Time to write!

Truly. It’s been a while since my last entry here, and the title is more than appropriate.

I came across a wonderful resource for webinars centered on “Thriving in Academia”, provided by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. I started with a 3-part webinar by Josh Schimel with the promising title “How to Write Papers That Get Cited and Proposals That Get Funded”. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars which is similar to the overall rating of his book on Amazon.

Even better are parts of the core curriculum, a set of 12 webinars you can watch whenever it fits your own schedule. They claim to aim at:

  • Explosive Productivity
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Strategic Planning

So far, I only took 2 webinars out of this series (“Developing a Daily Writing Practice”, and “Mastering Academic Time Management”) but these have been FANTASTIC. They change my life.

Core messages that surprisingly surprised me but couldn’t be any truer:

  • No matter how much we organize, manage and try to catch up with everything: There is just not enough time to manage everything.
  • We spend far too much time on things with imminent deadlines or satisfaction (teaching, service, emails…) and far too little on what matters long-term (scientific writing).
  • Forcing yourself to acquire a daily writing habit, optimally with a set goal per week, will boost the amount of scientific writing (far more so than waiting for big chunks of time to occur).

My message for today:

  • If you have access, take some NCFDD webinars, you won’t regret it.
  • Daily write for 30-60 minutes. No excuses. Right away in the morning. No excuses (really)! – It works for me, I already drafted half a method paper in just over a week.

Here some personal background for this entry:

I’ve struggled a bit in the last couple months with frustration and was even more behind with everything than usual. Not surprising, considering that I have been the senior postdoc in two labs at once (in one the only one beside my PI and undergraduate assistants) without having technical assistants in either. So I kind of manage everything – labs, orders, people, experiments, data, analysis, lab meetings. AND go to seminars (occasionally). AND am in that busy state of job hunting. AND have two little kids (thank goodness for daycare and a great husband).

So I came to a point, where I needed things to change. Badly.

I could condense everything to few facts:

  • I LOVE my job.
  • I NEED to get to the next stage (as PI) to realize my own projects.
  • I want to go back to Germany (for personal and academic reasons).

So I now focus my energy to make it work (which means even more applications, grant proposals, and a prospective international move, next to my daily research).

I also invest some time again in professional and personal development which I actually really like doing.

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