We are back – Epigrammetry’s Plans for 2022

Normally, I would start with wishing you a healthy, successful and overall adventurous new year, but we have reached February already, so… I hope your first weeks in 2022 have been good and you are still motivated and happy.

It was very silent here on our site, I know. Sarah took off for a needed holiday before Christmas and I myself spent time at home with my parents and my partner, far away from writing and thinking about old stuff and university work in general. 2021 got us really bad in the end. We were exhausted. Drop dead exhausted. Still are, but it is getting better. The end of the semester is at hand and motivation and strength are returning to us – for work, the academic jet-set and this blog. 🙂
And I think, it is absolutely okay to say that we needed a break. Sometimes you have to unplug and to rest properly. My work will be of no use, if I just drop dead in reality because of stressing me out in very absurd ways.

I am no big fan of New Year Resolutions – that’s why we talk about plans here (and we really missed the time this year when resolutions are a thing…). 2022 will be full of quests and side missions, but then, well, we are used to these circumstances. The most important plan is to work on our workload from last year. Getting all the sh*t done that we had to bring with us to the new year. Sometimes, because we planned terribly optimistic on the time it would take us to finish certain tasks. Sometimes, because other people planned terribly and it is not our fault that some deadlines were simply not possible to meet in a decent way. And sometimes poor luck, procrastination, illness, no motivation, exhaustion got in our way. That’s life, even in academia, I guess. Oh, especially academic life in the middle of a pandemic. By now, we are used to this, but still: it’s pure stress and it’s getting on our nerves. And this would be the kind way to put it.

But now, back to business: What will we be up to this year?

  1. Working on our things left undone and finish them. The next 6 to 7 months are dedicated to this goal. Some things take their time, but we can control this, simply by saying “NO” to all distractions or any new work task that will hinder us to complete our main quests.
  2. Be more careful about our most important resource – us. The overall situation causes a lot of distress, even if we are healthy and fine, with a job and in control of our life. We continued  to work like usual. But the struggle with our workload is different. It got somehow harder. And this is not because we are not pushing enough or because we can’t handle the pressure. The level of insecurity has risen these past two years. And it affects us all.
  3. Empower other PhD candidates and PostDocs on this blog. We are right in the middle of asking people if they want to write a post about their work for our blog – stay tuned, there are really fancy things to come.

So, how do we get there? Remember, very important for meeting any goal – the SMART method: make your goals specific, measureable, achieveable, relevant and time-bound. (In case you never heard of the SMART method, it is well used in project management and we heard and read about it a lot – you can find basic information here).

Using the SMART characteristics on our goals:

  1. What are the goals? Working on our things left undone and finish them. As I said, the next 6 to 7 months will be necessary for most of these tasks. I am talking about articles to write, revise, correct, publish, about the editing of collective volumes, finishing publication drafts for books, outlining talks and conference papers, finally analyze my finding material of last year’s teaching excavation… – so, basically, I have a list with all my main tasks, each of them with a list of goals and tiny steps to completion.
  2. Measurable – well, this means the definition of when a task is finished (or all the little steps of my main quests, one following the other). How can I tell that I reached one of my goals for each day? I like this point, because it makes you think about your work.
  3. Achievable – this is a very important point, because we all tend to be overwhelmed in academia, because of the huge workload and our to-do-lists are always growing… like an unstoppable thread of our mind’s peace. So, again: tiny goals, tiny steps, keep moving.
  4. Relevant goals: Done is better than perfect. Well, yes, but aren’t we all little perfectionists? I am for sure. Decide on priorities – which tasks are very important for you, which can wait? Which can be delegated? Another planning process, yes. But a necessary one.
  5. Time-bound. It is always difficult to manage time spent on our important tasks vs. the time we have to do them. And there is always not enough time.

How do you cope with your enormous workload? What do you do when you loose track? What about all the stuff you just can’t say “NO”? Like… the invitation to the final round for the job of an assistant prof or whatever – so, really big stuff that is not so regularly in our lives. Let us know in the comments! Tell us about your struggles. We see you! Let this be the year, where we get rid of all the stuff not done yet. 😉

 

 

 


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