Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Managing your time: how to make this semester different from all others

Historiann and Tenured Radical have a pair of great posts about how to take control of your time: their theme is "say no and set limits." These quotations in particular might get printed out and put above my desk:
TR: "Your scholarship is part of your job. Schedule between 25 and 30% of the time you allot for work during the week to keeping your scholarship going."

Historiann: "And just a reminder, friends: Don’t be afraid of being called 'selfish.' If you are in fact 'a girl,' it will happen anyway, so do what you need to do to succeed."
What I'd add is two things:

1. You can never do enough. Whatever you do, however many meetings you attend, someone will decide that you're not there, or have not written enough reports, or didn't show up for their best friend's piano recital, or something else equally vital.

Case in point: last year, during graduation, a colleague said, "Have you ever been to graduation before?" I bit my tongue and said, "Yes, last year, and the year before that, and the year before that," without adding, "where we had extended conversations each time. What's wrong with you?"

2. Don't take it personally. I used to worry about this more (do I really walk around in a cloak of invisibility?) before realizing that this says more about the memory/distractedness/nuclear level of self-absorption of the person making the comment than it does about you.

Come to think of it, maybe TR's and Historiann's quotations should be cross-stitched to a sampler suitable for framing. If I weren't comically inept at all Womanly Arts involving a needle and thread, I'd make one right now.


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

I could do the stitching as a procrastination project!

Historiann said...

Love your idea of a sampler! I should set my mother to work on it. She's very crafty.

Nicole said...

I think that if you don't value your own time and say yes to every service project that comes your way, then the other folks in your department won't value it either.

One of my female colleagues killed herself with service work pre-tenure and you're right, it was never enough. Now that she's got tenure she's been shedding responsibilities and letting some of those older gentlemen in the department take them on. Not like they appreciated her when she was doing them, they're just upset she's stopped.

I, on the other hand, took on only programs for which I was specifically needed (curriculum development for a core I teach) or would benefit me professionally (organizing a department brown-bag) and one that has a defined goal with set time (admissions committee). This year I'm adding one outside service to the university with a defined goal and set time (scholarships). That way I can say NO to the Women's faculty network which meets once a month and complains about the exact same things that it has been complaining about for decades but never actually does anything about (mostly that humanities professors get paid less than engineering professors).

I get above average service ratings on my annual review.

undine said...

Dame Eleanor--now there's one I never thought of for procrastination! If there were a blog called CRAFT FAIL or Craftwrecks, my projects would be on it.

Historiann, your words deserve preservation. Does your mother read your blog?

Nicole, I think you're right. If you do the work (like your colleague), they don't appreciate it, but if you don't, they brand you as selfish and get upset, as Historiann said.