the grid

the grid

Sunday 29 April 2018

Stoke Builds Stoke (Short Session--Week 3)

Last week, Daisy mentioned that this year she has created a strong, regular writing practice. She said that research and writing success has increased her motivation for research and writing* and that (with tenure) she has established limits for teaching and service so that she protects her good writing time. For this week, maybe we can reflect on recent practices that have helped us improve our progress with TLQ. Or maybe we need to think back to past practices that worked but that have fallen by the wayside. In short, what are one or two concrete things do you do (or have done and might do again) that really could help you with your short session goals for productivity or wellbeing?

I also want to again congratulate heu mihi on receiving tenure. Huzzah!

*When I used to surf, we'd always talk about how the more you surf, the more you want to surf. Our phrase for this was "stoke builds stoke."

1) Finish figures for paper!
2) Plan out new paper :)

Self-care: the usual, plus 25 knee pushups with good form.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; start the next one. Go over proofs. Work on teaching and research statements for Full application.
Teaching: grade two sets of papers; write a final exam. 
Admin: prep for meeting; fill out some paperwork.
House/Life: pay two bills; reconcile accounts; call plumber; clear a desk.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Cull out the materials to pack for the sabbatical office.
Finish packing for the move to the future office.
Proofread the edition 1 hour x 5.
Transcribe handwritten notes 1 hour x 5.
Plan sabbatical, remembering the adage that living well is the best revenge.

1) Support daughter and comfort her if things don't go her way, but without taking on all of her emotions.
2) Integrate feedback on article to get it ready to submit.
3) Schedule son's b-day dinner. 
4) Order son's b-day gifts.
5) Exercise twice.
6) Write 500 words of fiction.
7) Oh, yeah: Do all the things I need to do to host a pre-dance party for a pack of seventh grade girls (without going overboard or feeling the need to have the same quality of food that the other mom had when she hosted).
8) Try to remember what the things that's going on this Saturday that I've forgotten.

heu mihi
1. Take some contemplative time to think about what I want/need to do to make myself feel like less of a mess. (Mostly I just need to make it to May 2, but I’d still like to plan and get organized.)
2. Exercise within reason. Don’t be hard on myself. Take walks when possible (the weather is good).
3. Prep final classes, including next week’s.
4. Complete Gen Ed reviews.
5. Touch research/writing in some way.
6. Prepare for graduate student’s oral exams (next Tuesday).
7. Grade batch of papers.
8. Get all of this done so that I can enjoy family time on Saturday.

1 Proofread manuscript page proofs
2 Write index

1) submit GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted
2) do SOMETHING non work other than eat, mess with phone and stress about work when I get home in the evening
3) fill out big form for SocietyTHing as far as possible
4) read latest version of SurprisePaper and edit for English.

Saturday 21 April 2018

The Promise Of Spring (short session week 2)

Hello everyone!  Whilst last week had its share of annoying and bad stuff, we had three days of glorious blue skies and sunshine in my part of the UK, and suddenly some colleagues started being kind and reasonable again and all the students appeared in summer dresses and shorts and flipflops and the flowerbeds were full of bees.  It was SO NICE.  Back to cooler weather and rain next week, but just remembering what it's like when the weather is kind was a treat.

And on the bright side, summer is starting to feel like it might actually happen in an academic sense too.  I taught the last set of statistics classes for the year, and the field day I've been organising for what seems like MONTHS now fell on a really sunny day so everyone was very positive and happy, and all the students that went on the trip came back from the trip in roughly the same state as they left, just a little more sun-touched and ice-cream-full (and hopefully also notebook-full).  Although there are nearly two months to go until actual academic year summer starts, I suddenly feel like there's a good chance I'll make it there reasonably safely and sanely.  Sunshine is amazing stuff after a long winter!* 

So this week, let's talk about the little signs of hope and shoots of green we might be spotting in our TLQ lives - signs that a new idea will bear fruit, that an article is coming together, that our new habits are beginning to make a difference.  What are the little things that make you happy or optimistic, regardless of all the muddy, cruddy, infuriating things in the world?
Last week's goals:

1) Finish all marking (piles of term papers, and matching piles of exams that will show up on Thursday)
2) Send festering paper to coauthors after two more days of good work on it
3)Finish end of term accounting

Dame Eleanor Hull
Self-care as usual, plus try to get to 20 knee-pushups.
Research: 1000 lines translation; finish sorting out the image problems; start statements on teaching and research; submit something to my RL writing group.
Teaching: grade two sets of papers, write last paper assignment, start writing final exam.
House/Life: call the plumber, file some papers, visit storage to look for box I should not have packed.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Give my colleagues in interlibrary loan job security for the next week. Order at least thirty articles.
Scan at least twenty previously photocopied articles.
Call for recommendation for orthopedic surgeon.
Proofread the edition 1 hour x 5.
Transcribe handwritten notes 1 hour x 5.

Good Enough Woman
1) Implement restructuring of Spy article. Write new transitional paragraphs and topic sentences. Get a solid new draft.
2) Write 500 words of fiction.
3) Contact folks about son's birthday dinner.
4) Exercise twice.
5) Read poems for poetry contest.

heu mihi
1) Submit receipts for last week's conference.
2) Complete Gen Ed reviews.
3) Read student's thesis? (Defense is next Monday and I don't have half of it yet.)
4) Last-minute giant assessment task
5) Exercise as possible, but let myself slack off if need to.

1 answer questions on copy edit for chapter
2 do some lit review for Decoding
3 read DMB article
4 contact authors re reading group
5 finish current book and write review

1) talk to the rest of the group about GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted, create plan
2) do SOMETHING non work other than eat, mess with phone and stress about work when I get home in the evening
3) send emails about SocietyTHing
4) read latest version of a paper whose nickname I have forgotten

1. Finish long overdue book review
2. Do some reading for Witch
3. Enter admin stuff into website
4. Keep walking. Every day
5. Get on a good sleep schedule

* to anyone reading in the southern hemisphere, apologies for the northern-centrism

Saturday 14 April 2018

The Grass is Greener (Week 1)

In California, we had a "March Miracle" (or "Miracle March"?) and got enough rain to make up for a dry winter. I loved (almost) every minute of the rain, and I'm sad that we probably won't see much more of it for a while.  For me, it doesn't get much better that reading a book, drinking tea, and listening to the rain, especially since those moments are rare.

But now, the sun is out, the days are longer, and the hills are startlingly green, and though I miss the rain, I feel a new spring in my step and some increase in my TLQ mojo. I'm going to try to use that mojo to tackle some TLQ goals that I've neglected for most of the last two sessions. It feels like a fresh start even though my academic year is coming to an end.

What about you? Is this short-ish session (April 14 to June 8) going to be a time for a new beginning? Or will it be an opportunity to tie up loose ends for projects or goals on which you've already made good progress? Or maybe you just want to keep up a steady pace?

For this week, indicate what kind of session this is for you (if you wish to) and state your session goals as well as your goals for the week.

The difference the winter rain makes (without it, the hills stay brown all year):

Right now it looks likes this:

Sunday 8 April 2018

The plan

I'm taking it on myself to sum up plans made in the comments to the last post; please correct me if I've got any of this wrong.

There will be a short TLQ session to run 14 April-8 June, eight weeks, hosted by JaneB and GoodEnoughWoman (Susan also offered to co-host).

There will then be a longer summer session hosted by Elizabeth Anne Mitchell and Dame Eleanor Hull. If we start immediately after the short session, and go to 31 August, that will be twelve weeks. Some of the North Americans will already be back to teaching at that point, but if we cut it off before the start of the fall term, it will scarcely be longer than the short session.

In any case, I find it can be useful to run sessions without too much regard to the academic calendar. For example, if one has established good habits during a break, maintaining them after the break may be easier (at least for the first few weeks) when they are still session goals.

If anyone needs to get log-on credentials, contact JaneB. I think her e-mail is somewhere in the comments to some TLQ post, sometime, but I couldn't tell you where!

Monday 2 April 2018

Week 13: Wrapping it up

Almost forgot to do this--Easter overtook my weekend in a serious way. I'll tell you about it later.

But this is our last week, so it's time to look back on both your week's goals and your session goals (both are listed below--I apologize if I left anyone out!). How did it go? Any observations or conclusions about this session? And also: Who would like to host next?

Last week's goals:

1. Prep stuff for a grad research assistant to do. I've never really been successful using grad research assistants, but I'm going to try again. (Usually, they barely do what I ask, so it's sort of useless.) I'm going to give this one a pretty specific task to start, and hope she can do it.

1) Read and comment on student’s complete thesis (yay for student, lots of work went into that!)
2) Get back to Local Project Paper and see how much still needs to be done, and then do something about it! Anything would be better than the great pile of nothing that happened the last few weeks…

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, safe eating.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x.
Teaching: write/post last two writing assignments for the semester (!).
House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away at the sorting and tidying.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Start taxes (if I get the form I'm waiting for).
2) Finish Brit Lit essays by Thursday (to free up break a little bit and make students happy)
3) 2 brainstorming/writing for novel (at least one hour of actually drafting)
4) Make both family and productivity plans for spring break.
5) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
6) Savor quality time/moments with kids.

Heu Mihi:
1. Two hours of reading grad work
2. Write 5 hours (on Wonder; includes research time)
3. Meditate some amount
4. Begin grading incoming papers right away or close to it
5. Full slate of exercise (run x 3, yoga x 2)

1 Finish and submit next book review
2 Complete article peer review 
3 Try again to establish some incremental deadlines
4 Do something with Jewel article

1. Do some desk clearing
2. Finish overdue book review
3. Keep working on the short essay Witch
4. Do at least one hour of work on new book, Author
5. Get back to pleasure reading
6. Continue my walking, making 10,000 steps every day.

Session goals:

1. Big one, for sabbatical, think about an adventure (or two)
2. Read a book of poetry (for fun)
3. Finish writing a review letter
4. Prep for writing a second review letter
5. Practice violin: work on bowing, especially!
6. Exercise at least a bit every day (shoveling counts...)

1: Finish and submit local project paper LP
2: Write up and submit two first-author articles on Fabulous Northern Project FNP
3: Write my parts of two co-authored pieces on Other FNP
4: Do preliminary work for New Northern Project NNP so that field season goes brilliantly

Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Research: get through my share of translation revision, so that by early April the whole translation team is at the same point w/r/t the final draft. Do one more set of article revisions. Consult with colleagues regarding application for full professorship. Keep up with language study in two dead and two modern languages.
2. Teaching: Plan fun and manageable courses; keep up with grading and prep (one new course this spring); have a colleague observe a class.
3. Self-care: take care of some medical and dental appointments; regular exercise and stretching; food prep as necessary for healthy, safe eating. Do fun things regularly.
4. House and Life Stuff: gather tax documents and hand them over to accountant; replace some more windows, finish the decluttering, have the house photographed and list it; visit my dad and deal with parental/family stuff as necessary; make a list of stuff that I will do later in the year (2nd through 4th quarters). 

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell:
Session mantra: Contemplate, breathe, center
Plan what libraries to visit in what countries, and when.
Coordinate the outline for Prudence with the schedule.
Work up to 5 miles of walking every day.
Knit 2 shawls, and 2 pairs of socks.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Develop chapter four of PhD thesis into an article. I'm calling this project "Jenny."
2) Read three SF/F novels and five SF/F short stories (to continue prep for Spring 2019 science fiction class).
3) Develop four new family-dinner recipes that are plant- and fiber-heavy.
4) Walk 45min, 3x per week. Occasional swimming and yoga.
5) Clean out my stuff in the garage left over from summer re-organizing.
6) Tidy work office.
7) Finish outfitting home office/studio/witch hut.

heu mihi:
-Write conference paper (for March)
-Revise old conference paper into the beginning of an article
-Move forward on a creative writing project--either the novel I wrote in 2006/07, or my NaNo mess.
-Make things! Slippers, beer (my brand-new hobby), knitting projects to use up old yarn, paper, books--whatever I want. I like the idea of a craft-a-month that KJ Haxton mentions above; I'm going to adopt it.
-Meditate. Keep trying.

1 meet deadlines in all aspects of life
2 submit Jewel article
3 submit Buildings article
4 make significant progress on Tiny Project
5 write tiny pitch for Tiny Project
6 set and meet incremental deadlines for 2018 projects

1. Make progress on all the lovely chocolates we got as gifts this holiday. This is definitely a marathon not a sprint :) Currently they are piled up in order of expiration date!
2. Walk regularly and try to find some other kind of tolerable exercise.
3. Organise 2 outreach events with external funding, plan 2 outreach events for May
4. Get into new role at work.
5. Submit opinion article and one research article.
6. complete a craft project each month

1. Way outside project: it's almost done -- I'll finish the substantive stuff today (I think) and then I have to do permissions.
2. Big lecture. I'm giving a keynote at a conference in March, and need to write it. I'll give the same talk in the UK a few weeks before, so I basically have February to do this
3. Polemic: I want to write a polemic on a topic that folks are interested in, drawing on my scholarship. I imagine this as short (30-40,000 words). My goal for the spring is to get a solid outline and draft the first chapter. I may do more, but that's doable.
4. Home: I want to deal with some of the clutter I'm living with. My desk is the first goal, but there's the guest room and the second study which might become a den if I dealt with stuff. 
5. Health: I want to keep moving, eat well, and sleep c. 7 hours a night. 
6. Recreation: read for pleasure; see friends. Do something each week.