Summer Updates!

Summer Updates!

I have been busy behind the scenes and have two big updates for you!

First… I have a mailing list! Which feels like a huge deal to me… not really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but it makes this space feel so much more official. You can sign up for it on the main page: www.toddleronthetenuretrack.com. As a thank you for signing up, you’ll also get a 7 step guide that I put together for planning a tantrum free (ha!) academic year.

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My First Year on the Tenure Track

My First Year on the Tenure Track

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a recap of my first and second years on the tenure track, along with some reflections about what I learned each year. Once summer is done (for me, that’s in September), I’ll share insights from my third year (still got a few more months to work on those goals!).

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Summertime and the livin's... easy?

Summertime and the livin's... easy?

Summer! That magical time of year when people who work in the field of education get to take a nice, relaxing ~3 month vacation… ha! In reality, yes, summer is a slower pace, but in my experience there is still a significant amount of work that goes on (and it’s often unpaid). I hear others talk about how wonderful summer is, because they finally get to work on all the things (usually research) that got pushed to the side during the school year. I guess I get that to some extent, but a huge part of me really balks at that mentality. If universities are paying us for 9-months of work, shouldn’t we, theoretically, be able to get everything done in those 9-months, or at least be in a position to pause for 3 months?

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My Research/Writing Pipeline

My Research/Writing Pipeline

The ability to juggle multiple projects with an infinite number of moving pieces is (I think) an essential skill for reducing the overwhelm that can come with academic life. In an ideal world, it would be lovely if this wasn’t a necessary skill for survival, but we live in the real world, with ever increasing workloads and expectations, where advanced project management skills are essential. Between research, teaching, service, and all the things that don’t fall within the bounds of these three pieces (…setting up your office?), there is always something to do. Project management should be a key component of all doctoral programs... instead of expecting everyone to learn through osmosis (which doesn’t always work out so well).  

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Mondays are for...

Mondays are for...

...all of those little administrative details that I just don’t want to do (across research, teaching, and service), catching up on emails, and planning (which I always want to do!)! In my mind, I’d prefer to start my week with my “hardest” work - lots of writing and thinking big thoughts! However, in reality my weeks haven’t been playing out this way. Instead, I’ve been starting the week with all the little things I put off at the end of the previous week. They aren’t necessarily mentally taxing, but when they pile up they can take a significant amount of time. Plus, I usually experience a bit of an uphill climb to get back into work mode after the weekend. Easing into the workweek suits my general work (and life) style!

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Data Collection, Experimentation, + Scheduling Blocks... Oh My!

Data Collection, Experimentation, + Scheduling Blocks... Oh My!

A few weeks ago I opened up a work email from the Textbook and Academic Authoring Association (TAA) prompting me to sign up for a webinar titled “Creative Scheduling For Those Who Have ‘All of the Time in the World’ and ‘No Time At All.’” I was intrigued by the title and even more surprised when I opened up the email and saw that the presenter was Dr. Katy Peplin of ThrivePhD, who I follow on instagram! Since I’m still quite new to the academic blogging scene, I haven’t had many instances of overlap between my blogging life and my professional life (granted, my blog is all about my professional life, so they are bound to collide at some point!).

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The Master Plan vs. Reality

The Master Plan vs. Reality

I posted two screenshots on instagram today. One of my grading plan for Tuesday and another of what actually happened. A fellow academic mama commented and asked if I edit my calendar as the day goes by to reflect what actually happens, noting that this would be a super helpful strategy for visualizing how much time things actually take vs. a potentially overly optimistic estimation of how long they will take! It’s funny, because I don’t know that I was even thinking of this as a strategy I use to help me plan, but it definitely is (and I did it without realizing it). So, thank you dontworryteach for making this explicit!

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Planning Series: My Daily Planning Process

Planning Series: My Daily Planning Process

I’m ending the planning series with a look at how I plan out each day. Here are all the links to the previous posts from this series: my yearly intention, yearly goals, quarter planning, to do list, and weekly planning. Usually each day of my work week is highly structured and I leave the weekends open (other than events that are scheduled for specific times). Since I’ve already done the work to schedule tasks for each day during my weekly planning session, I don’t actually have that much to do for daily planning besides reviewing my schedule and adjusting as needed (e.g., if something else comes up that needs to get done or I finish something quicker than expected).

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Planning Series: How I Plan My Week

Planning Series: How I Plan My Week

So far I’ve talked about my yearly intention, yearly goals, quarter planning, and to do list. These are all pretty high level endeavors. Weekly (and daily) planning are where the work actually happens. Ideally, I plan for the upcoming week on Friday at the end of the day. In reality, I’m often so exhausted by that time that I don’t have it in me. Occasionally I’ll do it on Sunday, but usually I don’t want work to intrude on weekend decompression. More often than not, I plan for the week on Monday morning. Here’s what my process currently looks like.

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