the grid

the grid

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Week 13: Usefuls

Hello everyone, I hope you have all had a productive week with time to both enjoy some little bits of life and to progress the things that matter to you.

It was Clearing this week, the time of year when UK students get their school leaving exam results and either confirm their university places or look for places due to unexpectedly good or bad results, so the media is full of stories about how results do or don't matter, numbers (generally record-breaking) and attractive, shiny, grinning, leaping students clutching their precious pieces of paper.  We still have a couple of weeks of this group to run, UK semesters don't start until late Sept/early Oct, and southern hemisphere members are at a completely different point in the academic year.  However, my internet and physical world seems to be filling up with 'back to school' messages - in the UK children return to school at the end of August or in early September, and just about every company selling something is sending out messages about how important it is to buy some of their products for Back to School.  Students are tweeting and facebooking their excitement about going/going back to uni, recent graduates wishing they could come too, and although the trees are still the heavy green of August it feels like they're on borrowed time.

So for a slightly frivolous topic this week, after what seems to have been a difficult summer in different ways for nearly everyone, I thought I'd ask you to suggest some perfect products we should be stocking up on for our Back To School(University) bags.  Me, I'd like to be able to buy:
  • The Dame's Bugge Spray, now on special offer - every bottle of Bugge Spray (enabling research productivity in any ten minute gap you can find, rather than procrastination) comes with a FREE trial size of Silencing Mist, perfect for use on obnoxious colleagues who insist on telling you how much they achieved over the summer or on yourself when you just need to indulge in a therapeutic scream or rant before putting your professional face back on
  • Attractamints: leave a pack out on your desk overnight, and you'll return to find the marking elves have been, finished up all the tests, and tidied your papers whilst they were still on a sugar high from eating the treats.
  • Readalot Glue: apply to syllabi and textbooks, your students literally will not be able to put them down until they've read every word!
  • 'Sunterday', an extra 24 hour add-on to slot into your weekend when needed, perfect for recharging on the go
But I'd settle for a deeply discounted pack of All The Colours Of Sharpies, some handsome notebooks and board pens which will last more than five days.

Last week's goals:

allan wilson
(from week 11)
1. the ethics app - now pretty much urgent
2.exercise 4 times
3. work on any one paper that I WANT to work on, that is not immediately urgent, for 2 hours.
4. write emails to friends JB, LA and AH

Amstr
1) nightly check in (food, to do list, daily celebration)
2) write daily
3) finish cleaning out clothes + reorg clothes portion of closet
4) menu planning/grocery shopping
5) progress on WGWLS (study questions for a book, chapter by chapter)

Contingent Cassandra
1) Get computer updating/backup stuff to a stopping point by mid-week; make notes on next steps
2) Take a long weekend break Thurs. - next Tues. (but check in briefly here), in a last attempt at rejuvenation.
3) Focus on activities that have gotten slighted so far -- swimming & walking -- as well as sleep (not doing so well on that one right now). Don't work on garden (except brief watering) during break unless I really feel like it. Ditto for household straightening: fine if I feel like it, but also fine to just sit and read amid the (now-slightly-diminished-but-by-no-means-vanquished) chaos
.  

Daisy
(in the field for four weeks)

Elizabeth
Read for an hour three times for the literature review.
Schedule surgery.
One positive thought/thought of gratitude every morning.

GEW
1) read 2-3 chapters or articles
2) spend 4 solid hours writing/editing chapter
3) prep slide show for prof dev activity
4) stock up on food and pick at least one new recipe to try
5) walk dog 3x, swim once

humming42
1. finish book review 1
2. make significant progress on Upcoming Article
3. read book for book review 2
4. get caught up on grading

iwantzcatbocl
(from week 10)
1. Exercise daily.
2. Make list of things to do.
3. Don’t dawdle with household chores.

JaneB

1) academic work: conf talk, abstracts, prep materials, comments on draft, phone convo with PDF, prepare for meetings 1 & 2, keep up with email.  Want: polish section of group paper, stats book, form for grant
2) decluttering and domestic environment work:
3) Things for rejuvenating JaneB: watch GBBO and crochet! Reacquaint self with NaNoNovel.  Book holiday/travel stuff, garden centre, gym, stationary, diary fillout, sleep patterns, meet sis

 Karenh
1. Use presentation on P! to push me to do more reading and writing on it.
2. Use research lunch to talk about some reading for P2.
3. Use pomodoro to keep evening work focused instead of half lost on internet distractions, and keep reasonable bedtimes.

kjhaxton
(a) continue with scary project and get presentation and research tool done.
(b) work out the issues with gemstone paper (e.g. stop sulking and get on with it.
(c) devise some small projects that can be done over the academic year and lead to papers.

Let's Do This
No goals set
 

Matilda
1) Write up Chapter 1.
2) Start to prepare for my presentation on 22th August

Mercy
a. read/comment on 2 articles I didn't get to from last week
b. writing (cut-paste-freewrite) on 3 articles read so far, AS PART Of ongoing draft of HA article
c. get some exercise & do something w/kids each day
d. go to bed on time, write in gratitude journal, and don't "stress before bed"

Susan 
1. Chapters 2 and 3
2. Prospectus
3. keep exercising
 

26 comments:

  1. Hi all, I definitely want ALL of the things that JaneB put in her virtual shopping bag: the Dame's Bugge Spray, Atractamints, ReadALot Glue, and Sunterday. Definitely want Sunterday! Other than that, I try not to think too much about the new semester starting (in 3 weeks for me), because I don't want to get caught up in teaching prep etc. just yet (I mean, the syllabus is done, the assignments have been redone from last year, and I'm keeping the lectures mostly as-is compared to last year). I have started thinking lately that I really want a) black-out curtains and b) a sleep tracker, b/c I have not been sleeping well this summer, waking up tired even when I shouldn't be. So I might actually get one of those things.

    2. Last week's progress: . read/comment on 2 articles I didn't get to from last week --> did 4 over 5 days!
    b. writing (cut-paste-freewrite) on 3 articles read so far --> NO!
    c. get some exercise and OR do something w/kids each day --> yes
    d. go to bed on time, write in gratitude journal, and don't "stress before bed" --> trying, but difficult!

    3. Analysis. I didn't reach my biggest goal, which was to pick up writing on the draft for HA paper again. This needs to happen! One of the reasons I didn't do this, I guess, was that I felt I really should get through some more of the articles for the lit review--hard to say if this was a good choice or no, but it is what I did.

    4. Planning. We have 1 whole-day family activity planned for the middle of the week, so I'll have 4 half-days for work instead of 5. I also have a meeting planned with my former advisor on one of these half-days, so realistically that's 3 half-days for my HA writing goal. Still, that means I can start the cutting and pasting my notes on the articles read over the summer into my working draft, adding transitional sentences along the way (as Cassandra suggested). This won't be quick work, but 1 article worth of notes per half-day sounds feasible.

    5. Goals for the week
    a. read 3 more articles for HA
    b. incorporate article notes from summer reading into HA draft
    c. read 2 MA theses (they keep coming!)
    d. daily lunch/evening walk
    e. go to bed on time, get up on time

    Wishing you all a good week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My best/cheapest sleep solution: http://www.amazon.com/Lewis-N-Clark-Comfort-Mask/dp/B001TUZSP2

      I have a black one (it needed a good handwashing, and still sometimes stains light colored pillow cases), and it is amazing--full blackout for my eyes! I gave one to a friend who's a notoriously light sleeper, and she's even been able to nap on occasion.

      Delete
    2. I have a really difficult time knowing my lit review / writing boundaries (i.e., when to be doing which). Very tricky for me. I hope you find that balance this week!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the tip & the encouragement, people! Much appreciated--and I ordered the sleep mask

      Delete
  2. would like to offer the Salve Against Stumbling. Dab a bit behind your ears or on your wrists and you will not stumble verbally, nor will you stumble up or down stairs (I’m famous for up-stumbling myself). Go into the world risk-free because it will be impossible for anything to happen that might embarrass you even slightly.

    I’ve long wanted a Hermione Granger Time Turner, but no one has yet gifted me with one. Surely I could get twice as much done if I could be in two places at once, or on two different time-space trajectories. I wish that for all who would want to join in.

    Last week:
    1. finish book review 1: no
    2. make significant progress on Upcoming Article: some but not enough
    3. read book for book review 2: some but not enough

    These things are starting to move to TRQ, so How To TLQ is definitely a work in progress for me still. In addition to needing to get these thing dones, I will add some things from the still-in-TLQ zone.

    Week ahead:
    1. draft abstract for spring convention
    2. finish syllabi for Fall courses
    3. make significant progress on other book proposal

    May you have all the usefuls and secret weapons you need to have a marvelous week!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the topic! I'd like 'Guilt-Free Chocolate', not only chocolate that you can eat without any health effects and one that brings all the comfort of lovely chocolatey goodness, but one that removes the guilt that comes from focusing on task x while the rest of the alphabet of tasks are lurking menacingly. Please substitute your favourite foodstuff in place of chocolate - we can be all inclusive!

    A Time turner would be good, as would an 'on-demand clone' who could take my place in boring meetings or do the things I do out of sense of obligation rather than because I genuinely want to.

    I'd like anti-procrastination popcorn, something that does away with the general malaise that sets in when I have a bit of free time and headspace but still don't get anything done. Comes in a variety of flavours like all of those new-fangled pop corn in the stores. I like the coconut one, feels optimistic.

    Last week
    (a) continue with scary project and get presentation and research tool done.
    (b) work out the issues with gemstone paper (e.g. stop sulking and get on with it.
    (c) devise some small projects that can be done over the academic year and lead to papers.

    Progress - (a) I've done the draft research tool and have sent the ethics form for the first round of signatures. I give the presentation on Thursday so it is now officially TRQ - thank goodness because that takes away the guilt of doing that and not other stuff. (b) I'm still sulking. (c) I'm having ideas but hopefully the conference at the end of this week will provide some inspiration. I've set up a couple of things already.

    Analysis - not bad progress for the week in which student survey results came out and clearing took place. Very draining week.

    This week:
    (a) finish scary presentation and hopefully submit ethics.
    (b) stop sulking over gemstone paper (unlikely, I reckon I've got a good bit left in me
    (c) conference Wed PM - Friday so think about researchy stuff while listening to researchy stuff.

    I'm so looking forward to the conference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are marvelous! I want the clone to go to meetings while I stay in the quiet of my office and eat guilt-free chocolate.

      Delete
    2. We need to do enough sulking before going back to papers. I love your naming that!

      Delete
    3. I hope you can make friends with gemstone paper soon! Maybe you could take it out for a beer or a coffee, just to nudge the edges of it.

      Delete
    4. Yes the popcorn and chocolate!!! And I hope you have a great time at the conference. I'm on the fence about going to one in October, and you're pushing me toward "yes!".

      Delete
  4. Oooh, I want All The Things. My contribution is 20-20 Hindsight Glasses - glasses that give you the power to see what you should/shouldn't do with the clarity of hindsight but in the actual moment.

    Last week:
    Went pretty well despite the fluster of business. The presentation on P1 clarified by thoughts about how I am approaching the project as well as forcing me to set time aside for research to prepare. And the research was fun! and useful! And I have a few leads to follow up, including grumbling about self-published local historians who do not reference their sources.

    So for next week:
    1. Finalise and submit P1 tangent small grant application
    2. Submit abstract for P1 co-authored spinoff paper

    Karenh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those glasses would be so useful!

      Delete
    2. I definitely want some of those glasses!

      Delete
  5. Hello all
    After an entire week off sick, I can still record a snail's pace of progress.
    Last week's (fortnight's) goals:
    1. the ethics app - now pretty much urgent. DONE. Finally. Sent the day before I got sick, thank goodness.
    2.exercise 4 times. NO. Sickness and exercise don't mix. But at least I walked today.
    3. work on any one paper that I WANT to work on, that is not immediately urgent, for 2 hours. NO. Just overwhelmed, and indecisive, and tired before I got sick.
    4. write emails to friends JB, LA and AH. NO.
    I came back to work today after a week. The work has piled up. However I made good progress on some urgent things today and found there are still some TLQ things I want to prioritise for next week:
    Goals next week
    1. Build up exercising again - 3 shortish walks
    2. Finish the next draft of that CR paper, and discuss it with my senior colleague to get ideas on how to wrap it up
    3. Print out a final book draft I have been helping edit for someone, so that is done and finished.
    I'd like a bag, and a writing quill in it, so i can write all the papers that I don't seem to be able to shift. A bit like Rita Skeeter's one, but without the meanness, just all efficiency and delightful prose and insight.
    And maybe a time turner too- except maybe I''d just use the extra time to exercise, read, and cook nice stuff I feel like cooking. I'd also definitely be putting in the guilt free chocolate and the hindsight glasses- so helpful. But, mostly chocolate I think. What a great topic!
    My hope is that I can put in a big effort on TLQ stuff this week, as next week is a bit of a horror for TRQ. My comfort is that at least I am in a better state now than when we started the group (which wasn't much!)!
    allan wilson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry you've been sick! Glad you're better now.

      Delete
    2. Yes...the time turner is better used for the delightful things than for twice as much work.

      Delete
  6. I want all the things. Especially the silencing mist, Sunterday, the Time Turner, and Clone. I will offer in addition, the ERASER, to eliminate the colleague whose incompetence and/or self-centredness make the smallest email a major distraction.

    Goals for this week:
    1. Chapters 2 and 3 -- Chapter 2 almost done
    2. Prospectus - no
    3. keep exercising - yes, mostly in the form of moving and packing stuff, though.

    Yes, well. Everything has been more time consuming than I expected, including getting back to filing grievances etc.

    I won't get a huge amount done this week, as a good friend is coming to help me pack up my mother's house. I will also get one day of vacation, up in the mountains for a hike to celebrate my birthday. But I think we'll finish packing up sooner than I thought, so we should be able to do some work...

    Goals for next week
    1. Get going on Chapter 3.
    2. Get back to prospectus
    3. Keep exercising
    4. Wield the Eraser to avoid being overly annoyed by my colleagues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh yes to the ERASER! How valuable indeed :)

      and happy birthday!
      allan wilson

      Delete
  7. So many great things! I'll add a Personal Pop-Up Blocker than can block out all those extraneous thoughts and interruptions when I need to focus. And a Switch-O-Matic--it switches you from one task to then next with no ramp up or cool down needed. Crazy discussion with colleague? Switch-O-Matic makes it so you can be deep into your research the next minute.

    Last week:
    1) nightly check in (food, to do list, daily celebration)--sort of on some days
    2) write daily--zilch
    3) finish cleaning out clothes + reorg clothes portion of closet--ha!
    4) menu planning/grocery shopping--enough to keep us from eating out about half the time
    5) progress on WGWLS (study questions for a book, chapter by chapter)--yes--great progress!

    I think I've finally discovered that I can't do all the things every day this summer. Not having childcare has been a big adjustment. I'm attempting to have a kind of theme-of-the-day now, to make progress in one area each day. And I want to keep up exercise and eating well.

    I do get to have from 7pm Friday until 9am Sunday to myself. I'm still working out the details of where I'll go, but I am hoping to use the time to write some and clear the decks in other areas.

    For next week:
    1) exercise 2+x, eat well
    2) pick one thing to make progress on each day (decluttering, WGWL project, reading, misc email/handing off stuff to other people, packing for camping)
    3) make a plan for retreat weekend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG, I will take the Switch-o-Matic. Double order, please, with fries. Between that and the eraser, I should be good!

      Delete
    2. Yes, yes, to the Switch-O-Matic! I hope you have a wonderful retreat. I love planning such things. I wish I could join you!

      Delete
    3. Oh, yes, please, anything to ease transitions (and calm ruminations on that thing that just happened).

      Delete
  8. Let's see, I would like the Bugge Spray, the Switch-O-Matic, the guilt-free chocolate, and the procrastination popcorn. And Sunterday! These seem like good things for sabbatical. I would also add Confidence Cupcakes: you eat them and then suddenly feel great about what you have to say (and what you've said) in your writing. This would keep me moving forward, I think. I could alternate the cupcakes and the popcorn.

    Last week's Goals:
    1) read 2-3 chapters or articles --> Yes! Two chapters.
    2) spend 4 solid hours writing/editing chapter --> I spent one hour.
    3) prep slide show for prof dev activity--> Yes. Did that.
    4) stock up on food and pick at least one new recipe to try --> A little bit, but then the fridge died and we lost all of the food. Good news is that Hubby fixed it. I did try a fruit / granola cobbler crumble thing. It was okay, but I revised it, and now the new version is in the oven. It pairs well with ice cream or plain greek yogurt!)
    5) walk dog 3x, swim once --> Bah. Walked the dog once.

    Not a bad week considering I was on kid duty a lot. AND I scrubbed the baseboards and grout in the bathroom and generally made it more sparkly, and I tided the study, AND I cleaned out the kids' toy closet (at least a significant part of it)! I am ready to focus on the thesis!

    This week has also involved a lot of kid duty, but I've got a few hours today and several more tomorrow. Then, on Friday, my dad visits from the other side of the country, and there will be no work until next Tuesday. But THEN, kids will be back in school, Hubby will be working, and sabbatical can truly begin. OMGosh, I have to actually write this frigging PhD thesis! I will be so hard.

    This week's goals:
    1) 4-5 hours of editing/writing
    2) 2 hours reading
    3) Make some reservations for conference if I'm truly going to go.
    4) Hikes, walks, swimming, and fun with my dad and my kids. Last hurrah before "summer" is over.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, boy. I'd really like Sunterday (which might leave me free to use Sunday as an actual Sabbath, as opposed to 1/2 to 1/3 of one), and the glue and the mints (especially if they come in a virtual flavor, to attract the sort of virtual elves who will wander around on an LMS discussion board and put in a word whenever useful/necessary, then tackle the questions in the email inbox). In real life, I've done a bit more supplies-buying than usual this year, with the purchase of the smartphone leading to the purchase of not one but two cases, and a lot of cables and auxiliary chargers, and (somehow) a new backpack which has compartments, pockets, etc., better suited to my present needs than the current one (or so I've convinced myself). I also seem to be investing in a lot of storage devices lately, and I don't think I''m quite done yet. Given the effect on my budget, I hope these purchases will stand me in good stead for some years to come (and, planned obsolescence and the trend toward subscribing to rather than buying software notwithstanding, they probably will).

    Last week's goals:

    1) Get computer updating/backup stuff to a stopping point by mid-week; make notes on next steps
    2) Take a long weekend break Thurs. - next Tues. (but check in briefly here), in a last attempt at rejuvenation.
    3) Focus on activities that have gotten slighted so far -- swimming & walking -- as well as sleep (not doing so well on that one right now). Don't work on garden (except brief watering) during break unless I really feel like it. Ditto for household straightening: fine if I feel like it, but also fine to just sit and read amid the (now-slightly-diminished-but-by-no-means-vanquished) chaos.

    Achieved: pretty good success on 1 and 2; medium success on 3. I'm feeling reasonably rested, exercised a bit too much early on and then felt too tired to do more, and am still trying to work my way into a sleep schedule that will work well for the semester. It's definitely easier to relax earlier in the summer than later, when the new semester looms, but I'm glad I took another break, and am feeling ready to prepare for the new semester. So,

    goals for (what's left of) this week:

    1) continue work toward a sleeping/exercising/eating schedule that will work (and support health and sanity) during the semester.
    2) additional progress toward financial/household tasks as possible in between the semester-prep tasks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, what great ideas! My back-to-work kit is going to be amazing... though I should add a memory aid, as I managed to forget to report in on my own week... Sigh!

    goals:
    1) academic work: conf talk, abstracts, prep materials, comments on draft, phone convo with PDF, prepare for meetings 1 & 2, keep up with email. Want: polish section of group paper, stats book, form for grant.
    I've made an outline of the talk, prepared a few materials, commented on the draft, talked to PDF, prepared for (and had) the meetings, and am kind of on top of the email. I also polished and submitted the section of the group paper and did another couple of sections of the stats book

    2) decluttering and domestic environment work:
    my list was over-ambitious, but I have made some progress in one area of the living room where I was having to step over things every time I wanted to go to one part of the room, which is often, and now I can just walk there. It's brill! And it didn't even take that long... It's an incentive to do more...
    3) Things for rejuvenating JaneB: watch GBBO and crochet! Reacquaint self with NaNoNovel. Book holiday/travel stuff, garden centre, gym, stationary, diary fillout, sleep patterns, meet sis
    watched GBBO twice and worked on the crochet (I've finally made it to the tedious bit of weaving in about 72 ends per strip...). I booked some holiday stuff (today...), did not go anywhere much or manage to meet up with sis, did go to the gym a few times, maybe 3? Have started to use the diary, but ignored the novel

    analysis last week was quite unproductive - I felt good on Monday and great on Tuesday - had a great gym visit, and felt really positive. Then... I'm not quite sure what it was, I can't even remember at 8 days remove, but there was some very stressful work stuff in my email. And I got to see the new timetable, and it was all wrong, but the person who can fix it is on leave (and told me it was all fixed before they went on leave...). And my knees hurt in a very distinctive way following the gym which Doc Google was not at all encouraging about. And then I got a migraine-ous headache, which took a couple of days to get around to leaving, what with the 'hangover'.

    I also felt guilty about not being at work during Clearing despite being on study leave AND not on the group doing admissions work this year because my brain uses guilt like some people use ketchup, the seasoning for every season.

    Then on Tuesday I went back to the office, but almost no-one else was there, and things clicked back into place a bit, and I was quite productive. Mind you, today I spent most of the day sorting holiday stuff (well overdue) rather than doing the work I'd planned, but oh well. I plan to take a work-writing day this weekend, or at least a solid block of time to work on it.

    goals for what is left of week
    1) bitty academic writing tasks: by Monday I would like to have finished the draft of the talk well enough to send it to PDF and done the first big data reanalysis and reorganisation of 'stuff' for Repeater, also to send to her. I have a small task to do from meeting number 2, and should send some emails regarding meeting number 1 this week. I'd also like to do SOMETHING to that grant form and those abstracts, and need to arrange at least one teaching prep meeting and draft a document related to teaching prep. Oh, and the software course starts on Monday so I'd better finish the book!
    2) make visible progress on one area - either the top or the bottom of the stairs, as I see them every time I go up or down so it would be another boost.
    3) holiday prep - planning a few things to do (and what to take - not to pack too much!), making sure I have the info I need (the part of the country I'm visiting has poor mobile coverage so I may not be able to just check the internet... and planning is a big part of the fun, right?) - and getting to the gym one more time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I both need the Eraser. Perfect for annoying work emails -- which can throw me off for hours too.

      Delete