Sunday, December 03, 2006

Planning week

For various reasons, this week is a bit of calm before the storm. This is a good thing, as the past month really has been a whirlwind, where I've felt as if I've spent all of my time reacting rather than acting (if that makes sense). I've definitely been working in crisis mode for much of that time, moving from one "has to get done" thing to the next, with little to no time for reflection or planning. But now, all of the major metaphorical fires seem to be extinguished.

I feel like I need to start my sabbatical with a plan. I mean, I do have a plan, in that I have a list of major goals that I want to accomplish and a rough timeline of when I want to complete those goals. But I feel like I need something more concrete, like I need to define some sort of middle ground between goals and little tasks, so that I keep moving forward during my research time. I need to do things like quantify how many articles (journal and conference) I want out of this (and can do realistically before and after the baby arrives) and when I should send those out, quantify other "deliverables" like the software I'll need to write and what I want to release to the larger research community, and figure out what grant opportunities I want to pursue.

Shorter term, I decided last month that my goal for December would be to get at least one article out. I'm sitting on a lot of stuff right now that could be published somewhere, a lot of completed work that's half-written up at this point. I need to figure out what makes most sense to finish/send out first. I also, in a fit of disgust a couple of weeks ago, made a list of "things to fix immediately"---things (code, directories, etc) that are an absolute mess (I blame my research assistants!) and that drive me crazy every time I try to get something done/recreate experimental results. So I need to figure out in the short term what I want to accomplish this month---what mix of writing/analyzing and fixing makes most sense for me, in the time I have available.

So this week I will be strategizing and prioritizing, organizing and writing, purging and reflecting. All so that I can start my sabbatical with a clean slate, a clear path, and a realistic yet ambitious vision.

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