In case you haven’t been keeping track, as of June 1, 2019, I have been blogging for a full 6 months! 🎉🎉🎉 In these 6 months I have written 71 blog posts (including this one) totaling over 73,000 words. In honor of the 6 month mark, here are the 10 most visited posts from Toddler on the Tenure Track, plus a few insights on what I’ve learned since December 2018.
Toddler on the Tenure Track’s 10 Most Visited Posts
Back in February I got an email from Leigh of Teaching Academia. Teaching Academia is a wonderful resource that’s dedicated to helping people navigate and succeed in academia. Leigh asked if I’d write a guest post about being on the tenure track with a kid and I (of course!) said yes! Given a few other recent scheduling posts on the Teaching Academia blog (here and here), we decided my post would focus on a week in my life. On my own blog I’ve done 2 day in the life posts (I and II), and I’m due for another one! This time around I’m detailing an entire week! After we decided on the weekly schedule post, I tracked my time during a week in February during winter term (I was due for a time audit anyway). The screenshot above is what that week looked like. Just as an FYI, I usually don’t keep my calendar looking quite so hectic, this was just for illustration purposes. Although, being able to see all these details in one place can be really helpful… so if you’ve never tracked every single thing you’re doing, I encourage you to give it a whirl!
In my last post I shared a random daily schedule. Today I thought I’d share some basic principles that I try to keep in the forefront of my mind when I’m thinking about how the work day/week will play out. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it does serve as a nice foundation on which my work schedule (and to some extent our personal schedule) is created.
During my yearly planning process I outline when I’d like to achieve each of the goals that I set for the year. This gives me a rough timeline for the term, which makes planning pretty straightforward. My university is on the quarter system, so I have fall, winter, spring, and summer to plan for. I usually create my fall term plan a week or so before the term starts. Then, I’ll create my winter and spring plans during winter break. Because we don’t have a ton of time between winter and spring terms, it ends up being easier to plan everything right before winter term starts. Because I’m technically off contract during the summer, I make my plan once summer has started and I’ve given myself a little bit of a breather from the end of the school year.
Now that you’re humming For the Love of Money, I’m taking a quick detour from the (academic) planning series to talk about our budget. In addition to really enjoying how people plan out their days and spend their time, I also enjoy seeing how people spend their money. Given the number of personal finance blogs and blogs dedicated to paying off debt, I imagine I’m not the only one.
number 6. January 2019 Budget
I initially thought I was going to do some major revamping of the budget given our focus on paying down our student loans. However, when I took a look at the budget, I was happy with how things were set up. The only change is that instead of throwing extra money to savings, most of it (except for yearly bills and our small travel fund) will go to student loans. Also, the first time I posted our budget I rounded all of the %s and it drove me up the wall, so I’m introducing decimals this time around.
One of the things I plan to do on the regular is share what I’m working on each week, progress made, and challenges faced. I do this for myself, so why not add some additional accountability? Below you’ll find the main projects I spent my time on during the week, divided into 5 areas: research, teaching/advising, service/admin, meetings, and personal. There are lots of other things on the back burner or that I don’t need to actively attend to this week, so you won’t see them here - keeping them on my weekly list just creates more chaos! Here’s the first installment... more later on the planning process that goes on behind the scenes.
number 4. It Begins
I vividly remember my first official day on the tenure track. I was sitting in a colleague’s office, trying my best to make it seem like I had it all together, while on the inside I was 100% convinced my brain had been replaced with mush. I was four months postpartum, living in a new city that was over 2000 miles away from family and friends, and it felt like a herculean effort to hold an ordinary conversation with new co-workers. How the hell was I going to function in front of a room full of students? Or in a room full of colleagues? Or for that matter, in a room full of anyone who wasn’t an infant? Good thing this job I just landed requires minimal brain power, ha!
number 3. Little Bit of Context
Before I delve into our how of academic life with a toddler, I think it’s important to give you some context about what life looks like for us (so you can decide whether or not our experiences are similar to your situation).
I started graduate school in 2011, right after Mike and I got married. We knew kids were in our future and we knew that grad school and our geographic location were temporary. We figured the next place we lived would be for the long haul so it made sense to wait until after our next move to have a kid. The original plan was that I’d finish school in 4 years, but life happened and I tacked on an additional year. With this extra time we started to seriously think about having a kid while I was still in grad school. We had a lot of questions, like how would I navigate the job market while pregnant, what would finishing up my dissertation while pregnant (or with a newborn) look like, how would we move with an infant? But life is short and sometimes you just have to figure all that stuff out as you go.
Oh. My. Gosh. People love to give advice about the academic job market in general. Add in the fact that you’re also pregnant and the desire to impart wisdom goes through the roof! And of course if you don’t follow their advice there are dire consequences (i.e., you won’t get the job). That being said, I got a whole lot of advice, and to the best of my memory, only one of those people had been pregnant while searching. I’m sharing my story today so that there’s one more example of a successful job search while pregnant out there for anyone who is wondering if it can be done! I was initially going to share tips in this post, but I think I’ll save them for the next one as it’s a long story! This will be part I of II.
what have I learned from 6 months of blogging?
There’s a lot more to blogging than writing posts (and it’s a lot of work!). Between taking pictures (or finding them from old photos), editing pictures, deciding how to lay everything out, coming up with instagram posts (and taking pictures), checking stats, getting people to the site (definitely need to work on this one!), engaging with other bloggers/followers (which I’m terrible at!), making pinterest posts (also terrible at this!), and just generally trying to keep everything organized… there are so many moving pieces. It often feels like a miracle that I get 2 posts up each week, plus 1 or 2 instagram posts.
In terms of writing posts, it’s hard to stay ahead, especially with posting twice a week. Before I officially launched the blog I had a surplus of written posts, but I quickly used those up in favor of getting content out there. While I have a few rough drafts for posts, I pretty much write everything during the week I hit publish… which feels rushed. Over the summer I’m hoping to build up my surplus again so that next school year I don’t feel rushed and can more easily get (non-weekly update) posts out there.
It’s a great way to connect with like minded people and resources you never knew existed. In the future, I’d really like to engage more with other bloggers (mainly in the form of reading and commenting on their sites). I do a little bit of this, but it’s hard to find the time to read anyone else’s stuff when I’m trying to manage my own!
For the next 6 months I’ll likely tone things down a notch in terms of posting. I wanted to get as much out there as possible during the school year. Now that summer is almost here, I’ll probably scale back to monthly updates and perhaps every other week content posting, bringing back weekly updates when the school year starts back up.
I’m still really enjoying blogging and am so glad I took the leap and gave it a try. I have so many more ideas… just don’t have an infinite amount of time to get them all out there (and have a life at the same time!).
Thanks for reading!!