Thursday, January 15, 2015

Challenge of the Week: Big Task List

For today, make sure your list of the "big tasks" you wish to accomplish is up to date (you have that list, right?). A task list is the operationalization of the big goals we have for the year. The degree to which your goals are operationalized may differ from person to person. Some people need small, micro goals for each week (or day). Others do well just seeing the largest tasks, and staying in the slow and grinding process of working on them daily.  Experiment with a varying amount of specificity, but stay in each day and work toward each goal slowly, over time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ready, Pick a Task, Pick a Time Limit, Write, Finish

How much time to you allocate to a given task? Do you just write and work until a task is done? That can be effective, focusing on the process of writing, allowing yourself to sink into the work and not consider time limits. Yet, some people have a hard time with perfectionism, and will work on something so long that they really never finish, or take time working on endless revisions that don't really improve a paper significantly. Try instead to pick a time limit that to which you must adhere.

Pick a time limit, write, finish.

If you are having a hard time letting go of the task, see if you can find someone to act as an accountability partner to help you let it go. Many time, people find that using time limits that seem too short actually improves the quality of their work.

Try it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Projects AND Articles

Sometimes, I will ask someone how many articles they are working on. they will tell me about all their "projects", yet not about their articles. When I push, it seems they have none, and are working on "collecting data."

Collecting data can go on forever. Collecting data means little if you don't publish it, especially if you are pre-tenure. Remember, you are judged by your scholarly output, not by what you are working on. Always have at least one article you are working on, even when you think you need to be collecting data.  Struggling for ideas on what to write about? Check out some of my posts on idea generation.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Challenge: Connecting to How Lucky We REALLY Are

I feel grateful today. I get to write. I get to play with ideas. I get to have a job where for the most part, I come and go as I please. I get to work with really, really smart people. I am really, really privileged.

Of course, the life of an academic is not all fun and games, and I am frequently not connected to this sense of privilege.  I suspect you have moments when you do not feel privileged and grateful as well. For today's challenge, spend a few minutes writing about those hidden privileges of our work that we take for granted during the day grind.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Given that it is early in the year, I wanted to reach out to readers and see if there are any topics you would like me to write about. Don't be shy!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Get a Coach- Using Faculty Development Funds

Did you know that you can often use your faculty development funds to work with me? Sometimes what we think of as travel funds really can be used in other ways. Some of my clients have asked their directors and deans to fund working with me for ten or twenty sessions; they are often surprised to find that their administrators have found funds to support them, in spite of tight budgets.

If you are interested in working with me, let me know. I can help you figure out how to do so. Don't let funding (or lack of it) be the factor that stops you. I can work with you. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Daily affirmations

The human brain is a forgetting brain. Actually, we often do not forget the important thing we need to remember, but find that these messages come into conflict with other less helpful things that we have learned.  We only appear to forget them.

One of the functions of daily affirmations is that they help position the messages that we want to attend to at the forefront of our consciousness. Affirmations do not change us, but they can help us change our behavior by increasing the "weight" we place on important ideas that can lead to behavioral change. They are far more practical than their slightly "airy fairy" name may connote.

It is important for scholars to have affirmations that lead to good work habits. It is easy to get bogged down by patterns of thought and processes that do not serve us.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Lets do this!! First Challenge of the Year

Its Jan 2. Its time to write!  Yes, your still on vacation. Yes, your having to prepare for classes (those your taking or those your teaching). Yes, it can be hard. But lets just write and not worry about any of that. For just a bit, for a half hour, lets write.  Whatever is in your head telling you that you should do something else, whatever is making it hard to get into the "writing space"-just stop. Pat yourself on the head, tell your brain to shut up, and write.

That is your challenge today!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

I hope that in this coming year you learn to be the scholar you wish to become. I hope you learn the habits, skills and tricks to do so without undue stress, anxiety, and pain. I hope this is your best year ever! I hope that your success, health and happiness all converge.