Whelp. It is August. I’m not sure how the fuck that happened, but it happened. I hope this summer was everything you dreamed of because it is about to be a nightmare (JOKING. KIND OF).
First, if you are a new(ish) assistant professor, maybe you’d find the advice that I put together last year useful? You can find it here. The rules that I wish I had known, more than a decade ago: 1) be a good social scientist and collect and organize data; 2) Borrow, beg, steal, but don’t reinvent the wheel; 3) Self-care is never selfish; 4) Make your own damn rules; & 5) be kind to yourself and others.
Second, if you are going to APSA and would like to hang out, please hold Thursday Sept 15, 4:30-6:30 open for a little #MHAWS get-together. Location TBD but will be easy access from the conference venue.
Third, August 1 means (for me) TIME TO PANIC.
No, seriously. I’m panicking. But I’m also planning. I’m planicking. It’s great.
Just in case it is useful for you, here’s my process for planning for the next year (WTF), semester, and month:
Step 1: Fun first
Look at a calendar and map out all the vacations, days off, holidays, and fun you have planned.
Step 2: Understand your commitments
Here’s where I write down everything that I have committed to everyone, including talks, conferences, coauthors, and time off. This includes conferences you plan to submit to and haven’t yet! Talks you might give! (to your parents over thanksgiving turkey is shady here, but I’ll let it fly). I separate these into “hard commitments” (i.e., there’s an actual deadline) and “soft commitments” (dreams that will die swiftly).
Step 3: Organize and prioritize your commitments
I then write out the things that I would like to do before the end of the year, organizing them into three tiers: top tier (the must dos), middle tier (the like to dos), and bottom tier (the in my fucking dreams dos).
Here’s the link to what that looks like for me. As always, I’m aggressive (it is in the fucking name of this newsletter) and my planning is over the top. If you will be unhappy with yourself or me after you look at my goals, don’t look at my fucking goals.
Step 4: Figure out some deadlines
Now that you have an idea about what you want to do and when you have to do stuff, make some deadlines for yourself! How are you going to get that APSA paper done? What do you need to do to finish that book by March 1 (asking for myself, of course). I go through my list of tier one and two and assign them first to a semester/summer (fall, spring, summer) and those assigned to the fall get a month. You will notice that lots of my top priority stuff has fall deadlines. Ya know, because I know I gotta get that shit done.
Step 5: Monthly to-do lists
From here, you have the beginnings of a list of what needs to get done over the next few months. You can then create a monthly to-do list from this (if you want to see mine for August, scroll scroll scroll on that link) and use that to guide your weekly to-do lists.
Step 6: Use your goals list!!
Don’t put shit on your to-do list that isn’t on your goal list! Or if you want to work on something that’s on your to-do list, put it on your goal list and assign it a priority! That way, you are actually keeping track of your projects, how much you’ve agreed to work on, and maybe (just maybe) recognizing that if you put a new project on, another project will get less attention (as my friend Christina says “every yes is a no to something else”). Maybe this year, I’ll take my own advice on this!
Step 7: Win
Remember: not everyone is the same kind of goal setter and not everyone will want to be me, setting a ton of goals and failing to meet them. You could take this silly quiz about what kind of goal setter you are if it will make you feel better.