The Final Quarter: Strategy

Conference Traveling
We are about to enter the final quarter of 2017. It has been a very productive year for me in a variety of ways. Reflecting on how I have worked has helped me streamline the tasks at hand. Planning ahead and knowing my limitations as well as where I can push myself has given me the incentive to work towards self-set deadlines and finish tasks. 

So, here are a few goals and deadlines for this semester as I settle into a new schedule:

Priority 1: Stay healthy, happy, and energized. Without these, nothing I do will be meaningful. Nor will they be worthwhile. Balancing life for the long term has become my goal in my 30s. Life is long and with this in mind, I have learned to prioritize sleep and meaningful social interaction. Being mindful of my needs helps me to reduce stress and in the end, I have found, keeps me curious and productive. Though not always easy, it is going to be one of my highest priorities this semester.

Priority 2: Continue to find small time-holes during the day that are otherwise wasted and use them. I often have an hour here, 30 minutes there during the day which are unoccupied and have learned to look out for them. Taking advantage of these time-holes allows me to work on tasks that otherwise seem to take much more time. This includes writing blogposts, but also abstracts for conferences or intensive thinking spurts. The latter of these can just be brainstorming sessions where I think through what I need/want to teach in my next class or even outlining ideas for a new article. These intensive thinking slots have given me a chance to come up with very useful pockets of ideas and information that I have gratefully used later, saving me from having to think on my feet entirely.

Priority 3: Finish projects. I have one large and important writing task that is currently so close to being done but still requires some more attention. Finishing this project has taken a long time because the details matter. But I am hoping that a few more scheduled hours of work will see this completed satisfactorily. While finishing this project, I will begin a new one, aiming to have it wrapped up by the end of the calendar year. When I complete this, I will have reached my goal of writing 30,000 words in this year. For me, being highly goal oriented, this is a great incentive to sit and get some words written out on my computer. It will be a wonderful point of completion.

So with several weeks of teaching under my belt to get me settled into my new schedule, I will now be protecting my own research and writing time zealously once again this semester. Through careful reflection and prioritizing what I need to get accomplished, I aim to complete this year strong.