the grid

the grid

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Week 5: already?

Continuing the discussion of calendars, one of the tricky things is the way different ones overlap. Obviously the academic year doesn't run in tandem with the calendar year. JaneB has written, chez elle, about the odd gaps and overlaps created by superimposing an American-style semester on shorter, old-style British terms. I'm sure we've all had the experience of realizing that administrators' year-round notion of the calendar is not playing well with faculty's notion of semesters (or quarters, or terms) alternating with breaks that may not be breaks from work but are for different kinds of work. Academic parents deal with their children's school calendars not lining up with their own. I've just finished the third week of the semester at LRU, and have joined nicoleandmaggie's February challenge to write an hour a day, every day, so those two calendars feel fairly new; but here we are in week 5 of the TLQ group, a third of the way through already.

Can these multiple calendars be helpful, a spur to productivity, or are they just confusing? If you could put everyone on the same schedule, whose would you choose?

Your goals from last week:

Contingent Cassandra

--keep trying to stay ahead of, or at least on top of, teaching tasks
--get back to moving as cold wanes
--make at least chili and pesto
--do some financial stock-taking
--check in with brother
--begin blog for online class; continue other work


on break

Dame Eleanor Hull

1. House: don’t worry about it. Just pay the bills, cook, do the crucial errands; if there’s energy/inspiration over for decluttering, then go for it, but if not, that’s okay.
2. Research: carry on with the “touch” project; try to read/note three items this week.
3. Teaching: update Blackboard, grade one set of papers, track down that story.
4. Health: exercise of some kind at least one-half hour per day; ankle rehab exercises daily; weights three times; at least one yoga class at the weekend. Sit 3x.
5. Fun/social thing: do something pleasurable every day (read, eat raspberries—doesn’t have to be a big thing but has to be consciously enjoyed).
Earnest English

-Grounding: get adequate sleep! Eat well. Active self-repair on stressful days: baths, music. Meditate or yoga or stretching twice this week.

-Spirited: get back to therapy and HS; get book from library; schedule music lessons when we get the money

-Gardening: check artichoke seeds; find saucer and take mint to work

-Plan and plod: look at and record journals; look up some things for class; recommendations; work on annual report; schedule Big Meeting; go get stuff for presents (Store 1 and Store 2) and do something nice for Imbolc!

-Writing Project: keep morning time for writing (not work!); 1x this week and regular research

-Big Continuing Project: figure out what needs doing on Tuesday and do it

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Finish grant application.
Finish staff evaluations.
Compile questions for Orthopedics

heu mihi

1) Read another big chunk of research book
2) Get 1 week ahead on grad class reading
3) Get back to my running schedule (MWF)
4) Tinker with intro and chapter 1, so that I'm at least touching my writing
5) Make some notes on first 30 pages of research book


1 Read 3x
2 Write 4x
3 Spend an hour working on rbp
4 Check in on pink hat research


1) deliberation, mindfulness, call it what you will. Finding and/or being the calm point in the chaos.
2) an hour on Ferrett
3) an hour on the grant I wish I'd never started
4) get to Friday with most of the following week's teaching prepared
5) declutter something somehow


- finish marking (1st year papers, 2nd year reflective diaries)
- review manuscript, send off other review
- edit collaborative paper that came back as a revise and resubmit
- try to learn to crochet


1. Finish last 30 fellowship apps.
2. Tidy desk
3. Use time at favorite exotic library on Friday to write abstract, and start preparing for Monday's seminar.
4. Control use of social media, which so easily sends me into a tailspin.
5. Don;t let myself get too sick. Let this just be a cold.


1. Finish this draft of relat paper
2. Revise aims and strategy and work on innovation
3. write report


  1. A few years back, my calendar variations were many. The kids were on a difficult calendar, and while I work at the community college, which is on semesters, my husband was a lecturer at the nearby university. The university is on quarters, and the community college is on semesters, and our schedules were VERY different. This had it's benefits. We both had a few weeks each year when we had a quiet house to ourselves while the rest of the family was at school/work. But it also had its challenges. (Of course, we were in the same town, so really not much to complain about.)

    Now he is tenured at the same CC as I am, so things are a bit more streamlined. And since the kids are older, we're entering the era when they can stay at home by themselves for an hour or two if need be (!). Our spring breaks are sometimes different from the kids', sometimes the same, so depending on what kind of a year it is, I either get a lot done over spring break, or I hang with the kiddos. This year, I'll struggle to figure out what to do with the kids when they are off, but during *my* break, they'll be in school and my husband will be off on his own adventure. I will have the house to myself all week (during the day), which will be glorious. My favorite kind of schedule "gap."

    Regarding the admin/academic conflicts that JaneB discussed in her blog post, that's a benefit of working at a CC. When faculty are not in session (or "on contract"), the college leaves us alone (for the most part). And while it's difficult to get sabbatical (only two semesters worth are offered each year for the entire faculty, which means two people get one semester or one person gets one year), when we're on leave, we really can "check out."

    Goals from two weeks ago:
    1. Do all corrections to thesis. DONE!
    2. Submit thesis for final binding. DONE!
    3. Get lab work done that the doctor ordered at my appointment last week. DONE!
    4. Make appointment for X-ray (kidney stone follow up). NOT DONE.
    5. Walk dogs four times (I'm dog sitting my mom's dog for three weeks, which is going to be rather disruptive, but it motivates me to get both dogs [mine and hers] out of the house so they'll be tired. That's good for me, too.) DONE!
    6. Enjoy my time with the kids while my husband is away this weekend. Maybe plan a outing into "town"? DONE! I had a fantastic weekend with them. :)

    This week:
    1) Pay bills
    2) Make X-ray appointment (or, better yet, get Xray).
    3) try to find a new primary physician (I don't have one right now)
    4) Draft conference paper (which shouldn't be difficult because I'm pulling it from a diss chapter)
    5) Walk dogs a lot.
    6) Attend one yoga class (it's been SO long).
    7) Clean/tidy the study.

    1. Six out of seven DONE! That's excellent, and congratulations on doing all the thesis corrections already.

    2. Well done on getting the thesis tidying up done! Even if it hasn't quite left your life yet...

  2. Beyond the standard hemisphere differences in calendar, on a day to day level most of my calendar disjunctions are between school (the older kid) and semester (me). Sometimes I find this hard, more in managing my expectations of what childhood should be like based on my own experience of having holidays with parents at home (the advantage of having a family of school teachers) than in logistics which are solved by paid care arrangements. When I look at our sessionals (adjunct-equivalents) the privilege of a steady income that makes the school/semester disconnect solveable by money is very apparent.

    From two weeks ago:

    1. Reading lists!!!! NOPE
    2. Get everything out of boxes in my office; have home library/spare room ready for visitors to be able to locate and sleep on the sofa bed. HOME, YES; OFFICE, TINY BIT OF PROGRESS
    3. 3 x articles, 2 x 30 minute writing session HA! NOPE
    4. Start a artist residency application DISCUSSED
    5. Packed lunches, move regularly at work (use a timer if needed), yoga x 1, gym x 1. MOSTLY

    Week five here means I've been back for around a month, and starting to feel anxious every day is a sign that I need to find a better way to manage all the demands. So my theme for this week purposeful progress, and stepping back from spotfires.

    1. Don't check email until after writing - start on residency application for 10 mins at the start of each work day.
    2. Go to yoga class at least once, make time to focus on breathing each day.
    3. Corral managerial stuff into a designated timeslot.
    4. Write very short high priority list for each work day.

  3. This may really go with last week, about things that didn't work, but it does give some insight into why planning every day to the minute doesn't work for many of us:

    Found it via Bardiac's blog roll.

  4. This year was the first in a long time that I felt the “new year” of January--very much wishing to put 2016 in the past. Having worked in the public sector for all of my career, where the fiscal year begins in September like the academic year, January feels like the middle, not the beginning. I don’t have too many calendars to keep concurrently, so I have more of an awareness of the overlaps rather than a strong effect from them.

    On a note related to goals, I’ve found the practice of determining how many times I will write and read in a given week to be helpful but also lacking in terms of feeling satisfied. It’s an interesting observation about the culture I (and many of us) inhabit, where I ask myself, “So you wrote four days last week...and what do you have to show for it?” Developing the habit doesn’t satisfy the part of my being that remains tightly bound to ideas of productivity. So I’m going to continue the habit building practice while also being more deliberate about end results.

    Last week
    1 Read 3x: yes
    2 Write 4x: yes
    3 Spend an hour working on rbp: yes and much more
    4 Check in on pink hat research: yes

    This week
    1 Read 4x
    2 Write 4x
    3 Write a full draft of Scary Conference Abstract
    4 Use morning writing to decide about whether to write The Thing about Things (which is due at the end of the week, so a quick decision and action required)

    1. The product/process thing is problematic in various ways. It's good to develop the habit of working steadily on something without feeling bad about not finishing; at the same time, eventually something has to get finished. If I get impatient with the process, I fall farther behind---but it's good to have goals that make it feel like something is happening. I'm steadily whittling down a stack of books in my office as I take notes on them. Notes = many words that will not make it into article. But if I don't have those words, I won't remember the concepts and facts that I want to have in the background of said article.

    2. Yes on all of that, and especially reading and notetaking. I have tried at times to type up notes while reading, which works well but is far less enjoyable than just being engaged with the text without interrupting myself.

  5. Fortunately I only have my schedule to juggle. Unfortunately, the way semesters and team-teaching work at NorthernUni, it's VERY unusual that any week is like any other week - I don't have one pattern of classes all semester. On the one hand, this is quite appealing to my rebel side, on the other... well, this week for the first time ever in my nearly 20 years of this I almost forgot to go to class (at 8pm one evening a student emailed about how something wasn't on the VLE, I just happened to see it on my phone, think "that doesn't go up until after Thursday's lecture. Hang on, Thursday's tomorrow. Who's lecturing this week on Thursday? Oh EXPLETIVES, it's ME", and end up with a rather late night as I sorted out the lecture and its accoutrements (whilst I fully appreciate the criticisms of classical stand-and-talk lecturing, getting the handout, in class activities, post-class prompts, powerpoint etc. in order at short notice makes me miss them!). Brand new class too so some rather FRAUGHT preparation). Things are very difficult at the moment... there is just TOO MUCH new stuff, change, and lack of clarity, and Incoming is conspicuous by his absence which doesn't help.

    This week was BAD - all administrative staff have now been moved out of departments into a central faculty hub in a location chosen to be in none of the departmental buildings. Although there are teams, we mere academics have not yet been told which team does what, or who to contact, except in the vaguest of terms, and there are no phone numbers, we just have three generic emails we all have to use (so far none of them have replied to me). We also have some serious timetable failures (clashes have been addressed by moving classes to different rooms, apparently without checking the SIZE of the room - so now all the students can attend class but only half can have a chair)... whine whine. But given I'm not organised to START with, this is NOT HELPING!

    Also my sciatica is playing up and it's very annoying and restricting.

    goals from last week:
    1) deliberation, mindfulness, call it what you will. Finding and/or being the calm point in the chaos. sometimes. some good mindfulness/appreciating the moment points this week, which are good for me, and I've started a gratitude journalling habit again (jot down 1-3 positive things every evening just before bed). I am also trying to go refined-sugar-free and standard-yeast-bread free for February, and cut refined flour products like pasta and sourdough bread down to 2-3 times a week. I think I must be doing something wrong because it's pretty easy so far (I am eating more cheese and nuts than I was, which makes sense - I'm allowing myself dried or fresh fruit whenever I like as long as they have protein with them, so been snacking on dried apricots stuffed with an almond or two or a sliced apple and some cheese cubes - but that ought to be better than toast or shortbread).
    2) an hour on Ferrett yes. Did another analysis, not sure if it's useful, but that should be the last of the fiddling with software, now I can just write & draft figures.
    3) an hour on the grant I wish I'd never started 1.5 hours, just now...
    4) get to Friday with most of the following week's teaching prepared yes! Did the last of it this morning. So now this week I can focus on next week's teaching... and hopefully find a bit more research time.
    5) declutter something somehow not really - I moved some heaps, but that caused a small heap-slide, and a temper tantrum, and stomping off to find something to eat instead of actually dealing with things, so... fail.

    1. the coming week:
      Another fairly busy teaching week, and I have a short-notice internal seminar to write and give, but after THAT I have a few weeks of quite empty diary (I have teaching to write and grading to do, but am not actually in charge of the classroom delivery).
      goals for next week:
      1) deliberation, mindfulness, call it what you will. Finding and/or being the calm point in the chaos. I'd like to keep up the sugar-ban and the gratitude journalling (which for me affects the rest of the day more than you'd think, because I start to register stuff like, say, the colour of the sun on the tops of the bare trees at sunset, or a student saying thank you that helped, and think, oh, maybe this could be a gratitude entry, and that makes me take the time to actually be grateful and enjoy the moment). And also think a bit more about what deliberation looks like more widely, in a highly reactive job.
      2) an hour on Ferrett - keep plodding!
      3) TWO hours on the grant (I wish I'd never started) - I finally got trained on the new grant recording and approvals system last week (another new computer system) so I'll aim to do an hour of setting up all the little boxes in that, and an hour on the text, hopefully leading to sending the text bit out for the first round of internal review.
      4) get to Friday with all of the following week's teaching prepared and some bureaucratic paperwork started
      6) write and give unexpected internal seminar (OK that's more TRQ but it's going here as it's research...)
      5) declutter something noticeably (preferably one side of the kitchen. The kitchen is EMBARRASSINGLY AWFUL, it's not just messy, it's becoming unhygenic :-( ).

    2. Different schedules every week would drive me batty (or, rather, take up far too much of my energy just trying to keep track of things). And not knowing them well in advance would be even worse.

      And yes, the various things we do to encourage active/inquiry-based/whatever-you-call it learning are time-consuming. I, too, am all in favor of them, but less pleased that they've appeared in my working life with no counterbalance of things I *don't* have to do (well, I guess I don't photocopy stuff much anymore, but I spent at least equivalent, though more geographically flexible, time uploading stuff to the LMS).

    3. Ugh, the LMS! I would vastly rather photocopy. It takes so long, there are so many buttons, I so easily lose track of dates (change here but not there, there but not the other place), and what I've done for which class, and so on. A pile of books and papers I understand in a way that items online never really trigger (that pile I've copied, that pile I haven't, I have two handouts left for those people who were absent, etc). But it's the way of the world. I have colleagues who refuse to use ours, but though I have a certain admiration for their refusal, there are too many useful features (especially that geographical point) for me not to use it. But I still hate it.

  6. Topic: like JaneB, I don't have others' schedules to juggle, but I have realized that one of many arguments for teaching the first summer term (assuming I have to teach in summer at all) is that it's very hard to take a full break, especially a full break at home, which is often what I can afford (and have energy for) when the program year at church is still in full swing, other people's kids are still in school, etc., etc. In any mixed-age/marital status organization, the influence of the school calendar is still strong. Of course, I've gotten my summer schedule, and I've got the slightly longer middle-of-summer term, which means about half of my time off will fall precisely in that nobody-else-is-off period. Since I'm on a search committee I wasn't going to be taking much time fully off anyway, and the slightly longer term is a bit less crazy (and allows a bit more time for trying to maintain a steady habit of things like walking and swimming and gardening), so I'm not really complaining.

    The one adjustment in the academic schedule I'd like to see is a move to a full three semesters (rather than the present two plus assorted summer terms), with the option for 9-month-full-time faculty to teach any two (and full pay and benefits attached to the third in place of the current system, which results in pay that's noticeably less than regular-term pay, especially when you take the lack of retirement contributions into account). This is mostly selfish, and reflective of my desire for a break in routine if I can't have a real sabbatical. It would be nice to off in mid-Sept-mid. Nov., or April/May, some time, since those periods bring the nicest weather of the year for us, and to enjoy Advent/Christmas or Holy Week/Easter without having to juggle church activities with an especially busy time of the school year. And since I'm not much of a fan of hot weather, I wouldn't really mind spending more of the summer inside.

    And slightly off-topic, but somewhat related: here's an interesting discussion of how much detail in planning time is useful vs. counterproductive: .

    1. Goals for last week (w/ assessment following each):

      --keep trying to stay ahead of, or at least on top of, teaching tasks
      --get back to moving as cold wanes
      not really; cold still hanging on
      --make at least chili and pesto
      --do some financial stock-taking
      yes; made good progress
      --check in with brother
      he was coming to town, texted, and we had lunch -- so yes, though not thanks to my initiative. Still, a satisfactory catch-up, and he seems to be doing reasonably well, all things considered
      --begin blog for online class; continue other work
      participated in several synchronous exchanges, and drafted some text for blog, but still need to set up blog itself

      Altogether,not too bad, though my sleep schedule has gotten a bit off again (that's partly the cold, partly getting pulled into reading the news/facebook too much. Figuring out how and how much to respond to the new administration is still very much a work in progress for me)

      Goals for the coming week:
      --list teaching prep & response to-dos at least through spring break (preferably the whole semester), and at least keep up; try to get ahead.
      --walk and lift weights at least once each (preferably more); return to short stretches, stair-walking, etc. during breaks from work
      --get back to evening schedule that has me in bed between 9 and 10 p.m., and preferably reading for a while before that on nights I don't have a meeting to attend
      --actually set up blog and finish/post at least 2 posts (preferably 3); continue w/ other class activities
      --continue financial stock-taking; begin taxes
      --make pesto and oatmeal(and maybe chili and/or soup)

    2. Oh, good,you got the musician's link to work, which I didn't.

  7. How I did:
    1. House: don’t worry about it. Just pay the bills, cook, do the crucial errands; if there’s energy/inspiration over for decluttering, then go for it, but if not, that’s okay. YES. Nothing like a low bar. Haven't even paid the bills, but we're clean and fed.
    2. Research: carry on with the “touch” project; try to read/note three items this week. YES.
    3. Teaching: update Blackboard, grade one set of papers, track down that story. YES, YES, NO.
    4. Health: exercise of some kind at least one-half hour per day; ankle rehab exercises daily; weights three times; at least one yoga class at the weekend. Sit 3x. YES (2x sitting). Ankle exercises have helped a lot. I realized that I've rolled them into doing yoga and when I slacked off on yoga at home, or went to classes rather than doing my own routine, they didn't happen. So I need to be mindful about that.
    5. Fun/social thing: do something pleasurable every day (read, eat raspberries—doesn’t have to be a big thing but has to be consciously enjoyed). YES. Even a social thing Wednesday.

    This week:
    1. House: 3 hours de-cluttering on Tuesday afternoon. (Let's see if a slot on the calendar helps.)
    2. Research: carry on with the “touch” project; try to read/note three items this week.
    3. Teaching: update Blackboard, grade 2-3 sets of short assignments, track down that story.
    4. Health: exercise of some kind at least one-half hour per day; ankle rehab exercises daily; weights three times; at least one yoga class at the weekend. Sit 3x.
    5. Fun/social thing: do something pleasurable every day (read, eat raspberries—doesn’t have to be a big thing but has to be consciously enjoyed).

    Since the goals look a lot like the previous week, I'm going to say that I have got into a groove. I'm even posting Sunday night, which suggests that I'm adjusting to this term's schedule at last.

    1. Really interested to hear how a scheduled spot for decluttering goes. And I hope the Blackboard updating goes well...

  8. Topic - this year I have more calendars than normal to juggle, medical treatment alongside my husband's work schedule, my schedule, and the ebb and flow of the university calendar. I'm finding it quite frustrating to have to plan specific activities for specific weeks and ration my time in a manner I've never had to previously. I'll take the positives from that, I'm learning a whole lot about good enough, sufficient, and time management from doing this.

    I'm also feeling quite acutely 'spring like', this part of middle England is feeling more spring like every day. Every time I step into the garden, new bulbs have come out (and I give thanks for the weekends in October where I replanted half the garden), the birds are noisier, it's possible to go for a walk after 4pm and have beautiful light.. Imbolc has come and gone. I'm hoping for lambs in the nearby field soon - added motivation to walk that way each day. (This is in contrast to November/December when I really felt on the retreat, hibernating and returning to a resting state).
    My instinct would be to chose a more fluid calendar that is based on the seasons and how we feel but that would cause so much chaos as it varies so much across the country let alone the world. I sometimes wish our academic year began now, in February, and that the summer holiday came as a middle part of it rather than end/beginning. We could spend January wrapping up the old, and taking a proper break (no pressure to go away, just couch surf and rest), then spring into action.

    Last week:
    - finish marking (1st year papers, 2nd year reflective diaries) - DONE! YAY!
    - review manuscript, send off other review - DONE! YAY!
    - edit collaborative paper that came back as a revise and resubmit - planned, thought about but not touched it. Marking took longer
    - try to learn to crochet - work in progress.

    This week:
    - an hour a day writing
    - three sessions of manuscript editing
    - three sessions of course prep/adminfrustration
    - continue the crochet and knitting projects

    I'm trying to establish a routine that isn't a routine. After thinking so much about overscheduling last week as part of the discussions here, I'm thinking that just trying to have a session of this or that when it feels like the right and necessary thing to do may work.

    1. I love your description of spring where you are--it sounds heavenly! Enjoy the first flush of new growth and warmth.

  9. My calendar clash is weekly. While my son's nursery school is on my campus and therefore sticks to the campus schedule (only with fewer days off, thank goodness!), my husband is a pastor--which means that weekends are "on" for him, especially--of course--Sundays, and Saturdays usually involve some sermon prep-time. So I watch our son while he works on Saturdays, and then there's church, and finally Sunday afternoon is free for the whole family--and that's typically when I need to get back to work.

    Fortunately, this semester I don't teach on Mondays, which should allow us to actually have a few hours off together as a family. I also just hate prepping on Sunday afternoon--I always have; prep is my least favorite part of my job, to be honest, even worse than grading--so I'm happy to at least feel like my work week can start on Mondays.

    This last week was not fantastic, because I got a terrible cold that kept me out from Wed-Sat, basically. However, my undergraduate class was canceled due to low enrollment and replaced with a few "special projects" for the department. These projects will take time, of course, but they won't take up my reading time in the evenings, so I hope that this means that I can really push forward significantly with my writing this semester.

    Last week's goals:
    1) Read another big chunk of research book
    2) Get 1 week ahead on grad class reading
    3) Get back to my running schedule (MWF)
    FAILED. Got sick again. Ran on Monday, and that was all the exercise I managed.
    4) Tinker with intro and chapter 1, so that I'm at least touching my writing
    5) Make some notes on first 30 pages of research book

    This week's goals:
    1. Finish research book, including notes. That's about 25 pages/night.
    2. Schedule meeting with relevant Dean re. second project.
    3. Exercise: Not daring to plan. Just do what I can to get back on track once I'm feeling healthy enough.
    4. Outline ch. 4 section/conf. paper 2.
    5. Complete draft of book proposal.

    1. Wishing you health and a happy return to running!

    2. Not teaching Mondays sounds wonderful. There's nothing like prep for Monday to eat into the weekend.

      I hope you're feeling better.

  10. I don’t really have to worry about anyone else’s calendars - and thus no juggling is required here either. We are on a semester system - which doesn’t really affect me (except for right now that I am taking a class). My undergrad university was on the quarter system, which I far preferred - school started late Sept/early oct which is way better than starting in August (!?). I also liked briefer classes when it was a class I disliked. One challenge at my current university is that the medical side and the arts and sciences side are on different calendars. For med students there is no summer break, no spring break, no winter break. They have to provide clinical care year round. This is a challenge bc the university sees the school as being on a typical academic calendar, and everything works on that. So, food places shut down during breaks, the transit students pay for out of fees don’t provide transportation during breaks, etc. Also, when people on the medical side try to set meetings with people on the arts and sciences side, it can be frustrating bc the arts and sciences people’s calendars are shorter (I’m on a committee run by MDs, and they wanted to meet during break, which the PhD folks didn’t want to/couldn’t do). It is a challenge having two different calendars on one campus.

    I had an epiphany this week. I’m taking a grant writing class, and whenever I’m trying to figure out what to do for the day, I feel way happier when I can work on my grant than other things for my postdoc (namely working on manuscripts). I feel a little hopeless on the manuscript front - worrying that I will never be good at it and will fail as an academic because of it. But then I realized - I have written like 10 grants- including several federal ones over the past year. I'm gaining a lot of experience in that realm, and have been getting a lot of help and feedback. And as a result, I am gaining skills and confidence in that area. I need to figure out how to do this same thing for manuscripts.

    Finally, I have a question for all of you. When do you start calling people by their first name? In the field in which I have my PhD, people pretty much all go by their first name. There’s not really an awkward period when you call them Dr. ____ while you figure out when you can firstname them. But I have been working in academic medicine, and it is so hierarchical, and you basically call people Dr until they invite you to call them by their first name (at least for people with MDs - people with PhDs are different). But now that I am a PhD myself, I’m not sure how to navigate this. In particular - in this class I am taking, I don’t know whether to call the prof Dr. ____ or by their first name. The person is a PhD, but works in medicine, and is very senior and very high up there in the chain of command. What are your rules for when you call people Dr and when you use their name?

    Last week’s goals:
    1. Finish this draft of relat paper - NOT DONE, but I hit a roadblock that I was able to talk through this weekend with a mentor - so I am on the way
    2. Revise aims and strategy and work on innovation - DONE
    3. write report - MOSTLY DONE

    This week’s goals:
    1. Draft study design for grant
    2. Finish analyses and results section for relat paper
    3. Finish report
    4. Review and add to combo paper
    5. Draft huffpo piece

    1. The first name thing is always tricky, and you need to take your cues from others. If you're puzzled, just ask the prof how ze prefers to be addressed. (You can say, do you prefer Professor Jones or Dr. Jones, or FirstName?) Or you can address hir as "Dr. Jones" and wait to be told, please call me "FirstName". I've discovered that preferences on this are highly unpredictable, and no one objects to being asked.

      Can you share your epiphany with your mentor, and ask for feedback on the papers?

    2. Agreed: it's fine to ask. My own preference is for a title until either the student has earned a doctorate, or when engaging in purely social activities (ex. we meet at a dance class off campus where everyone uses first names; but then I'd revert to title on campus). I try to be clear about these preferences because anything is better than the awkward mumbles as people try to avoid direct address by anything but "you"! At least we don't have familiar/formal pronouns to worry about in English.

  11. Calendars: what an interesting question! I am another one who doesn't have to worry about school calendars, or at least not directly. I think December is the worst, when our high work load season coincides with the world's high work load. My current job, because I get invited to a lot of extra events and meetings, feels less regular than I'd like -- routine allows me to work better. (JaneB's schedule would drive me insane!)

    Last week:
    1. Finish last 30 fellowship apps. DONE
    2. Tidy desk NO
    3. Use time at favorite exotic library on Friday to write abstract, and start preparing for Monday's seminar. NO
    4. Control use of social media, which so easily sends me into a tailspin. SORT OF
    5. Don;t let myself get too sick. Let this just be a cold. HA.

    I did get sick: ear infection, bronchitis, followed by a cold. So I traveled to my favorite library to do fellowship review, and spent most time not in meetings resting in my room. I'm gradually returning to the human race, but I'm just doing the minimum. I have managed to fix my computer set-up at home so it's relatively easy.

    So my goals for this week (where I have my sister staying with me) will stay stable.

    1. Tidy desk. If I do this, I'll be at January 1.
    2. Write abstract for my outside paper
    3. Control use of social media, which so easily sends me into a tailspin.
    4. Read?

    Really, my goal will be to survive the week until Friday, which is the first day since I got sick I don't have any obligations. My sister leaves and I can curl up and veg. (I am fond of my sister, but her energy and mine don't mesh, and she's now both gluten and dairy free, which makes cooking hard for someone who almost always includes cheese in her food.)

    1. Ugh! I wish you, too, a speedy return to health. Can't you let your sister do her own cooking? Better yet, let her cook for both of you? You can add cheese on top of whatever her safe food is.

    2. I wish I could wrangle social media better, been experimenting with mute on twitter a bit which works to a point.

      Hope you feel better and full sympathies with the additional challenge of cooking for someone with extensive requirements

  12. Schedules... oooh...
    Our academic calendar is great, September to December, January-April, May-August. Most people teach the first two. If anyone ever made me teach in the summer I would quit because it would mean all my field research would be impossible.
    The worst schedule I have to juggle is elementary school. Our charming region (sarcasm) is firmly stuck in 1952 where every child has a stay-home mommy who can drop them off at 9 and pick them up at 2:15. There is exactly one decent after-school program in the whole metropolitan area and it has a waiting list several years long. But when one asks about why there are no options the answer is "well everyone just drops them off with the grandparents"... Yeah, cause we all have those in town, alive, and retired, and capable of taking care of kids etc. etc. etc... I drove me batcrap crazy when kiddo had to leave the good daycare to go to school. So the solution is to throw an enormous amount of money at the only private school in town where they open at 8 and have a brilliant after-care system where if I pick kid up early she complains that they are not done learning stuff and playing... Worth every single cent. Multiple times over! Thank you Montessori!

    I'm going to take a break from the TLQ group for a few weeks. I've been traveling, and sick, and there is more travel coming up. I need to hide for a while.
    Have a good few weeks everyone!

    1. Take care and hope you feel better soon.

  13. Hah! My solution to the name thing is to avoid using names as much as humanly possible.

    The first name thing is tricky and varies from country to country. I've always gone for 'title-last name' unless I get permission to use the 1st name (or that is how they are introduced to me by someone of equal status to me). In the UK I find things fairly relaxed and you get a sense for who wants the title, who isn't bothered. I found, in Canada, that there was a degree of obsequiousness where PhD students would call Profs 'Dr X' regardless of the scenario (to their face, or discussing without the prof being present). It felt insincere. I also found that Dr was the preferred title even when someone was a full Prof which confused me. I was also not allowed to be Dr X on business cards, rather X PhD so as not to 'confuse' with medics. It confused me for weeks.

    In the scenario you describe, I'd go for the title last-name, unless they send you some sign that first name is OK. And I wouldn't personally ask (but that's my nature), but I know people who do and it seems to work well.

    I'm always happy for students (all levels) to refer to me by long-form of first name and I try to be very clear with students that this is my preference. I dislike it when students take the liberty of shortening my name although a couple get away with it. I'm fascinated by people that have a distinct point where students may use the first name, I think it's brilliant.

    1. Sorry, comment in response to Waffles....not sure what's going on with my logins today ;)