the grid

the grid

Friday 27 May 2016

Week 4: Transitions

I’ve been thinking about all of the transitions that most of us experience--the semester ends, classes end, summer break begins, tenure is earned (!), house moves are made, conference papers are drafted and presented, articles and books are submitted then do you celebrate and mark those events? It’s my own lack of doing so that leads me to raise the question. When I was writing my dissertation, I would order a book from amazon for each chapter I sent off to my advisor. And then when I earned tenure? Nothing. I’m also interested to know if some kind of ritual can help stave off the “bleeding over” that can be a distraction--for example, how we’re still pondering the goings-on of the last semester, weeks into summer break. Any rituals or other ways to mark transitions? To celebrate successes?

Goals from last week:

Allan WIlson
1) finish draft and send back to MR
2) resubmit W
3) exercise daily

Contingent Cassandra
1. Work in some sort of exercise regularly, especially during time off.
2. Take time off Thurs.-Mon.
3. Continue planning for summer (and finding a balance between planning and then disappointing myself by deviating from plan and playing it by ear week by week), knowing that more complete planning, whatever form it takes, will come after long weekend (so, the week after this coming one)
4. Continue working on contact with friends/family
5. Work on chaos reduction if I feel like it over break; otherwise leave it 'til afterward and just read, eat, sleep, and exercise.
6. Stay mostly off internet and read some long-form stuff (mostly leisure reading at this point)

1) Accounting
2) Data organization for local project
3) Data organization for far-away projects
4) Contact lab collaborators and arrange end of summer visit

Dame Eleanor Hull
Talk to Sir John about selling the house.
Keep 9-1 office hours MWTh.
Finish Revision #1.
2-3 hours' worth of Administrivia, personal and professional.
Plant the plants.
Four hours basement sorting.
Get back to translating.

Earnest English
  • Health: Try to be lovely to self. Watch movies and shows but do leg lifts or crunches while watching. Try not to eat quite so much ice cream.
  • Scholarship: forget about this for the duration. I have too much grading to think about writing, research, or sabbatical applications. Enough said.
  • Farmstead project: take care of animals, take care of plants, try to plant three new seeds.
  • Family: keep up on Spirited's therapy. Call Piano teacher and leave message on her VM about summer plans. Spend some time with family. Clearly communicate about workload without becoming histrionic or stressed or bitchy.
  • Work planning: So.much.muchness. Must grade this weekend without destroying family time or sleep. Must continue grading at a decent clip without making myself sick. Am so behind and pissed about impossibility of it all.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Keep the house tidy and clean
File some papers at work. ½ hour x 5
Do the [expletive deleted] final project for the course.
If course allows, ½ hour x 5 on Pierpont or Prudence.
Walk ½ hour x 5

Good Enough Woman
1) Finish revision of Chapter 1
2) Finish text revision of Chapter 2 (perhaps leaving some footnote work for next week).
3) Read 200 pages of primary text.
4) Help daughter finish dress by Tuesday night. Attend school performances, etc.
5) Exercise 3x

1 Write to Mercury editors for clarification
2 Read another 50 pages for Mars
3 Read parts 1-4 for Mars
4 Open and read through existing RPB outlines
5 Type up notes from two RBP books

1) 500 words on the special issue paper draft
2) gym at least twice
3) decluttering whilst on strike!
4) review summer calendar
5) make some sort of measurable progress on admin task before it becomes TRQ

1. Exercise x 3 (gym, swim, yoga)
2. 1 hour of finding SoTL readings to prep for writers retreat.
3. Reward marking progress with moving/stretching not chocolate.

- it's just one of those weeks!

1) Read materials for Section 2 of Chapter 2, and make a plan of revision, again.
2) Re-read the book for the review and revise the outline, again.
3) Writing exercise 2 of Goodson’s revised book.
4) 5 minute short exercise three times a day.

1. Revise chapter 1 and 2. (The revisions are very minor, so I should be able to do this.
2. Start reading for chapter 3, which needs some interpretive work.
3. Keep going on the giant desk clearing exercise. (I'll work on some of it as soon as I finish writing this!)
4. Garden: deal with the field of weeds at the edge of the garden. Finish planting new creeping thyme. (The plants have to be watered daily, and if I'm out there and can do ten minutes of clean up, it will be great!

1. Draft research strategy for F32
2. Draft sponsor's section for F32
3. Finish analyses for relat paper
4. LOI (due June 15, not critical)
5. Finish summer institute app
6. revise LOR to add in more about diss

7. revise stats in Science paper

Friday 20 May 2016

Week 3: papertrails

Hello everyone, I hope you had a decent and productive week.  

 If anyone didn't see in last week's comments, Elizabeth Anne Mitchell has got tenure approval!  Congratulations! :-)

Last week we talked about how we keep track of what we need to do, and Good Enough Woman said she'd like to know more about how people manage their bibliographies (in my case - badly and reluctantly!), which led to me wondering about differences between different scholarly traditions - research journals and lab books probably aren't that different, but when I was a PhD student, you could spot a historian or classicist miles away by their plastic carrier bags full of note-cards, and there was much debate between scientists about what exactly went into a lab book as opposed to other systems.  So, for this week's topic, let's talk about how to keep track of work in progess, whether that's readings or thoughts or numbers or sketches.

Last week's roll call: 

allan wilson (carried over from week 1)
  • finish draft and send back to MR
  • begin revisions on CR
  • resubmit W
  • sort out data for SS.
Contingent Cassandra
  • Do detailed planning (group and individual) for grant project; hold meeting; follow up
  • At least begin more detailed planning of whole summer
  • Some exercise/movement (weights, walk, or gardening) each day
  • Take at least one day off, and plan for both regular and longer break(s)
  • Follow up/communicate w/ various friends and family
  • Make some small steps toward decreasing household chaos
  • TRQ presentation
  • Work on hideous paper to send to ex-supervisor before I go to the field in three weeks.
  • Make all cat-sitting, medical, and travel bookings for rest of summer
  • Do left-over accounting
Dame Eleanor Hull
  • 2 hours gardening, stock up on cat food, and make a list, because those are already done. %-)
  • Healthy Schedule
  • Translation, Revision, Administrivia daily for 3-4 days
  • House/Life Stuff on 4 days
  • Talk to Sir John about when to go full-bore on readying the house for sale.
Earnest English
  • Health: try not to eat ice cream and snack every night; eat good food regularly; get sleep; baby injury; be good to self. Moderate emotions at work because overwhelm will stress me out and make my health terrible.
  • Scholarship: can I still get 3x done this week? I'm going to try and then re-evaluate this goal next week. Sabbatical application? Should I just give up on that until Summer, which would throw back everything but might be the most reasonable thing to do in light of everything? Again, I'll re-evaluate these goals next week.
  • Farmstead project: must take good care of new animals (ducklings and chicks: ohmigod -- SO CUTE!) and start three new seeds. Keep watering outside (when needed -- it's snowing today!). Keep watering seedlings in basement. (This whole category has revved up because it's spring and there's no way around it. Focusing on this makes it hard to focus on SFP. Honestly, this is more important in terms of family goals.)
  • Family: keep up on Spirited's therapy. Call Piano teacher and leave message on her VM about summer plans. Spend some time with family. Make clear boundaries about grading so I can get grading done without being a total bitch to family out of stress.
  • Work planning: So much grading. I have to keep on a good clip and follow my own plans. (Worked Sat and Sun morning - so far so good.) Must get Service 1 distribution going this week. Must get Service 2 scheduled this week.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
  • Begin packing the dishes--1 hour x 4.
  • Continue attacking clutter at work--½ hour x 5
  • Catch up on course--2 hours x 5. Must do this!!
  • Pierpont article--outline ½ hour x 5.
  • Prudence book--footnotes ½ hour x 5.
  • Walk--½ hour x 2.
Good Enough Woman
  • Finish grading in-hand papers by Monday afternoon (or night).
  • Grade Tuesday finals on Tuesday (okay to leave 5-6 research papers for Wednesday morning if necessary).
  • Grade Wednesday finals and any other stray things on Wednesday.
  • Tidy school office on Thursday morning.
  • Finish all grading by Friday at noon.
  • Help daughter sew dress. Be patient while I do this. Accept imperfections and help her to do the same. (Breakdown: Pin and cut on Monday night, sew the body on Tuesday, sew the sleeves on Thursday, add the eyelet on the weekend when daughter is home from camping).
Heu mihi – on vacation

  • Organize articles in Bookmarks for RBP
  • Type notes for Awesome Russian Author for RBP
  • Read another 50 pages for Mars
  • Open and read through existing RPB outlines (light touch, not too scary)
  • 500 words on Special Issue paper which needs a nickname
  • 3 gym visits
  • 3 decluttering 15 minutes
  • meet with PDF about plans for the simulations
  • find,read and note-take one SoTL paper
  • 2 x exercise 
  • set defined tasks and pre-agreed computer shutdown times for evenings.
  • walk to or from work twice
  • edit acronym report
  • marking
  • Read materials for Section 2 of Chapter 2, and make a plan of revision.
  • Re-read the book for the review and revise the outline.
  • Writing exercise 1 of Goodson’s revised book.
  • 5 minute short exercise three times a day.
  • Finish book orders
  • Write response to readers reports
  • Begin revisions on Chap 1.
  • Outline steps and timeline for F32 application
  • Finish draft of relat manuscript
  • Fix references in specific aims
  • Touch base with colleague about social support and other papers/analyses
  • Update LOR for summer institute
  • Finish other sections of summer institute application
  • Review interview questions
  • Work on measures

Saturday 14 May 2016

Week 2: Getting started

Welcome back, all! How was your first week? I hope there was satisfaction, for even the smallest things. A dear friend reminds me in times of stress that the only thing you *really* need to do today is breathe. It’s a helpful reminder when I heap too many tasks on too many plates. So take a moment and take a deep, satisfying breath.

Reading through the posts, I got to thinking about what methods we use to manage all of these tasks. I was really excited waiting for my Get to Work Book ( at the start of the year, and had even purchased stickers and markers to make the most of my gorgeous planner. It’s on the desk in my office, and I seldom use it, feeling a sad resignation that all of my planning and organizing takes place in digital spaces. But I still had not put any plan in place to organize work on the book manuscript. I looked back at my previous use of Trello ( and Wunderlist ( and didn’t feel warmly toward either of them.

So I channeled my MOOC compulsion (I don’t want to count how many online courses I’ve signed up for) and did a quick Highbrow ( class on productivity. This led me to Asana (, where I am having a good run, even though it’s actually designed for group projects. The best thing about Asana is that it syncs with my Google calendar, where I generally dump all deadlines.

I’m very interested to hear how you all manage your tasks, especially when it comes to integrating research & writing with Other Life Tasks. Usual reporting format welcome: goals for last week, new goals, and discussion.

Last week:

allan wilson
1. finish draft and send back to MR
2. begin revisions on CR
3. resubmit W
4. sort out data for SS.

Contingent Cassandra
1. Finish grading (TRQ but necessary/almost all-consuming at present)
2. Attend day-long workshop related to grant
3. Set TLQ goals for summer (yes, I'm including this one so I can check it off; it is Thursday, after all)

1) Write up methods for this project while fresh
2) Write outlines for analytical projects to send to labs and collaborators
3) Take my grad student out for dinner and make sure she's not stressing out over her project
4) Buy new running shoes and sports bras to help with longer term goals!

complete presentation for Kalamazoo (International Congress on Medieval Studies), drive there, have a good time, don't buy too many books.

Earnest English
1. Maintain good eating, decent sleep, me time, and babying of injury.
2. Moderate emotions and try to keep up with decent grading clip. I have a big stack of things to respond to and a small stack of detailed grading to do this week. On Tuesday, another stack of detailed grading will come in (rolling deadline). I just have to get through it. I should probably break this down into more reasonable daily goals.
3. Tomato, celery, and other seeds MUST get started this week!
4. 3x on Secondary Field Project.
5. Work a bit on Sabbatical application.
6. Come up with date for Service Thingie in June?
7. Keep up with Spirited's Therapy.
8. Leave a message on music teacher's voicemail about intentions?
9. Call doctor and see if I can get a mammogram appt without a doctor's appt.

Elizabeth Allen Mitchell
Finish culling DH’s clothing and packing winter clothes 1 hour x 3
Cull pleasure reading books and pack the “must-keeps” 1 hour x 2
Diminish clutter at work--½ hour x 5 days
Work on class assignments 1.5 hours x 5
Pierpont article--outline ½ hour x 5
Prudence book--footnotes ½ hour x 5
Walk ½ hour x 5

Good Enough Woman
1) Grade a lot and do not procrastinate on this.
2) Finalize details for son's b-day party (which will be on Sunday).
3) Help daughter make colonial dress for her history project (and try not to freak out about this project).
3) Do PhD stuff (writing for intro, reading) for at least two hours Friday afternoon.

heu mihi
1) Finish reading AA
2) Read one article on MP
3) Go to Kalamazoo and have a fabulous time! (Despite my paper's 8:30-am-on-Sunday time slot.)

1 Grade all the things!
2 Write conference call for papers
3 Finish typing RBP notes from Big History Book
4 Read 50 pages for Mars
5 Read 50 pages from library book for Mercury
6 Organize articles in Bookmarks for RBP

Jane B
1) 500 words on Special Issue paper which needs a nickname
2) 3 gym visits
3) 3 decluttering 15 minutes
4) meet with PDF about plans for the simulations

-find, read and note-take one article for landscape paper and one article for SoTL project.
- Start by trying time goals rather than word goals for writing. 60 minutes writing across the week - see where it fits.
-3 x exercise activities over the week.

- finish planning and run two outreach events.
Anything else will be a bonus!

1) Read materials for Section 2 of Chapter 2.
2) Re-read the book I must review and write the outline of my review.
3) Write 15 minutes a day.
4) Have less snacks at night - no sweet snacks at least.

1. Book orders for the fall
2. Finish minor revisions of paper for volume
3. Start working on footnotes.
4. Read a non-work book.
5. Finish container plantings for garden.

1. Figure out measures
2. Feedback on R03
3. Figure out funding issues
4. unclutter house!
5. keep running every day!