the grid

the grid

Friday, 26 August 2016

Week 17 - final check in for this iteration

Hello everyone, hope your week has gone well.  Summer is verty clearly into its last days - US folks are mostly starting the new academic year, UK children are trying to ignore the Back To School shopping signs that are everywhere, leaves are just beginning to turn on the earliest trees, and my sister (a UK *$ loyalty card holder) has gotten the "one week to Pumpkin Spice Latte returning!" email... I still have a few weeks before students return, but things are ramping up all round.

So it's time for TLQ group to wildly celebrate all the successes of the summer, and take a moment (with or without a relaxing cup of tea) to think about how it went and how we want to go forward into the new academic year.  TLQ will be back to help us along the way, of course - Karen and Susan will be our hosts, and they both already have access rights to this blog so hopefully they'll update us on the dates soon! 

Last week we identified a summer success to be proud of.  As a discussion topic, let's keep that positive note going - what's the one habit or routine or practice you want to continue from this summer into the new semester (or break, for our southern hemisphere members!), and what's the good moment, the 'mind's photograph', from this summer you want to remember (any sense can be involved in a memory camera - sight, touch, smell, taste, sound - or emotion...)?

Last week's goals:
allan wilson (none set)
Contingent Cassandra
1. Finish up the last of the work for this phase of the grant project (mostly my individual contribution and some follow-up, especially making sure we all get paid).
2. As much class prep as possible (TRQ, but important to getting both TLQ and TRQ aspects of the semester off to a solid start)
3. Some family-relationship-tending (which involves, in part, visiting the storage facility, so I will finally get at least the partial load that's been in my car for over a month there in the process). 

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. Stick to schedule for doing research and class prep.
2. Finish footnotes for new and improved MMP-1.
3. Put in an hour doing something about the MMP-3 R&R.
4. Figure out new exercise schedule that works with the fall's on-campus days.
5. Important errands: 3A batteries, toothbrush heads, book for reading group. 

Earnest English
1. Writing: do what you can.
2. Gardening: keep on blueberry watch.
3. Draft email to SameMind.
4. Office: work on going through more boxes

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Assess what I want to write and put an outline of each project on paper.
Parcel out the bigger projects into more manageable pieces for the semester.

Good Enough Woman
1) Finish drafting the remaining sections of chapter four even if they are rough.
2) Write 700 words of conclusion.
3) Go through a lot of sources quickly on Friday at the library, return to library for half a day on Saturday if necessary.
4) Add 15 sources to bibliography. 

heu mihi
no goals set 
1 Write and turn in syllabi
2 Finish chapters 3, 4, and 5.
3 Look for photographs/permissions in spare time

1) tidy the small table next to my desk, do filing (even if just into box files labelled "2015-16 misc"!)
2) prepare talk and workshop for conference
3) planning and identifying 'constrained units' of work to do during the following 3 weeks when I'll mostly be travelling
4) be deliberately deliberate.

Eye proceedure and healing 
1. get work ready to do while travelling and conferencing (I always get stuff done on trains or when I wake up stupidly early)
2. enjoy conference (presenting poster not talk so much more relaxing)
3. tidy up office and leave half-decent to-do list for following week.

1) Work on the presentation in September- coming soon, but still long long way to go.
2) Prepare for the research trip to UK in the first week of September – coming very soon. Sending lots of e-mails to arrange my trip, also I will be visiting the place where my family will stay during my study leave next year.
3) Continue to work on Chapter 2.
4) 5 minute exercise more than three times a day. Have less and healthier snacks.
5) Have fun with my children. Stay together and have a good time together. 

no goals set
1. Finish poster
2. Start review
3. Finish relat paper
4. Set goals and plans with mentor for upcoming months. 


allan wilson

I don't know what to pick as an overall goal: what comes to mind is something like 'not fall apart', which I think on reflection probably involves
1. stay fit and exercise
2. find a creative outlet for stress, either playing an instrument or handcraft
3. submit 2 more papers.
Contingent Cassandra
here are my goals for the summer, and some comments (especially in light of the fact that I know they're overambitious).
1. Keep up with both individual and managerial/organizational contributions to grant project; do some planning for future stages (mostly identifying possible additional funders).
2. Self-care, including increased exercise (walking; swimming; weight-lifting; gardening, but not at the expense of the other three); brain retraining/rejuvenation via breaks from the internet and time spent on long-form reading (recreational and/or professional); improved diet (more home-prepared food, more fruits and vegetables); good sleep routines.
3. Continue getting financial affairs in order, planning for next 15-20 years and beyond (with as much flexibility/room for accommodating the general uncertainties of life and the specific uncertainties of contingent academic positions as possible).
4. Stay connected/reconnect with family and close friends, especially the elderly and those recently affected by death and other upheavals. This will probably involve at least one week-long and several weekend trips, as well as regular long-distance communication.
5. Make progress on household projects, especially creating additional built-in storage in apartment.
6. Make progress on organizing/sorting/culling items in offsite storage and preparing for move (to cheaper interim storage or directly to 2nd home/investment property in lower-cost-of-living area). #s5 and 6 are somewhat interconnected, and I’m realistically probably going to make anything resembling visible progress on only one of them; I suspect it should be #5, if only because visible progress in the apartment is more visible, and so has a greater effect on my morale.
7. Reconnect in some way with research/writing in original field (realistically, this is unlikely to go further than re-reading a draft or two to see where things stand, and identifying/doing some secondary reading, but I’d like to do at least that).
8. At some point, I need to figure out how to balance original field research/writing with teaching field research/writing (including activities in #1), all in the context of a 4/4 writing-intensive load with no built-in sabbaticals. That probably points to the value of finding a way to afford summers off, or at least less-frequent summer teaching (see #s 3 and 6). This is a well-beyond-the-summer TLQ/professional goal to which some of the above contribute (and which needs to be kept in mind while making decisions about how to spend time and money).
Realistically, if I do a reasonably good job of #s1 and 4, make some progress on #s2 (especially exercise), 3, and 5, and do even a bit of #7, I’ll consider the summer a success. 
For travel this summer I have: 6 weeks of field work (in two shifts), three major lab trips (about 1 week each) and a "vacation" week (aka do all childcare and house stuff just like normal but in a different location with none of the usual conveniences...)
TLQ goals:
1) Redo a hideous Revise/Resubmit paper left over from the winter term (the paper was hideous, the review equally and deservedly so...)
2) Do three major analytical projects and write a report for each
3) Learn fancy new-to-me analytical and modelling software
4) Exercise!!!!
5) Camp in at least three new areas with child, and do a few trips to old favourites
6) Write paper for new field area
Dame Eleanor Hull (revised week 9)
1. Make a plan for moving prep, get some estimates, start some repairs.
2. Finish all revisions: MMP-1, MMP-3, article from last summer that needs only very very small points added (a recent acceptance).
3. Write conference paper, and arrange travel.
4. Finish syllabuses.
5. Keep ignoring the book till items 2-4 are completed.
6. I so want to work on reviewing chunks of translation, but given the time pressures of 2-4, I may need to ignore this for the next month, as well. OTOH I will see one of my collaborators in August, so . . . let's say review one chunk by then, so I don't feel like a slug when we meet again.
7. Do things that keep me in touch with my real values and priorities, and avoid reading or participating in things that interfere with these.
Earnest English
Summer Goals (revised in week 8)
1. Work on Secondary Field Project, achieving 8R and 8y by end of session, and getting a fair amount of related reading done.
2. Talk to NonAcademicFriend about non-academic work.
3. Gardening!
4. Engage with some relevant scholarship as desirable.
5. Get FallClassesandPlan together.
6. Have a wonderful family summer with lots of homeschooling, reading with Spirited, and field trips! Make Spirited feel as if he's the center of my world!
7. Get back into yoga or tai chi or something!
8. Do Little Project plans.
9. Learn about herbalism.
10. Read nonscholarly books and have fun!
11. Yeah yeah, do the workthings I promised to do but don't let them take over.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Have office in new house set up and functioning
Finish required class (May 27th)
Have Pierpont article roughed out in first draft
Have footnotes done for Prudence book
Take some time to figure out my fiction writing
Walk/swim to enjoy the summer weather
Good Enough Woman
My session goals are not terribly complicated:
1) Finish the PhD thesis (all but minor editing, such as proofreading and changing punctuation and spelling from American to British--these things can be done in September).
2) Try not to neglect the family all of the time.
3) Try not to feel to guilty when I do neglect the family.
4) Get a little bit of exercise (let's say some kind of movement at least 3x per week).
5) Advocate for my needs/rights with my PhD university if need be.
heu mihi
my overly ambitious summer project list:
1) Book review 1
2) Book review 2
3) Write chapter 6
4) Revise and add M to chapter 4
5) Research trip in late May! Then add research to ch. 3
6) Conference paper proposal (due 6/15)
1 Finish book manuscript (also known as RBP, revised book project, named by Dame Eleanor many moons ago)
2 Mercury essay draft due mid-July
3 Mars essay due end of July
4 Submit Venus abstract at the beginning of August
5 Try to work yoga into life
6 Keep up with household rehab
JaneB (from week 9)
1) Submitted Special Issue Paper
2) Completed the ProblemChild part 1 computer work, and have a complete draft of ProblemChildAdvertPaper and a rough draft of ProblemChildDetailsPaper
3) have a decent amount of teaching preparation done or exhaustively planned
4) make about a paper's worth (say 8-10,000 words) of progress on other important writing - Picky Paper, Ferret, and one or more grant applications are the top candidates here.
5) Have solved LikesMaths (my PhD student)'s paperwork/bureaucracy problem!
6) have a plan for Gallimaufrey web site for the next academic year and possibly a head start on the first few blog posts.
7) have a visibly more orderly house, which I can hoover easily without manouvering around piles of books, papers and miscellaneous stuff held together by a fine web of self-organising cat hair
8) have made the most of the summer resources to have a better exercise habit and lost a few pounds
9) have written the workshop and talk for the September conference
-make space for reading (reading fuels writing)
-forward (incremental) momentum on writing
-committed but flexible approach to self care (exercise, sleep, good food choices)
Session goals:
- acronym report and paper done and submitted
- House project variant 1 - summer student supervised and significant progress
- House project variant 2 - summer students recruited and decent progress
- Test the water on various other projects
- Scary project - paper submitted, next steps established
- 8 science outreach events planned, run and evaluated
- draft paper on tesla project outlined and data considered
- one conference presentation given, abstract for another to submit and give if accepted
- Carry on with my GoodReads challenge - now at 32/52 books. Not sure about hand crafted items this summer - the garden calls more strongly in the summer months so I'm thinking more 'grow pretty flowers and tasty fruits and veggies'.
Write Chapter 2
Revise Chapter 1
Plan Chapter 3
Write a book review
Keep writing regularly
Construct healthy habits
In terms of TLQ, I'm almost finished a book manuscript (awaiting reader's reports) and my main goal for this session is to get it off to the press and in production. I just want to be DONE. There are a couple of other minor tasks -- a book review, preparing materials for a regular merit review, etc, but the book is the thing. In addition, my elderly mother, who has been quite ill with various things over the past year, lives in my town, and requires regular attention. I will disappear for the month of July because my sister is coming to be the responsible person for my mother. I will take vacation -- or rather three separate vacation trips. Then I have a conference for which I have to write something thoughtful in mid-August. So that's the summer. In all of this, I'd like to keep up with exercise, and return to reading. We'll see!
TLQ summer goals:
1. Manuscript 1 submitted
2. Manuscript 2 drafted
3. Manuscript from diss
4. F32 application
5. Other minor grant apps

Friday, 19 August 2016

Week 16: Success

Earlier today I was reading a post from Esme Wang ( in which she wrote about how our brains remember failure and criticism much more readily than we remember our successes. Then I got an email from a graduate school friend asking if I would be interested in joining a roundtable at an upcoming conference to discuss the different metrics for “success” at different types of institutions.

Next week is the last for this iteration of TLQ, and I know when I look back at what I set out to do 17 weeks ago, I will lean toward my failures before I take account of my successes. So before we get there, take this week to mark and celebrate a success from this season. Whatever it might be. Remember that creating small habits is also a big success because we sustain those habits.

Loud and proud, what do you want to remember, going forward, that was a success for you? Writing about it will help your brain remember.

Last week’s goals:

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. Finish paper and don't make an ass of myself at the conference.
2. Finish the syllabi (in Tom's Midnight Garden, maybe; some mythical 25th hour of the day, anyway).
3. Spend time with family, spend time outside.
4. Keep being careful about food and telling servers what I need.

Earnest English
1. Writing: engage with writing 4x; also work on grant.
2. Gardening: keep on blueberry watch.
3. Work: some prep for fall
4. Meditate: 3x/week
5. Herbalism: move forward a bit with one project
6. Office: work on going through more boxes

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Comment on more chapters of the Slow Professor.
Finalize schedule.
Put up one gratitude post.

Good Enough Woman
1) Spend at least 30 minutes per day on editing (footnotes, bibliography, or the switch from North American to British punctuation and spelling: curses on these differences!)
2) Work late Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
3) Finish draft of Chapter 4.
4) Do "final" revisions and editing for Chapter 1 (so I'll have something complete under my belt).
5) Help daughter prepare for Saturday's craft faire at the library.
6) Complete registration paperwork for kids by Monday night.
7) Make sure kids are ready for school in a week!
8) Be present in the classroom for my students, but do the bare minimum when I'm not in the classroom.

heu mihi
1. Finish teaching book
2. Select readings from next teaching book 
3. Run three times (health permitting--I feel like I'm getting a cold), meditate three times
4. Read 3 essays
5. Read two chapters of someone's dissertation
6. Write a conclusion to ch. 3
7. Reread ch. 5
8. Plan KJ essay

I have set daily deadlines, so the RBP goals for the coming week are to get through to the end of Chapter 3 and have the first three chapters ready to submit. That will be more than halfway done. There is a TRQ abstract that I will finish tonight, so I won’t officially include that for the week ahead.

Jane B
1) to be deliberate in what I do and say, and in the choices I make (The Slow Professor says that's a mark of a resilient academic, and key words I'd use to describe what unbalanced, stressful days feel like include rushed, pressured, reactive, firefighting. So let's try and have the theme of the week be the opposite of that...).
2) to do one thing-that-is-good-for-me and screen and words free every day - go to the gym or do some decluttering or do some crafting
3) do 5 hours of peripheral writing related to research - e.g. commenting on a draft I'm a co-author on, free writing, planning for work

1. Truckloads of marking - commit to regular chunks each day
2. Continue to move more, and make time for music practice
3. Short freewriting bursts to map out summer writing projects 3 x 10 minutes over the week.

1. dig out research tool for scary project, make alterations, seek ethical extension if appropriate and get it ready to go.
2. try and clean the silk screen, prep and make a new run of prints (I have so many ideas brewing)
3. get sufficiently through semester prep without making my office messy.

1. Put notice on course website about assignment for first class. (I was hoping to put up a draft syllabus, but it's much too drafty!)
2. Finish comments for roundtable on Friday.
3. Send off tenure review
4. Pay bills
5. Do ironing/ pack/ etc.
6. Make trivial changes in notes while traveling.

1. Finish body paper
2. Finish religiosity paper
3. Finish report
4. Get back to relat paper.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Week 15: pruning and parking

Week 15 already, and almost half way through August - "summer" is flying by this year.  We have two weeks left to write in this iteration of TLQ, and I think for most of our North American members it's very close to the time when students return and the new academic year begins.  Given that context, I'd like to table two topics for discussion - pick one, comment on both, ignore both, your choice!

First, what should happen next with the TLQ group?  Is anyone interested in taking a lead for the next session, when should it start/run until, all that sort of thing.  Following our discussion of The Slow Professor over at EE's place, the importance of groups like this are very clear - they create spaces for true collegiality, for caring, companionship, and support as we strive to do things that matter and (sometimes, at least) can feel in conflict with the demands of our increasingly corporate employers.  The book makes such things sound pleasingly rebellious; let's keep up our momentum!

Second, given how comparatively short the remaining time is, let's talk about a planned transition into 'semester patterns' - what things can be finished with one more push?  How can we "park our work on a downhill slope" (thanks to whoever originally came up with that analogy) to be picked up in the (small) spaces of the semester?  What things have to be pruned, or parked longer term - are there things we can just decide we're not going to get to, or postpone until next vacation or next summer?  How can we make re-entry less painful and difficult?  (I, for example, have got to start tapering off the napping all afternoon, messing around with craft stuff and the internet into the wee hours habit - or I'll get horrible semester jet-lag...)

Last week's goals:

allan wilson
1. Exercise daily
2. Finish revisions on paper 2
3. Write letter to the editor
4. Listen to lots of music - I need de-stressing this week.

Contingent Cassandra (two week goals: for 8/19)
1. Finish grant-project reviews; coordinate grant project as necessary; get my individual contributions as close to finished as possible before break (and finish after break)
2. Some friends/family contact (before and after break)
3. Do the most necessary early class prep before break (welcome/warning letters to student in classes with an onlne component -- which is all of them, actually)
4. Some household stuff (mostly take a load to storage)
5. Take a break (working in a bit of exercise if possible, and trying to get/keep on a regular sleep schedule and eat reasonably well, but focus mostly on unplugging and leisure reading)

Daisy: in the field

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. Check ingredients, talk to people as necessary, be careful about food.
2. Finish and submit syllabi.
3. Make arrangements with family members.
4. Finish conference paper, including printing it out; make sure to have backups of it and powerpoint in various places (Dropbox, extra flash drive).
5. Trip prep including packing, bills, knowledge of itinerary, leaving the house/study/closet in good shape for re-entry (which is going to be its own brand of crazy).
6. Tell chair of dept what I have done with my sabbatical and give reminder that I will not be present for pre-term faculty meeting (and why not).
7. Other work: a set of proofs, MMP-1 footnotes, reading for the other revisions.
8. Reading through this, I can see I need to do something to ease the pressured feeling. Find something fun to read; plan ways to escape family, if necessary; spend time outside.

Earnest English
1. SFP/writing: Try to write 1 time this week. Try to figure out what's going on here (besides really just feeling like I'm on vacation).
2. Gardening: Plant blueberries and elderberries.
3. Work: Work on service task.
4. LittleProject: no goals
5. Yoga/tai chi/meditate one time this week.
6. Read: decide on new book to read.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Add to the Slow Professor discussion.
Write 5 out of 7 days on Pierpont.
Finalize drafts on gratitude.
Walk at the dog park, instead of sitting and watching.

Good Enough Woman
1) Reading packet and articles printed and submitted to reprographics by Monday.
2) At least two syllabi finished by Wednesday, the third one by Thursday.
3) Stop reading and start writing by Wednesday, if not before. Have a complete but rough revision of chapter four by Sunday.
4) Do at least one work night.
5) Pay bills.
6) Do a movie outing with the kids.

heu mihi
1. Finish teaching book
2. Read next teaching book (as much as I can--it's long)
3. Read 3 essays for ch. 3
4. Finish run-through of ch. 3
5. Meditate 3 times, run twice
6. Select, arrange, and print anniversary pictures

Really, just make as much project as possible on that book manuscript.

1) do some decluttering and cleaning tasks every day
2) do one fun thing (read, craft, whatever) every day
3) do one useful/active thing every day (go into town, go to the gym, whatever).
4) nap as much as I like, as long as I go to bed by midnight regardless!
5) morning pages (freewriting is a Good Thing).

-survive simultaneous deadlines; set task list each evening for the next day and hold those priorities
- breath, move like water
- use some of the extra time from only having to look after myself to actually look after myself - stretching/exercise, some minor therapeutic decluttering.

1. Finish poster and draft of manuscript
2. work out a coherent plan of what will be done and when between now and Christmas
3. hand crafted items...perhaps work more on the new blanket.

Matilda (carried over)
1) Work on the review article I had put off for a long time.
2) Continue to work on Chapter 2.
3) 5 minute exercise more than three times a day.

1. Format footnotes. (Less niggly than the bibliography, as I've done a complete bib, and the footnotes are all short form.)
2. Draft syllabus
3. Draft comments for conference in 10 days
4. Read all materials for tenure review
5. Write letter for former colleague

1. Get body paper revised
2. do three lit reviews done for mentor
3. get analyses done for report
4. work on religion paper
5. start thinking about next 4 (ugh) grant applications