Some Tips to help plan for Semester 1 2012!

Although you probably are in a frenzy to get ready for the upcoming semester, I am going to suggest that you add one more task to your immediate to-do list: Make a plan for the Spring Semester. 

Setting goals for the Spring Semester will allow you to see a bit more lucidly what lies ahead and will relieve some of your anxiety by permitting you to come to terms with what you can and cannot accomplish.

Thus, even though it is one more task in addition to all you have to do, I highly recommend you take an hour out of your busy schedule and sit down and write out your goals and plans for the Spring Semester. Here is how I do it.

Step One: List all of the research tasks that you would like to accomplish this semester

Look over your calendar and through your emails to make sure that you do not forget any important tasks. Things you might put on the list include: submit book proposal, send off article, complete a revise and resubmit, or prepare paper assignment for undergraduate class.

Here is an example list of Spring 2012 goals:


SPRING 2012 Goals

Finish Deported book
Guate interviews
Guate draft
Brazil interviews
Brazil draft
Rewrite chapters
Citizenship notes
Incorporate discussion of TRAC data

South Carolina
ASA (submit paper)

Submit Human Rights piece to Sociology
Submit jokes article to ERS
Write intro essay for ERS
Project with SD and YI
– Paper #1
– Paper #2
– Paper #3

Finalize SOC 332 syllabus
Finalize SOC 780 syllabus

Step Two: Arrange your tasks by month

Now that you know what you need to do, the next step is to figure out when you are going to do it. Take a look at your list of goals and decide which ones you will complete in January. Put put in the month of January any task that requires your immediate attention. Anything with a February deadline goes in February, and anything with an March deadline goes in March. Once you have dealt with the tasks that have deadlines, you can decide where to put the remaining tasks that do not have firm deadlines.

Here are some January goals

January Goals
Guate interviews
Guate draft
Submit Human Rights piece to Sociology
Submit jokes article to ERS
Summit speech
Finalize SOC 780 syllabus
Finalize SOC 332 syllabus
AJS review
Paper to ASA

Step Three: Arrange your tasks by weeks

If you have four writing goals for January, then you can place one in each week of the month. If you have two, then give yourself two weeks for each. The point is to decide NOW when you will turn your attention to each task. This will help you to keep on track and to feel less guilty about not dealing with everything at once. For January, for example:

Week 1
– Human Rights piece for Sociology
– Speech
– Finalize SOC 780 Syllabus
– Finalize SOC 332 Syllabus
– AJS review
– Guate interviews
– Submit paper to ASA

Week 2
– Human Rights piece to Sociology
– Outline/Plan OUP Chapter 3
– Guate interviews

Week 3
– Submit jokes article to ERS
– One section of OUP Chapter 3
– Guate interviews

Week 4
– Complete draft of OUP Chapter 3
– Complete Guate draft

Step Four: Figure out what will not get done this semester (The 4 D’s)

What do you do when you have more tasks than time? Anyone who has read David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity will know that there are four options for any task: do, defer, delete, or delegate.

For the Spring Semester, this means that you have to look at each of your goals and decide if you will do them this Spring, defer them to a later date, decide they are not important and delete them, or delegate them. These decisions can be hard, but it is much better to make this decision now than to have these tasks weigh on your shoulders for the rest of the semester. 

All of your pending tasks should fall into these four categories:

  1. DO:  Prioritize all of the tasks and projects you actually will do this semester, and make sure there is a place for them in your semester plan.
  2. DEFER: If the project is something you really would like to do, but can’t do it this spring, make it a priority for the summer (defer it).
  3. DELETE: If it is something you wish you could get out of, find a way to delete it diplomatically. For example, if you have agreed to do something by February and now realize you will not be able to, you can tell the person with whom you made the agreement: “I just made a detailed plan for my semester, and have come to realize that I simply do not have the time to complete this work by the deadline. I hope you can find someone else to fulfill this role.”
  4. DELEGATE: Delegation is often particularly hard for academics, but there are things that can be delegated, such as organizing your office, transcribing your interviews, cleaning your data, and formatting your endnotes.

Step Five: Implement your plan

A detailed semester plan is not of much use if you don’t implement it. Many productivity experts suggest you print out your goals and place them somewhere you can see it on a daily basis. I think it is even better to post your plan where you will see it every day. This will serve as a constant reminder of your goals and where you are headed.

Each week, as you make your weekly plan, refer back to your semester plan to make sure you are on track. Finally, remember to find time to write every day to maximize your chances of achieving your semester goals.

Published in: on January 3, 2012 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Russian Pirate Salad

As requested here is the recipe for the Russian Salad we had at the picnic. It is dead easy to make but takes a while and quite a few saucepans…

100g peas

100g green beans

6 cauliflower florets

2 potatoes

2 carrots

1 cooked beetroot

1 egg (hard-boiled and shelled)


Dice the vegetables and cook in separate pans of boiling water until al dente. Drain well and place all the vegetables in a large bowl. Dice the cooked beetroot and the hard-boiled egg and add these to the bowl. Stir in enough mayonnaise (a couple of tablespoons) to form a soft mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Photos from the first annual picnic

A lovely picnic was eaten on the park and some games were played.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Group outing next week: From Emma D

DTP Picnic event

Hi everyone

I tried to attach the picnic flyer here… think I might need technical support

But hope you are all looking forward to it

See you Tuesday

Emma D

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

A writing manifesto…. to give you inspiration

Let go of excuses.
Make time to write.
Give up toxic language.
Have a plan of some kind.
Do what works for you.  
Make writing a priority.
Let your imagination lead you. 
Remember being a writer is a choice.
Make a commitment to yourself and your writing.
Have faith in what you know, not in what you’ve been taught to believe. 
Discover what makes you unique and use it.
Trust that all things are possible.
Take small actions every day.
Ignore the naysayers. 
Chase your dreams.
Believe in yourself.
Stay positive.  
Just a little something that appeared in my inbox today…. Tracy

Published in: on July 4, 2011 at 8:21 am  Leave a Comment  

CV advice from ‘Dan the Man’ in Careers…

ok guys, as promised, here is a brief run down of what Dan in careers suggests our academic CVs should look like…


1) limit it to 2 pages maximum!

2) First page is highlighting your skills and achievements, you can do this in one of 2 ways…

  • have the following headings ; research, communication, planning, teamwork, problem solving and IT.  Then beneath each heading put 2 or 3 bullet points to show/evidence your skills in that area.  These can be from employment, education or community activities


  • have the following headings; Research, teaching, administration.  Then beneath each have 3 or 4 bullet points as per above…

3) Second Page is where you list your education (up to half  a page) and then your employment (just name of company, dates and job title) for up to a third of a page….

4) appendices are your friend!  in addition to the 2 page synopsis CV you can have as many appendices as you like, it was suggested one each for publications, conferences attended/presented at (and you can include workshops) and of course a one page synopsis of your PhD!


Hope this has helped, the careers centre are happy to see us guys, just email and ask for an appointment.  I had 45 mins of chatting through options and my CV and it was really useful!





Published in: on June 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm  Comments (2)  

saying ‘no’ again

If you didn’t take note when Tracy taught us about the importance of saying no, I’ve found another post on the topic. Scarily it comes from a website called ‘Zenhabits’ which I’m not sure sounds very b1o1-esque, but despite this, it does have some useful tips about how to actually say ‘no’ i.e. the words you can say instead while still very much meaning NO.

Published in: on June 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm  Leave a Comment  


Ok, I am the first to admit to this….. I have a problem….. I am addicted to….


Distractions and Procrastination!


I try and I try but there often seems to be something more interesting, pressing, desirable to do than actually transcribe/analyse/write and so I have been procrastinating productively 😀 and found these useful tips!

take some time out and enjoy!

Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  

a look into the distant future…

One day… no, really, one day… we will come to the end of our PhDs!

And after thinking millions of thoughts and writing thousands of words, there will still be one job left to do. The dedication and acknowledgements. I know, I know… this might read as some sort of cruel joke given how, for many of us, this is miles away (light years), but I thought I’d lead you to an article (click me) on the Sussex Doctoral School blog all about writing those very final words… After all, it’s a bit of a motivator to think about getting to that stage.

And, let’s be honest, it’s a distraction from the real task, and when has that ever been a bad thing?  


Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 9:47 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , ,

today’s academic CV

I was talking yesterday to Tracy about recent trends in the style and layout of an academic CV. After a meeting with a guy at the careers centre (is this right Tracy?), it seemed that things were all change in the world of the academic CV. A front page bullet-pointing your main qualities/skills and the examples that show them? Appendices listing publications and conferences presented at? These things are all part of the wider landscape of building a reputation as an academic – something that’s more and more influenced by the digital networks we’re creating and engaging in.

I’ve just been reading this great article on the Thesis Whisperer (if you haven’t checked this blog out, it’s well worth a look – I’ve put it in the blogroll) all about the internet presence you carve out for yourself as an academic – something as important as your paper CV. Click here to read it. It seems like the importance of this is only going to grow. Could this be the subject of a mini-workshop we do at the next DTP group. Let me know if it’s interesting to you…


Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm  Comments (5)