What’s working for my brain (summer 2019)

What’s working for my brain (summer 2019)

Way back in April 2019 (which feels like ages ago), I wrote a post about the things that were working (and not working) for my brain. I thought I’d do an update to that post about what worked for my brain during the summer months. Summer has such a different feel to it, that it really seems like there’s an adjustment period once it’s in full swing (which is July for me). Which might be why, during August, I felt the need to adjust some things in my/our daily routine. This summer, my days were spent working on a few papers and a systematic review, course prep, 4th year tenure review prep, and building a relationship with a new collaborator. In non-tenure track related life I was working on the blog, plan(it)*, helping out someone in the personal finance realm with her online community, spending time with Mike and Ellie, and also trying to take it easy (ha!). I hadn’t really planned on the summer being filled to the brim... I just kept adding things on and here I am (I’m noticing a pattern 😒). Despite being packed, it was fun! Here’s what’s worked, along with where I’ve struggled.  

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What it’s like to have a toddler on the tenure track

What it’s like to have a toddler on the tenure track

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.

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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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A Few Tips For a Smooth(er) Morning

A Few Tips For a Smooth(er) Morning

Before I pick back up with the planning series, I thought I’d share a few quick tips that we use during our morning routine to make things go a little more smoothly!

If there’s anything I dislike more than rushing around in the morning, it’s rushing around with a toddler in the morning! Although there are only a handful of days when I absolutely need to be out the door by a certain time, we still inevitably find ourselves scrambling to do that one last thing before we head out. [Side note: If you haven’t read my other posts, Mike stays home with Ellie and we’re a one car family, so we have some flexibility in terms of time, but I do rely on Mike to drop me off at the train station.] Today I’m sharing some of the things that help us get out of the house in one piece in the morning.

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Scheduling Basics

Scheduling Basics

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.

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