November 2, 2011, 9:45 am
Yesterday I had to turn in a major administrative report, one that took about six weeks to prepare and required bending nearly 400 people to my will. (My spouse says this makes me the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel. I like that.) As a result, there are many, many tasks that I put off until November 2: manuscripts to review, a paper to revise and resubmit, encyclopedia chapters that I agreed to write, emails to answer…
What I'd rather be doing right now.
Now I’m sitting here, staring rather blankly at my computer screen wondering where to start. I feel like my brain is broken. It’s like a work hangover. I know I should just put down the Halloween candy, close Firefox, open up any one of these files, and just get started. But all I want to do is go back home, get under the covers, and finish reading…
October 27, 2011, 7:06 am
Disclaimer: Note that the title is not “how to get people to DO what you want” – obviously I am no authority on that topic. These tips are just for getting people to acknowledge that you made a request and increase the likelihood that they will do it.
Pro tip: Catfighting is never a very effective way to get what you want.
I spend much of my energy trying to collect information: research reports, budget numbers, statistics on software downloads, names of people who will attend events, etc. I also need people to do things, like send out my press releases, give seminar talks, or show up to meetings. After more than a year in this job, I’ve discovered several things that seem to be pretty effective for getting what I want.
1. Never send your request on a Friday afternoon. It will get buried over the…
October 18, 2011, 12:53 pm
A well-deserved rest after submitting a manuscript.
My favorite moment of research is right after I hit the “submit” button on a journal’s article submission website. I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that I don’t have to worry about that project for a few weeks or months. I move the folder with all of the paper’s files out of my “active research” folder on my computer and into my “in review” folder. I can take the whole category off of my to-do list. Sure, having a paper accepted is a lovely moment too, but for some reason that first moment after submission is extra-special to me.
But the manuscripts always come back to you, which is my least favorite moment in research. Whenever I see that email in my inbox with the words “Decision on manuscript…” in the title, my chest…
October 6, 2011, 10:54 am
Wow, you guys. That was intense… In case you missed the madness, my last post was featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed the other day, which brought over 3000 visitors. Holy crap!
So: Welcome, new readers! I hope you will enjoy what you find here. But right now, I’m off to Europe on vacation for a week!! My default comment setting is that new commenters go into the moderation queue, so if you comment for the first time over the next week, it’ll be a few days before your comment gets approved. Don’t worry, I’m not ignoring you!
I’ll be back in a week. Perhaps I’ll post some pictures. But now I must finish packing.
October 4, 2011, 11:55 am
In the Chronicle yesterday, there was a nice piece about “procrastination productivity” that several of my friends posted to Facebook – about all the things you get done because they are a distraction from the real things you have to get done, and while they make you look like you are being productive, you know the truth.
I am very familiar with that tactic, but I have another one that’s even worse. Fake productivity, or “fauxductivity” as I like to think of it, is where you surround yourself with accoutrements of productivity and busyness so not only does it look like you are busy and important but you are hoping to trick your brain into acknowledging the need to get work done and then spend extra time doing it.
I am in a very importantly busy stage at work right now, and I have given in to my favorite fauxductivity trick (well, it’s less of a trick and more of an affectation): I…
September 28, 2011, 11:00 am
Hey you guys! Guess what, guess what! I’m moving to the Chronicle Blog Network!
I know, I know. You hate it when people do that. You think it’s inconvenient to get a new login in order to comment, you don’t like the new location, and for some reason you think bloggers are less genuine or something when they’re hosted by a big network. I get it, I do. But I like the Chronicle, and I think it’s important that non-traditional academic types like myself are represented in these forums. I’m incredibly pleased to have been invited to do just that.
If you read this blog through an RSS reader, all you have to do is update the feed address and nothing will change. They will never put the blogs behind a subscription wall, and they have no editorial control over what I write. Plus they’re designing a snappy logo for me.
I have decided that it’s best for me to maintain my pseudonymity over there….
September 23, 2011, 9:05 am
Getting a group of faculty members together to accomplish something has often been compared to herding cats. I disagree. When I want to get my cats all into one room to do something at the same time, all I have to do is stand in my kitchen, open a can of Friskies, and yell “Num nums!”
Cats, neatly lined up. Completely unlike faculty.
Not so with faculty. If you have, say, 20 professor cats, and you would like them all to arrive in the same place at the same time, you can’t just send out a general email to all 20 of them that says “Num nums will be served in the kitchen at 6 pm.” Most professor cats will just delete that email, if they see it at all. Only 2 or 3 professor cats will show up – the ones with the most interest in num nums and the most criticisms to offer. They will spend the whole time coming…
September 16, 2011, 12:27 pm
I understand and accept the usefulness of email “away” messages. But I must admit it drives me crazy when someone emails me, and I hit “reply” and send a prompt response, only to get their “away” message in return.
Especially when the away message says “I will return on September 9 and respond to your email as soon as possible”… and it’s September 15.
September 9, 2011, 8:53 am
In grad school and later, I often heard people say that it was important to have a well-rounded life and interests outside of academe. My response to such statements, which I usually kept to myself, was that I could have a well-rounded life after I got a job. And really, what did I need a well-rounded life for anyway? I was already doing what I loved, right?
Well. At some point during my postdoc, my career really did stop being “enough” for me. I had stopped wanting to do (or being mentally capable of doing) work at all hours of the day and all days of the week, which sometimes left me with empty evening hours, unsure of what to do with myself before bedtime. But I was still stressed out about and focused on getting a tenure track job, so I guess I tended to fill those hours with worrying and obsessively searching the job listings.
Anyway, I’ve been in my happy new job for over a year …
August 30, 2011, 7:10 am
So, my horrible paper that I have submitted to four journals finally got a revise and resubmit this time, hooray! The trouble is, it is a very big revision that they have requested. Fine, fine, I’ll do it, even though it is extremely painful.
The journal has given me two months to revise and resubmit, and I spent most of that first month traveling and attending or running conferences. Now I’ve got just under one month and I’m not confident in my ability to do all that work in that short period of time. I did get started on it a week ago but, well, it’s a lot of work.
So I’m considering asking for an extension for the first time in my life. Anybody have any experience doing that? Should I ask now? Or would it be better to wait until closer to the deadline? Will they give me an extension, or should I just work harder to try to make the deadline?