 5 minutes three times a day.


Session Goals:
1) Only check emails at my desk, never before work and maybe twice at weekends
2) Yoga and exercise every week
3) Apply for several grants to buy me out for research leave
4) Say no to all conference / talk invitations
5) Finish two articles that have been nearly finished for ages
6) Finish translation of book for children (fun!)

Goals for this week:
1) Finalise last Semester’s grades and get through exam boards
2) Hand over one big admin role to colleague
3) Draft of one grant application
4) 2x 1 hour article writing sessions
5) 2x 1 hour translation sessions
6) No work at the weekend.


Session Goals:
1. Finish book ms. (I have maybe 2 days of work before I can send it to a press.)
2. Work on Conference Paper revision, due probably some time in April.
3. Keep up with regular exercise, and add in at least one walking morning a week.
4. Stop checking email on Sunday.
5. Strive to keep up with 7 hours sleep nightly

Goals for this week:
1. Finish syllabi
2. Do at least one day on book ms.
3. Do one walk in addition to three gym visits

Have a wonderful week everyone!