Happy New Year!
I like ending a year and starting a year doing one thing: reflecting.
I think karma has intervened and as I draft this post, I’m sitting at home, under a blanket, on the couch with a box of tissues next to me with a head cold. I think it’s a gentle reminder to start my goals very simply and very deliberately this year.
- Remind myself that self care isn’t selfish. Whether it’s continuing to make time to swim or remind myself that I can take a time out, I need to remind myself that I am lucky enough to have a job where I can stay home and rest and not infect my colleagues with whatever germs I have picked up. Designing my own schedule is a form of psychological freedom that I relish in and I’m willing to make less money in order to be able to design my schedule. Taking good care of myself may mean coming home and being still or making sure I head out and see my friends, but it’s all self care and it’s all equally important.
- Better quality first drafts. I sent out manuscripts this year and had accepts/edits/R&R’s/rejects. On my final acceptance of the year (12/21/15), the reviewers came back with very complimentary feedback. It was an R&R at first and I worked hard on it with one other author. The compliments were delightful, “much improved from draft one,” “authors reorganized and draft should be accepted,” and “no need for reviewers to see again, accept with minor edits.” The minor edits were FOUR grammatical type things “add an ‘s,'” “should be ‘with’ instead of ‘of,'” and things of the like. I get impatient with manuscripts or I drag them out for so long that I forget them. I need to do a better job this year of putting out better quality first drafts. I’m not sure if the rejections I got this year would have been accepted because of it (one said, ‘this does not fit with the direction our journal wants to go in’) but it did give me pause to consider it.
- Say “yes” to things that will help my trajectory and continue to be better about saying “no” to things that won’t. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I have a hard time saying no, I think most people do, but I have gotten a lot better about thinking “how will this help me?” before saying yes this year. Some things are easy to say no to and others are easy to say yes to, but knowing where something will benefit me is something I need to work on. I have assumed more responsibility this year in advising, committees for graduate students, teaching more classes, and assuming more undergraduate researchers. All of those were easy “yes'” for me to make. I also said yes to a few big grant proposals and traveled to a few conferences. Where I found myself thinking before saying yes was when there would be ‘open calls’ for things. Whether in the department or out in the broader community of the university, I would sit, listen, and not respond right away. I would often wait, think about it, and then send a note to the organizer. It sounds very selfish but as a young faculty member, my time isn’t growing and the pulls on it continue to pull. A friend and colleague of mine always says, “if it’s not helping my T&P packet, I’m not doing it.” Some people would be critical of their stance, but I get it. Watching them draw a very firm line in the sand and then stick to it is the discipline I need to work on.
There you have it. Happy 2016!