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Sunday, 3 March 2019

Week 9: March arrives

Since the structure of TLQ is more of a unit than a month or a semester, it has its own rhythms. I try to maintain a journaling practice of reflection at the end/beginning of the month: saying thank you and farewell to the month that’s ending and welcoming the month that’s beginning. This practice gives me reason to think about what I’ve been working on and what I finished (this doubles in part as the activity report I keep for annual faculty review).  

What can you celebrate, feel satisfied with, and/or be grateful to let go of for February?  

Last week’s goals follow for check in. Keep running with the stars.  

Contingent Cassandra 
--Walk at least 2x, lift weights and stretch at least 1x each 
--Communicate with OER project group (group email; also send email to my co-coordinator that I just discovered sitting in my drafts folder) 
--Do curricular project conference poster proposal (this is now TRQ, since it's due 3/1)  
--Regroup, or at least plan to regroup, on curricular project and things more generally, including scheduling a day off as soon as midterm grades are in.  

Dame Eleanor Hull 
Health: exercise, stretch, sleep, eat safely.  
Research: keep up with language work; more translation style checking; edit introduction based on new editorial comments (last two are moving to TRQ).  
Teaching: make up new writing assignments for both classes.  
Admin: finish assembling committee questions and attend Thing.  
Life Stuff: more dull tasks (pick any three). 

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell 
Write 500 words a day.  
Draw one picture this week. 
Write and post a snippet of the novella. 
Knit half an hour a day. 

Good Enough Woman 
1) Screen candidates. Do all but about 1/8 of the rest (or finish them!) 
2) Buy plane ticket. 
3) Pay bills.  
4) Don't overdo daughter's pre-dance party, but also surrender to the dance-related duties. Don't fight it. 
5) Float like mist during Sunday movie outing with daughter and her squad. 
6) Keep up with DE class (I'm starting in the hole). 
7) Spend 45 minutes on conf. Paper. 

heu mihi 
1. Weekly accounting 
2. Language x5, write x5, sit x5, exercise x5 
3. 2000 words of fiction 
4. Tiresome admin stuff for conference 
5. Malory to p. 600 
6. Reread/revise ch. 1 (very little to do there, I hope!) and keep working on intro 
7. Allow myself not to feel tyrannized by my to-do lists 

humming42 
1 Submit TRQ book review 
2 Submit 3 article reviews 
3 Post to reading group 
4 Submit seminar draft notes 

Jane B 
1) Teaching: prepare for next week (cheating as almost finished that already), set first half of exam Qs for new module, set up resit exam for first year module 
2) self-care: take Thursday off for chores and movie watching and napping, do something not-work every evening other than stare at the phone, go to bed early every night, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, cut down refined sugar.  
3) research: Continue ProblemChild2 analysis. Model runs for FlatProject. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray (because the guilt of putting it off is probably worse than the doing it by now). deal with latest set of queries about ProblemChild1 (how did it come back in less than a week? Oh yes, Maximus Annoyingus Coauthor is RETIRED. And apparently has nothing more fun to do than quibble word by word through papers by return). put draft of grant idea firmly aside.  
4) making stuff and being creative: do yarn order for colourwork block, play with patterns.  
5) domestic chaos reduction: sort out car light. Catch up with washing up. fetch prescription. 

KJHatxon 
1. Marking 
2. Resting and getting over the cold 
3. Tackling all the small things ignored over the past few weeks 

oceangirl101 
1. Look at R and R even if you do nothing 
2. Finish reading second draft of graduate student diss and provide comments 
3. Meet with drafter to go over book figures 
4. Exercise x 3 
5. Something fun x 2 

Susan 
1. Finish and submit fellowship application 
2. Do admin work for conference in three weeks 
3. Rank graduate fellowship applicants 
4. Do 4 hours of work on collaborative project, skype with co-author 
5. Design next writing assignment for class, also final project  
6. Keep getting 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep 
7. Really get back to exercise 
8. Plan something fun for spring break. 

Waffles (carried over) 
1. Review student's paper 
2. APA grant (due Friday - ha ha) 
3. Gender review (dragging my heels bc I am likely to reject it - this will be my 4th review of this paper) 
4. Scoping review flow chart 
5. PTSD paper - pull together and figure out next steps 
6. Next steps for psych program project 
7. Next steps for couple ID analyses 

27 comments:

  1. Lovely topic! February for me was always going to be a hopelessly busy month with the albatross book chapter sailing (flying? limping?) out the door, the big outreach project done and dusted (never again), and in theory an end to a professional obligation. I had been thinking of February as a month of endings and while I'll admit it ended better in some ways than it began, the professional obligation didn't go away, and I'm still dealing with the fallout from some things that resurged. March, I hope, will be more positively productive (February felt pressurised and panicked productive) and so I hope a bit more enjoyable.

    This last week:
    1. Marking - DONE
    2. Resting and getting over the cold - Yes, doing it but still not shaking the cold off
    3. Tackling all the small things ignored over the past few weeks - there was more than I thought.

    I've marked one thing, got another to finish.

    This coming week:
    1. finish the marking
    2. prep the classes for the week after
    3. draft outlines for new paper
    4. continue to deal with the small things.

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    1. For February's short and harried, you got a lot done! The "tackling all the small things" offers so many vivid images, like sweeping up crumbs or the scattered pages across the desk and on the floor after editing...I think there should be a name for being in that mode.

      Is it a symptom of academia that things never seem to end but drag their fallout around like ugly tails? I had this naive idea (and still sometimes do) that every semester and every academic year would be a fresh start, letting us leave the yuck behind.

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    2. I didn't get to say it last week, but nice to "see" you again, KJHaxton! I hope March will be practically perfect in every way. :)

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  2. February can go ahead and let the door hit it on the arse on its way out. It started out fine but turned nasty at the end, with a friend hospitalized for the third time in as many weeks, the death of a grad student's father, and the whoosh of a deadline as it went by. It seemed like I was just lurching from day to day without ever getting to important stuff because of the urgent. March, well, I'd love March to be better but I'm wary. At least there's a week of spring break to look forward to, though I wish I were going somewhere nice.

    How I did:

    Health: exercise, stretch, sleep, eat safely. OK on food, not nearly enough of the others.
    Research: keep up with language work; more translation style checking; edit introduction based on new editorial comments (last two are moving to TRQ). YES, NO, MINIMAL.
    Teaching: make up new writing assignments for both classes. YES.
    Admin: finish assembling committee questions and attend Thing. YES.
    Life Stuff: more dull tasks (pick any three). Does delegating one to Sir John count?

    New goals:

    Health: exercise, stretch, sleep, eat safely.
    Research: keep up with language work; more translation style checking; edit introduction based on new editorial comments.
    Teaching: Check off in-class writing.
    Admin: prep for meeting; write a letter.
    Life Stuff: Deposit, pay bills, assemble tax stuff. Use and look at calendar regularly. Pull self together.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear February was complicated by difficult things. Bolt the door now that it's gone! Finding that balance of wariness where you have your guard up but can still welcome things tentatively is a challenge.

      Delegating to Sir John counts as a task completed.

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    2. Spring always seems so much harder than the fall semester time management wise. Enjoy what down time you can over Spring Break.

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    3. I'm with you on February. Just....

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  3. I also have a month end/start ritual - on the nearest weekend, I sit down with my journal, my diary and my "work common-place book" and look back and forward, note things for my review etc.! when I'm feeling organised, I make a pretty page in my journal in "bullet journal" style using coloured pens. This time it was quite dispiriting because I had an impression that February was the crunch I had to get through and March would be lighter, with more breathing space. Nope! Although February was a "scramble through it hand to mouth" month and I AM now a week ahead on new class prep rather than a day ahead (thanks solely to the nature of team teaching which means I handed my new modules over to others and the stuff that is keeping me busy last week and this is for modules I've taught before so I only need to rejig things, not write them) that won't last, and March is looking like a long, grim haul. I'm having trouble with my patience (exhausted), nerves (on last one and people seem determined to jump on it with hobnail boots), sarcasm (keeping internal) and temper (not letting stupid question 20 get the ire accumulated over questions 1-19, but giving it the same kind response). Last week was bad, and I've spent most of the weekend in a kind of recovering haze of sullenness... But new month, new bad attitude and all that!

    last week's goals:
    1) Teaching: prepare for next week, set first half of exam Qs for new module, set up resit exam for first year module Yes, no, no
    2) self-care: take Thursday off for chores/movie watching/napping, do something not-work every evening other than stare at phone, go to bed early every night, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, cut down refined sugar. Yesish - I took Thursday off, but did not do chores which are now very urgent (did not do them this weekend either). Watched a movie, read some frivolous stuff, slept a lot. Played with the cat. Ish. No. Mostly. No! Which isn't great. But I kind of reached a throw-hands-in-air walk-out level of doneness on Wednesday afternoon (not coincidentally the first Departmental Staff Meeting of the new order) and fell back onto many bad habits to try and perform as if I was still faintly coherent and adult, and then to self-sooth
    3) research: Continue ProblemChild2 analysis. Model runs for FlatProject. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray (because the guilt of putting it off is probably worse than the doing it by now). deal with latest set of queries about ProblemChild1 (how did it come back in less than a week? Oh yes, Maximus Annoyingus Coauthor is RETIRED. And apparently has nothing more fun to do than quibble word by word through papers by return). put draft of grant idea firmly aside. Yes, Yes and making good progress, no, yes (just spent 2.5 hours on Skype with former-PDF to do this because Sunday evening was the only slot we were both free this week. Ugh.), Yes
    4) making stuff and being creative: do yarn order for colourwork block, play with patterns. no
    5) domestic chaos reduction: sort out car light. Catch up with washing up. fetch prescription. yes, no, no

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    1. Not a great week. Hoping for a better one on the self-care front to come - that has to be top priority, I'm NOT angry with myself so I need to stop with the self-harming self-soothing and try and do something before I slide into a proper depression (I did, when I woke up feeling awful on Saturday, declare it a day when I would buy a particular kind of easy guilty pleasure read for my Kindle and my sole job for the day was to read the whole thing. Which was good - guilty pleasure reads read in big lumps are immersive, and reading a book was a Thing Done where noodling around on the internet is not. And I do feel a bit better today despite all the inappropriate food which fell into my online shopping basket friday, were delivered saturday afternoon, and are now nearly aaaaaalllll gone. If I were a drinking woman I would have quite the hangover... I anticipate a many-bathroom-visits couple of days coming...).

      New goals:
      1) self-care: FETCH PRESCRIPTION, do something not-work every evening other than stare at phone, go to bed early, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, cut down refined sugar.
      2) making stuff and being creative: do yarn order for colourwork block, play with patterns.
      3) domestic chaos reduction: Catch up with washing up. Buy birthday card(s).
      4) Teaching: prepare for next week (shouldn't be too bad), set first half of exam Qs for new module, set up resit exam for first year module, plan redesign of two first year modules (sigh)
      5) research: Continue ProblemChild2 analysis. Model runs for FlatProject. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray. put draft of grant idea firmly aside.

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    2. These are very busy weeks! Being mindful of your state of being is so important and a first step to good self care. I think often of my therapist friend who used to always scold me teasingly, saying, "No, the only thing you need to do this weekend is breathe. Just breathe." That we internalize the rabid demands for productivity is absurd. As if the person who wins is the one who continues running in circles while the rest of us step off the wheel, exhausted.

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  4. I like the idea of that kind of reflection. February involved some major kid things, and those went fairly smoothly. I just finished screening a large applicant pool, and I like having that behind me. However, March is going to be a challenge. I have to finish the hiring process (which includes getting subs for my classes or canceling them), go through some peak grading weeks, write a conference paper, etc. I've got some big hurdles, and I need to make sure they don't trip me up with my day-to-day work.

    Last week:
    1) Screen candidates. Do all but about 1/8 of the rest (or finish them!). I FINISHED!!
    2) Buy plane ticket. DONE.
    3) Pay bills. MOSTLY DONE.
    4) Don't overdo daughter's pre-dance party, but also surrender to the dance-related duties. Don't fight it. I DID THIS SO WELL!
    5) Float like mist during Sunday movie outing with daughter and her squad. TOTALLY.
    6) Keep up with DE class (I'm starting in the hole). NOT AT ALL. I'M SO BEHIND.
    7) Spend 45 minutes on conf. Paper. NOPE.

    This week, a lot of essays come in, so the grading is going to get heavy, but I really need to catch up with my DE training.

    1) Bake something for daughter's school Open House and sign up ahead of time for a volunteer slot.
    2) Catch up with DE training, including backing up my laptop and upgrading software.
    3) 1 hour on conference paper
    4) Walk the dog once or twice.
    5) Finish self-evaluation.
    6) Take son to aquarium store.

    If I can do those things while keeping up with grading/prep/service, that would be great!

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    1. Much floating like mist! It's interesting to note how priorities and realities change as we move through the semester and year--for ourselves as well as for the significant people in our lives. The shifting demands of teaching/grading/marking, parenting, dealing with change of seasons and weather issues, planning ahead for conferences, hirings, sabbaticals, vacations.

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  5. What can you celebrate, feel satisfied with, feel grateful with: I am making some strides in sorting out what my new life will look like after both my parents deaths. I am getting some clarity on how to disentangle myself from my toxic relationship with my only remaining sibling- its very hard and sad but ultimately the best thing for me. I am also getting clarity on how the pace of my work right now is slow and how that just has to be ok. This includes my ongoing struggle with the book- I have decided to stay here and not do fieldwork for a second summer to get more writing done. It was a hard decision (fieldwork is soooo much more fun than writing) but the right one. I now have things ten years out (eeks!) that I have not published, so it does not seem right to generate more data when I cannot keep up with the data that I have.

    Last week:
    1. Look at R and R even if you do nothing - Yes! Did something too, hired a specialist to crunch some data for me, so it should go relatively quick now to finalize this.
    2. Finish reading second draft of graduate student diss and provide comments - Yes
    3. Meet with drafter to go over book figures - No
    4. Exercise x 3 No, x 2
    5. Something fun x 2 Yes

    My trip to the beach was restorative but a reminder that I need to keep working at making more friends. I have not had the head space as of yet to dive back into that, but come this summer I might.

    This week:
    1. Complete text small Encyclo entry
    2. Work with drafter on Book figures and Encyclo entry
    3. Look at Ch 3 outline of book and spend two days organizing notes/outlining and/or writing bits
    4. Work on conference paper - crunch numbers for 3 hrs
    5. Meet with GIS paper about future grant writing/student research project
    6. Fun x 2
    7. Exercise x 3
    8. Handyman out to house to do some projects, start to think about summer gardening

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    1. Captain Awkward is very good on toxic families and sibling relationships. She just did a post on dialing back contact with difficult sisters. The commentary will make you feel like you have lots of company in this situation.

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    2. DEH thanks so much for recommending that posting. The advice was good and you are right, it is comforting somehow to know that others find themselves in the same situation, as it can seem surreal sometimes.

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    3. My parents are elderly and my sister has a deeply codependent relationship with our mom. Looking into the future, I know this is going to be a difficult transition for me with my sister so I am grateful to know there is wisdom out there from experienced folk.

      I hope there will be ways to make writing a pleasure this summer (for me too!). This gets me thinking about how to set plans to look forward to and to get things done that are very TLQ.

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    4. I have data from 1996 still waiting to be written up. Stupid perverse incentives of writing more and more grants etc....

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  6. A quick check in. February...I don't know what it was. It was slow and steady, getting things done, feeling pretty together. And now March, with the Looming Deadline, feels like chaos! I'm in a whirlwind! Really hopeful that after the book is submitted (in about 2 weeks) I can take a breath, but then it'll be April, and we all know how that goes.

    Exercise has become scattershot with the cold weather, the snow, and the on-campus requirements of a job search (I'm not on the committee but we have candidates around). Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and Husband is performing the service, so that's a thing.

    One good thing that I started doing last week, though, was altering my morning schedule. This won't be sustainable once I start running in the mornings again (likely in April or thereabouts), but for now, I'm getting up at 5:30 or 6 to write/edit until 7, when the morning circus begins. Bonaventure's bus picks him up at 7:55, however, and I don't ever need to leave for campus that early, so I've been sitting at about 8 am--letting my eyes rest on the distant view of mountains through the bare and snowy trees as I do so. It's quite lovely and also helps me to feel as though I haven't missed the whole day, visually.

    Last week:
    1. Weekly accounting: 44 productive hours, research 26%, teaching 56%, service 18%
    2. Language x5 -YES, write x5 -YES, sit x5 -x4, exercise x5 -x3
    3. 2000 words of fiction -1348 words, then stopped working on it for now
    4. Tiresome admin stuff for conference - DONE
    5. Malory to p. 600 - NO
    6. Reread/revise ch. 1 (very little to do there, I hope!) and keep working on intro -YES
    7. Allow myself not to feel tyrannized by my to-do lists - Just dropped most everything but writing on Friday, and that was A-OK

    This week is the week leading up to break, and I'm going minimal:

    1. Weekly accounting
    2. Write 2 hours a day (10 total)
    3. Sit
    4. Yoga x2, run once if I can
    5. Grade all the things by the end of Sunday so that I can just write over break

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    1. You have many transitions and transformations coming--finishing the book manuscript, changes to morning routines and more to come. If you're in the US but not in Arizona or Hawaii, the coming weekend brings the return of daylight savings time. Having sunrise an hour later can also send some waves through morning practices.

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  7. February: not sure what I'd celebrate, because like Dame Eleanor, it just kept coming at me. It was when the reality that I am doing too much service hit me multiple times. Perhaps the only good thing is that it also made me think about how I disengage, what I care about and what I don't. I'm not sure March will be better, but the conference I'm organizing here will be in 2 1/2 weeks, and once that's done, it will be one BIG thing off my list.

    Goals from last week:
    1. Finish and submit fellowship application DONE
    2. Do admin work for conference in three weeks SOME OF IT
    3. Rank graduate fellowship applicants NO (we got an extension)
    4. Do 4 hours of work on collaborative project, skype with co-author NO, will talk Friday
    5. Design next writing assignment for class, also final project No, but I have it in my head!
    6. Keep getting 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep NO -- it was a terrible week, that include several nights of 3-4 hours of sleep. Worst was when I saw an email that made me made flash on my iPad just before I went to sleep and thus raged about it for hours.
    7. Really get back to exercise NO: rain, wind, no sleep.
    8. Plan something fun for spring break. NOT YET -- still working on it.

    THe number of different demands on me is just exhausting, and all have come together. The chair that makes me crazy helped me decide how I'm going to handle that, by finishing a couple of tasks and then stepping down. I know I'm frazzled, but it's just not healthy.
    The positive spin on this is that I've spent a good bit of time figuring out how to have a more balanced life. For Lent, I'm going to put an automatic email response that says I won't necessarily respond between 5 PM and 9 AM, or on weekends; I'm also not going to take my iPad to bed. This will reduce facebook and twitter use, and get me back to reading... and walking, though Daylight Savings Time will bring us back to dark mornings, which I do not like...

    Anyway, for next week:
    1. Work on collaborative piece on THursday and Friday: save late afternoon for grading and other admin tasks
    2. Do fellowship apps
    3. Keep up with conference details
    4. FInish other admin stuff on GE
    5. Catch up on email, which has once again multiplied...
    6. Walk twice
    7. Get into reading
    8. Get good sleep

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    1. I hear you. A difficult part of Overwhelm is when it brings along its charming friend, Resentment. I think many of struggle with disengaging (as seen in different ways here at TLQ quite a bit) because it's not what are social trained to do, as women and also as "teachers." Your Lent plans sound like an excellent remedy.

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  9. I've been absent because I went from submitting my K to submitting another grant (very small, very low chance of funding bc they only choose one a year to fund and they provide no feedback so you have no way of knowing how to improve your chances next year), and then went into a slump. I've just been working on urgent things or things for other people.

    My mentor keeps pressuring me about the papers I have in the queue. It would be ok if she pressured me about one paper - but she is pressuring me about multiple all at the same time. I looked at my to do list today and felt nauseated. I am having a crisis of confidence and doubt my skills, my path, feel a bit hopeless about my future - and really wish I had a mentor I could talk to about these things. When I try to talk to my mentor, she just says, "fix yourself" (literally) which makes me feel like there is something wrong with me (despite knowing the things I struggle with aren't unique) and make me feel like I can't talk about the things I need to with her.

    So, my goal for this week is to choose one manuscript, make a super detailed list of what I need to do to make it good enough to send to a co-author - and make a detailed plan for when I will get each of those pieces done.

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    1. Firstly, yay for getting things submitted! And of course a slump followed, it's normal, you need to rest and recover from the high octane of submission deadlines.

      Your mentor is no doubt reacting to her own stresses and pressures, but that sounds so unhelpful! YOU aren't broken, you are a human finding your way in a system which is deeply flawed, Kafkaesque, and systematically biased against you both as an early career researcher and in all the other ways you can list. It's HARD, OK? It's flipping hard as a mid career researcher with a continuing contract...

      Academia selects for thoughtful, self-critical people who always think they could/should/ought to do a little better - then it makes them compete to a ridiculous degree for everything. Some become - or at least wear the mask of - super confident and indeed arrogant, and get rewarded for that especially if male, but a lot of darned good people spend their time worrying they aren't good enough and doubting their right to even exist in the spaces of science and learning, and that is just ridiculous! Thoughtful, growth-minded people who believe that they have more to learn are exactly the people who belong in those spaces, it's just that sometimes things are very hard for them.

      Be kind to yourself. You get to recover from a tough few months, you get to be proud of the submitted K, you get to have some off days without there being anything wrong with your skills or your right to be where you are. Futures and paths are harder - especially in the current political climate - but that's ALSO something to not think about until you are over the post-application slump - thinking and planning when you're in a low is I've found not very effective - the same way that planning when everything is going great ALWAYS fails because you get over-ambitious and assume you will always feel as good as you feel now.

      Your plan for the week sounds perfect, just what I would recommend. It does sound like your preference for one thing at a time isn't very compatable with your mentor or with your current situation, and to be honest that too is pretty normal, indeed is a GOOD sign at this stage in your career as it shows you are being productive, engaged in multiple projects etc. But that doesn't make it easy to manage. I find I need to do a lot of triage, and do it often - trying to organise work into "piles of like things" (grouped mostly by what level of energy and attention they need and if there's a particular place they need to be worked on) then deciding which is the most urgent in each pile and just trying to keep things moving. Eventually some will get to the end of the conveyor belt and turn into a c.v. line!

      Everyone human has periods of doubt, if you don't there's probably something wrong (i.e. you are lying to yourself, completely non-introspective, or possibly just very unaware of anything outside your own little bubble). The most confident and successful people tend to do it relatively quickly and privately, some of us do it all over our blogs for what feels like months at a time, but we all do it! Virtual hugs from an internet stranger, and strong encouragement to go to a nice coffee shop or buy yourself a little treat to have at home if you prefer, and call it a small celebration of being who and where you are. It's good enough!

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    2. Excellent response, JaneB. I feel like I should print it out and post it by my desk, as it applies not just to people starting out but to many of us!

      BTW, has anyone done something to settings, or is blogger acting up again? I can only comment when I log in, not with name/URL.

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    3. Thank you so much, JaneB. My mentor has so many balls in the air she barely remembers what she has going on. On top of it, she is traveling 60% of the time (one of the deans calculated this from her calculator) and is currently gone for a month. She's successful, but her role on projects is not as first author -and I'm not sure she remembers anymore what being a first author is really like. The projects she is pushing me on are all first authored manuscripts. I think I can juggle a variety of projects that are different or on which I have different roles, but first authored projects really require full concentration from me.

      This morning I figured out a plan where I can move forward on 2 first authored pubs, so that feels good.

      Thank you for your support!

      Dame Eleanor- I constantly have challenges with logging in. Also suddenly I suck at captchas again after having seemingly mastered them for weeks on end!

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