"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Listen to Your Body (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future, March 16, 2015 )

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

This time of year my e-mail is overflowing with messages from new faculty members who are in a spring term funk: physically and mentally exhausted, annoyed with colleagues, can't stand to hear another talk, students working their last good nerve, and hopelessly behind on writing and research. While this spring term funk is a recurring phenomenon, I am struck by how many of you also describe physical symptoms and illnesses that have emerged along with your escalating stress level. As a result, let’s talk about Common New Faculty Mistake #10:Ignoring Your Body.

While some of our physical ailments are purely physical, others can result from work-related stress and the manifestation of unresolved emotional issues. When we fail to provide for our own needs and personal care, our body has a way of getting our attention by sending out pain signals: all those aching backs, chest pains, breathing problems, migraine headaches, dizziness, digestive problems, and hair falling out by the fistful that folks described. And I understand why many of you are stressed! The tenure-track is a six year full-out sprint that is stressful by design. If you’re under-represented, you may also be facing racism and sexism in your departments that can result in elevated expectations and scrutiny of your teaching and research. Additionally, many of you are caregivers who are also responsible for aging parents, extended family members, small children, and some grown folks that act like children. The combination of all these factors on a daily basis creates stress that needs to be relieved on a regular basis. The problem is that when we ignore our body's messages in pursuit of productivity and meeting other people's needs, our own symptoms can continually increase in severity. Pushing ourselves past our limits -- until we are ill and require immediate medical attention -- doesn't make any of us more productive! Instead, we are forced to take blocks of time off to recover, and end up being simultaneously less healthy and less productive.

This week, I want to suggest that we each acknowledge the stress we are experiencing and check in with our bodies and our spirits. Below are three steps you can use to check in with yourself, assess your stress, and take a step toward stress reduction.

Check in with yourself
Start by asking yourself (without judgment): How am I feeling today, physically and emotionally? Are my needs being met? Do I have regular stress-relieving activities? What is missing in my life? What have I let fall by the wayside while I've been working so hard and caring for others? How can I get my needs met in an immediate way?

Assess your stress
Once you are in touch with your needs, name them. Some of you may have physical aches and pains that require medical attention. By all means, stop reading this and make an appointment with your health care professional. You may find that you need some basic personal care. Whether it's a guilt-free nap in your office or a honey-butter massage, go ahead and make arrangements to do what you need to do. Some of you have emotional needs that aren't being met, or maybe the cumulative impact of daily disrespect, devaluation, and departmental drama has taken a toll on your sense of self-worth. It's time to ask supportive people in your life to help you restore your internal equilibrium. Or maybe you have a generalized sense of exhaustion, in which case, it's time to open up your calendar and figure out how you can get a good night’s sleep every night this week.

Ask for Help
Many new faculty members are afraid to ask for help because they imagine it will be perceived as a sign of weakness and/or they don't want to impose on anyone else's precious time. In reality, we need other people's help and they will need ours at some point in time. When you are a new faculty member, asking for assistance is expected and serves as a sign of clarity and strength. My experience is that most senior faculty genuinely want you to succeed, and want to be helpful in that process. The problem is that they may not know how to do so because they don’t know what you need at any given time. Presenting them with a problem you’re having and asking them for advice makes it easier and more effective for them to mentor you.

Alternatively, you can describe a problem and ask for specific assistance. Honestly, getting the kind of help that will pull you out of a spring term funk is as simple as: 1) being highly specific about your needs and 2) asking others for concrete forms of help that take minimal time. For example, I have received all of the following requests in the past from pre-tenure faculty and was happy to accommodate them:
  • My students are driving me crazy! Will you guest lecture in my class next week?
  • I feel so demoralized by my colleagues. Will you call me tomorrow and affirm what's good about my work (and about me as human being) for 10 minutes?
  • I haven't cleaned all semester/quarter and my apartment is a disgusting mess. Will you help me find someone to clean it?
  • This winter weather has been so depressing I can't take it anymore! Can I borrow your HappyLite tomorrow morning for 30 minutes?
  • I just can't get started writing. Can I come over and write with you for an hour?
  • My son is sick AGAIN! Can you connect me with someone else who is going through the same thing so I can commiserate and figure out what to do?
  • I have a new idea and I've written 10 pages, but I need someone else to look at it and give me brief feedback. Can you read it and tell me if it makes logical sense?
  • All I ever do is work and now I feel angry and resentful. Can you suggest 3 things I can do for fun in Chicago that cost less than $20.00?
  • I just received a job offer. Can you read the offer letter and tell me what parts I can and should negotiate?
  • I'm sick. Can you recommend a doctor?

Isn't that amazing? They state their problem quickly and clearly, and then ask for a very specific action that takes little time (the max was guest lecturing in a 50-minute class, the least was 30 seconds to look up my doctor’s phone number). I then feel free to ask for assistance from them with the same rules: it has to be specific and take less than one hour. I don't know what your needs might be, but I hope this formula gives you some ideas of effective ways to ask for information, support, and connections that will help you get your needs met.

The Weekly Challenge

This week, I challenge you to:
  • Stop for a moment, close your eyes, and take three long deep breaths. Then ask yourself: How am I feeling and what do I need?
  • If you are unwilling or unable to do #1, gently ask yourself why you feel reactive to that suggestion.
  • If you discover you are physically ill, emotionally neglected, or just plain tired, ask yourself: What can I do this week to address my needs?
  • Give yourself permission to take whatever rest you need, knowing that overexertion reduces productivity.
  • Ask others for help either by initiating an open-ended conversation or by stating your need directly and making a specific request.
  • Write every day for at least 30 minutes.

I hope this week brings each of you physical and emotional health, the self-awareness to identify your needs, and the courage to ask for help from those in your community that are committed to your success.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

How to hide posts from Blogger?

Actually sometimes we publish some posts that we don’t want to be seen by anyone. It can be any reason and any post that you wish not to show in your homepage can be easily hidden from your visitors.

Don’t panic, there wont be any codes to enter in your template (as what others suggested) and I'm not going to share any codes; Do you know that Blogger lets you to change the post back to draft? The trick is by reverting to draft the post you can simply hide it from your homepage, but which still appears in your older archives. That is the hidden post is available only for you to post later on, and not for visitors who lands straight in your homepage. Let us see how to hide certain posts from Blogger homepage.

Login to your Blogger blog and go to posts. Now in post editor that is in top center you will see “publish” option. Just next to that you have "revert to draft" option. Click and select the check boxes of all the posts you want to hide and then click on the revert to draft option.

Go check on your blog’s homepage where you can notice that the particular post is hidden.

Hope this helped you on how to hide specific posts from homepage in Blogger.

Have You Fallen Into The Teaching Trap? (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future Monday, March 9, 2015 )

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

My first tenure-track job was extraordinarily teaching intensive. I taught five courses per semester at a community college while also writing my dissertation. As difficult as that situation was for me, I was delighted to have a job devoted to teaching because at the very core of my being, I AM a teacher. As someone who loves teaching, I threw my heart and soul into every class. And, as you can imagine, I quickly burned out! As I moved to different jobs (first at a liberal arts college and then a research-intensive university), you might expect that the time I spent on teaching decreased as my research expectations increased. But that wasn’t the case -- even when teaching two courses per semester I still spent the same amount of time as when I was teaching five!

I’m remembering what it felt like to spend so much time on teaching because I’ve been inundated the past two weeks by new faculty who are frustrated about how much time, energy and effort they are spending on teaching and service and how little is "left over" for research and writing. Given the consistent feelings of exhaustion and discouragement expressed, I think it's time for some honest discussion about Common New Faculty Mistake #9: Falling Into the Teaching Trap.

Teaching can be a wonderfully fulfilling, intellectually stimulating, and enjoyable activity, so let me be clear what I mean by "the teaching trap." The trap is when new tenure-track faculty spend the vast majority of their time on teaching at the expense of their research and writing and then find that their limited research productivity endangers their ability to be promoted at their current institution, or move to another one. And if you are at an institution where your advancement will be based largely (or entirely) on teaching, the "teaching trap” occurs when you fail to manage your boundaries around teaching so that you have no time or energy for the other things that matter in your work and in your life. If you find yourself coming to campus early and staying late, if you’re spending every weekend grading and preparing for the next week’s classes, if you're answering student's text messages into the wee hours of the night, if you’re sacrificing sleep and/or pulling all-nighters in order to get ready for the next day’s class meeting, and – as a result -- you haven’t spent any time moving your research agenda forward or investing in your long-term success, then you may have fallen into the teaching trap.

Time for Some Tough Questions
While it’s important to recognize when you have fallen into the teaching trap, it’s even more critical to identify WHY you are spending such disproportionately large amounts of time on teaching. The first place to start climbing out of the trap is by asking yourself: why am I over-preparing and over-functioning in this one aspect of my job?

There are MANY different possible reasons including:
You love teaching (you find course prep and classroom interaction more stimulating than research).
You mistakenly equate "great teaching" with delivering enormous amounts of content in each class period.
You feel insecure about your job performance.
You are highly sensitive to students' evaluations of your teaching.
You believe it’s somehow possible to please everyone so if you just spend more time, you will teach better and receive unanimously positive evaluations.
You feel you have to be twice as good to be judged as equal.
You have unrealistically high expectations about teaching.
You often feel like a fraud or impostor, so over-preparing for your classes protects you from being discovered.
You have a profound fear of failure in the areas of research and publication (teaching becomes a form of procrastination from writing).
You have never thought about how you're spending your time and have unconsciously fallen into the teaching trap because of the built-in accountability that standing in front of a classroom full of students several times a week provides.
Your professors were poor teachers when you were in college and you’re trying to be different and better for your students (i.e., the professor you never had).
If you’re an underrepresented faculty member, the dynamics of racism and sexism in the classroom mean that you don’t get the benefit of the doubt from students, so you over-prepare in order to prove you deserve to be teaching in a college classroom.

Once you have pinpointed WHY you are over-preparing, you can begin to think about ways to teach effectively and efficiently. Here are a few ideas:

Write Every Day
If you're spending too much time on teaching and haven't set aside time for your writing, then consider rearranging your daily schedule so that you write for at least 30 minutes every day, first thing in the morning (before checking email). Instead of preparing for class and "hoping” you have time to write, flip that upside down so that you write first and hope to have time to complete all of your course prep.

Try a Mid-Term Course Correction
I've previously suggested giving a mid-term evaluation to your students by asking three simple questions: 1) What do you like best about this class? 2) What do you like least about this class? and 3) What suggestions do you have for the rest of the semester? Listen closely to what your students are saying, take some of their suggestions, and let them know you are doing so. This is a wonderful opportunity to right-size the reading and writing assignments left in the term and give yourself the chance to re-orient your time and energy toward your research.

Take the Long View of Your Career
If you're like me and spend too much time on teaching because you LOVE teaching and LOVE your students, try to think of your career as a book with many chapters. If research is a significant component of your tenure review, then the pre-tenure chapter must focus on research and writing in order for there to be subsequent chapters. You can invest in becoming a master teacher in one of the post-tenure chapters of your career. But for now, you must figure out a way to teach that doesn’t preclude publication.

Align Your Teaching Standards With Your Department
If you are a perfectionist and have very high standards for your classroom, consider visiting some of your colleague's classrooms. This can be a tremendously liberating experience and help you to put what goes on in your own classroom into alignment with your local context. Now if your colleagues are apathetic or mediocre in the classroom, I’m not suggesting you become apathetic or mediocre. But if, for example, you are assigning twice as many essays as your colleagues (which then requires you to spend twice as much time grading), there may be room for adjustments.

Hire a Grader
If you have the funds, hire someone to assist you with grading. Having a grader forces you toconstruct grading rubrics for assignments, which is both an excellent teaching practice and a time-saving technique.

Ask Your Local Faculty Developer For Help
Many campuses have a Center for Teaching Excellence that is staffed with faculty development experts. These folks would love nothing more than to help you improve your teaching! Not only do they want to help you, they know all the empirically documented best practices. Find these people on your campus and ask them how you can become a more effective and efficient teacher.

Delete RateMyProfessors.com from Your Bookmarks (and Your Consciousness)
If your over-preparation is an effort to make everyone happy, if you are driven by a fear of negative evaluation, if you find yourself devastated by what a few angry students wrote about you on RateMyProfessors.com, and/or you consistently focus on the small number of negative reviews (to the exclusion of the overwhelmingly positive majority), it’s time to re-orient your perspective. First and foremost, stop checking this website: it’s neither representative nor helpful. Instead, use that time to ask yourself: does it make sense to focus on the broad pattern of comments in my formal student evaluations or the outlying data points as reliable feedback for my teaching? If the broad pattern is negative, it’s time to visit your local faculty developer. If the broad pattern is positive, release yourself from the idea that it’s even possible to please everyone. It that doesn’t work, try asking some of your senior colleagues (whose teaching you admire) to share their evaluations with you and provide some perspective on yours. This will open your eyes to the fact that even award-winning master-teachers receive a few negative evaluations each term. The difference is that they have learned to focus on the big picture and work towards continual and incremental improvement each semester instead of dwelling on a handful of negative comments.

Consider Working on Your Core Issues
If you find that the reasons underlying your over-functioning are deep and profound feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, anxiety, and fear, then why not consider taking one hour out of your week to unravel those issues with a therapist. Psychological obstacles tend to persistently re-emerge across various areas of our lives and relationships so why not pro-actively start the process of self-reflection and growth now?

Create Accountability for Your Research and Writing
If you spend too much time on teaching because it has a built-in accountability mechanism (you have to stand in front of class several times a week), then create an equally powerful accountability mechanism for your research and writing. You can join the monthly writing challenges on the NCFDD discussion forum, you can connect with a writing buddy, you can join a write-on-site group, or you could start a writing group of new faculty who hold each other accountable for meeting their weekly writing goals. I've done all of these at different times of my career to create accountability for my writing that rivals a classroom full of students for my teaching, and each one has been effective in keeping me on track.

I'm NOT suggesting you should run out and do ALL of these things today. Instead, I'm presenting this list of ideas to stimulate your thinking about how many different options you have available to help you escape the teaching trap.

The Weekly Challenge
This week I challenge you to:
  • Evaluate whether your time spent on teaching is in line with your tenure criteria.
  • If not, gently ask yourself: WHY AM I SPENDING SO MUCH TIME ON MY TEACHING?
  • Once you know the answer, develop one concrete step forward you can take this week to align the distribution of your time and energy towards the activities that matter most to your tenure and promotion.
  • Write every day for at least 30 minutes (just try it!).

I hope this week brings each of you the honesty to assess whether or not you have fallen into The Teaching Trap, the strength to ask yourself WHY, and the joy of consciously making changes that will allow you to move in a new direction!

Time for a 360 (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future Monday, March 2, 2015 )

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the first week of March! I’m not sure why, but there's something particularly frantic about the middle of the spring term. When I look around, I see frazzled and exhausted faculty running from one meeting, event, and/or job talk to the next. Every conversation includes lengthy descriptions about how tired they are, how far behind they feel, and how they don't know when (or how) they will ever catch up. And, of course, there’s lots of fantasizing about Spring Break and even more about the imagined bliss of the summer.

In the midst of particularly intense times of the academic year, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of everyday departmental chaos and lose sight of the big picture. The problem with operating this way is that we can easily fall into old unproductive behavior patterns and short-term ways of thinking. If you’re living each day in crisis-management mode, it’s easy to forget to ask yourself if things have to be so chaotic, to seek advice from others, or to work toward creating solutions that will help you work smarter. In other words, Common Mistake New Faculty Make #8 is failing to create feedback loops you can rely on in tough times.

We all need consistent feedback (from ourselves and others) and the reality of academic life is that if you don’t proactively create feedback loops, you’re unlikely to get the type of information you need to take control of your work life, teach efficiently and well, and enjoy the job you’ve worked so long and hard to obtain. Sometimes this is referred to as a 360-degree feedback because you place yourself in the center and seek information about your performance and advice from those around you. That includes people who are above you (senior faculty) and below you (students) in your college’s organizational hierarchy. In other words, the middle of the term is a great time to ask yourself and others:
  1. Am I on track?
  2. What's holding me back? and
  3. How can I make a positive change?

Are You on Track?
To answer this question, start by taking a look at your spring term writing goals. That’s right, go ahead and pull out that scrap of paper, post-it-note, napkin, memo pad, or whatever it was you wrote them on. The purpose of documenting your goals each term is to give you a convenient tool to evaluate your progress. Once you have them in front of you, honestly assess your productivity. If you are ahead of schedule or right on track: congratulations! If you are behind schedule, that's fine. If you haven't made any progress whatsoever, that's OK too. This is not intended to be an exercise in scholarly self-flagellation. It's simply an opportunity to honestly assess your progress without any excessive criticism, judgment, or shame.

What's Holding You Back?
If you are not satisfied with your progress, then identify what's holding you back. Personally, I'm slightly behind schedule, so I need to determine what exactly are my problems. Without identifying the problems, it's impossible to design effective solutions. I use this quick and easy format to identify what’s holding me back (it’s Julie Morgenstern’s framework that I’ve adapted for academics):

Technical Errors
The following types of errors occur when you are missing some relevant skill or technique such as:
You haven't set aside a specific time for your research and writing
You've set aside the wrong time to complete your work
You have no idea how much time a particular research, writing, teaching, or service task takes and/or you consistently underestimate the time required to complete tasks
You're the wrong person for the job (you think you have to do it all and that asking for help is a sign of weakness)
The tasks you have set out are too complex (items like "finish my book" are on your to-do list)
You can't remember what you have to do because you don't believe in lists or calendars
Your electronic or physical space is disorganized so you can never find what you need when you need it

External Constraints
These are situations or environmental factors that are beyond your control. For example:

You have an externally-imposed unrealistic workload
A health problem limits your energy
You are in a physical transition (like moving offices)
You are in a life transition (new baby, divorce, unexpected elder care)
You are externally forced to work in an interruption-rich environment
You have a disorganized person in your life who negatively impacts you (such as a chaotically driven spouse, boss, co-author, colleague, research team, client/patient/research participant)
You work in a hostile environment (and end up spending a lot of time and energy dealing with excessive conflict)

Psychological Blocks
These are the deeper issues that burst forth and keep you from moving forward every time you sit down to write:
Feeling disempowered around research, writing, and/or your intellectual abilities
Fear of downtime (during which you may have to deal with difficult issues like what you really want to do with your life and/or your relational problems)
Needing to be a caretaker at the expense of your own needs (your helping others is out of balance so you feel resentful, unappreciated and overwhelmed)
Fear of failure
Fear of success
Fear of disrupting the status quo and/or speaking truth to power
Fear of completion
Unrealistically high expectations
A hyperactive inner critic, and/or
Unclear goals and priorities

How Can I Make a Positive Change?
Once you have identified what's holding you back, think of the most direct way to address these issues. You don't have to solve everything at once, but pick the greatest problem area and create a solution. For example, if you haven't written anything at all this term, it may be because you haven't set aside a specific time each day for writing or you’re leaving writing until the end of the day. That's easy to fix! Just block out 30 – 60 minutes in your calendar every morning for writing, get your butt in a chair each day at the appointed time, and start writing. Maybe you’ve discovered that you’re way behind in your classes. Figure out if the problem is that you set unrealistic goals, you’re over-preparing and then have too much content for each class period, or maybe you’re spending too much time grading. If it's the goals, then revise them. If it's over-preparation, then reduce your lecture time and increase your students' engagement. And if it’s grading, try creating a rubric for efficiency. Better yet, ask your students for feedback (via a mid-term evaluation) and then implement some of their suggestions! They will be happier and so will you. Or maybe you’ve discovered you really want to be a __________ (insert community organizer, documentary filmmaker, wedding planner, journalist, or whatever...) and you're miserable as an academic. Well, that's important information to acknowledge and work with as well. It may be time to stop running yourself ragged and start creating an exit strategy.

The Weekly Challenge
This week, I challenge you to consider creating feedback loops:
  • Find and review your writing goals for this term.
  • Without criticism or judgment, honestly assess your progress and the likelihood you will meet your goals.
  • If you are on track, arrange a special treat for yourself this week -- you deserve it!
  • If you are unhappy with your progress, take the time to identify what's holding you back.
  • Based on your analysis, find at least one concrete way to move forward. Even if your problems are due mostly to external constraints, there are still many different strategies and techniques you can use to mitigate their negative impact.
  • Consider giving a quick and easy mid-term evaluation in your classes by asking your students: 1) what do you like best about this class? 2) what do you like least about this class? and 3) what suggestions do you have for the rest of the semester? Report back in the following class and announce that you intend to implement suggestions X, Y and Z (choose the ones that reduce your preparation time and improve learning).
  • Take one of your mentors out for coffee and discuss your progress, problems, and concerns about your research productivity and teaching this semester. Ask for his/her advice about how to resolve the problems you are facing. Don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to meet with you and provide you with such valuable advice (they will be more likely to assist you in the future).
  • If you find yourself reactive to the idea of mid-term evaluations, gently and lovingly ask yourself WHY?
  • Commit (or re-commit) yourself to writing at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Express gratitude for the opportunity and privilege to do the work you do at this moment in time (even if you don't want to do it much longer).
I hope that this week brings each of you the strength to move through this busy time of the year, a spirit of gentleness as you evaluate your progress and identify your problems, and the creativity to create brilliant solutions that work for YOU.

Are You Maxed Out? (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future February 23, 2015)

This is an excerpt from the Monday Motivator Program of Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Please find the original document here. The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity is an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community of over 71,000 graduate students, post-docs, and faculty members.

I recently gave a time management workshop to a completely exhausted group of tenure-track faculty. When I asked them to tell me why they were so exhausted, I heard a lengthy list of time challenges combined with a pervasive feeling that there was no way out of their 60-80 hour workweeks. As I listened, I couldn't help but think of the old TV show "Maxed Out." Each episode featured stressed-out people who were deeply in debt and had no idea how to climb out of it. Inevitably, their financial problems boiled down to: 1) not knowing how much debt they had, 2) a lack of clarity about where their money went each month, and 3) a vague sense of what they hoped might happen in the future but no concrete plan to move in that direction. They always felt out of control and frustrated at the outset but as soon as they created a plan, took a hard look at their reality, and made some concrete behavioral changes, they experienced a sense of empowerment and forward motion. So when I was listening to the frazzled faculty it felt clear to me that they were totally maxed out -- not on money but onTIME. And because this is so common, I want to dedicate this week's Monday Motivator to common faculty error #7: Not Knowing How You Spend Your Time.

Are You Maxed Out?

We all have heard that financial intelligence requires knowing how you spend your money. The problem with time is that unlike money, it is finite. We each have 24 hours in the day and must divide that precious time between personal, physical, professional, and familial commitments. We can't borrow extra hours from a credit card or bank. Instead, we have to work with the 24 hours that we have. The faculty members in my workshop complained that they never have enough time, that they are constantly running from one commitment to the next, and that their lack of time leads to feelings of frustration, guilt, shame, and an overall sense of not moving forward at an adequate pace. But at the same time, they couldn't answer the most basic questions about how they spend their time because they just don't know where the hours go.

I have been tracking my money for the past 13 years. At first I believed it was a total waste of time because I thought that I already knew how I was spending it. But the first month I tracked every penny, I couldn't believe the discrepancy between what I thought I spent, and what I actually spent. Knowing where my money went enabled me to start gaining control over my finances and making conscious decisions that would allow me to meet my long-term goals.

Likewise, the first time I tracked my time over a week, I was shocked by how much time I was spending on service and teaching and how little I was spending on writing and research, despite knowing that my publication record was the primary criteria for promotion and tenure at my institution. Understanding how you spend your time each week (not in your imagination, but in reality) will help you to decide if you are investing in things that will pay off in the long run, or spending it on things that offer immediate gratification but no long term interest. And more importantly, you must know how you’re investing your time today in order to make conscious decisions about how you will spend it in the future.

Track Your Time
I want to suggest that you try the same homework that the adviser on Maxed Out assigned: tracking! Instead of you tracking your money, keep track of how you spend your time this week. If you are feeling exhausted, frustrated, and I-don't-even-know-how-I'm-gonna-make-it-to-Spring-Break tired, then try starting this week by simply tracking your time. It doesn't have to be difficult or unpleasant, and it doesn't require you to buy or do anything different. Just put a little scrap of paper on your desk and keep a running tab of your activities and the time you spend on them during each day this week. Include everything: e-mail, writing, course prep, grading, talking to colleagues, reading, meetings, phone calls, student meetings, attending talks, preparing to give a talk, worrying, crying, food breaks, Facebook, etc. If you want to use an app, try Rescue Time.

Evaluate Your Data
Once you have a week's worth of data, tally up how much time you spend on research, teaching and service when you sit down for your weekly planning meeting (aka theSunday Meeting). That's a great time to gently and patiently ask yourself:
Is how I’m spending my time aligned with how I will be evaluated for tenure and promotion?
Does my time reflect my personal values, priorities, and long-term goals?

If the answer to these questions is "yes," then congratulations! But if you find that the answer is a resounding "NO!" then it's time to make some changes. For example, if 50 percent of your evaluation criteria is based on research and publication and you are only spending 2 hours a week writing -- there's a problem. If teaching is 25 percent of your evaluation criteria, but you are spending 40 hours a week on it -- there's a problem. And if service is taking up more than a few hours per week -- there's definitely a problem. The good news is that these are problems that can be resolved by proactively adjusting your behavior.

Rethink Your Time Expenditures
Faculty development researchers have documented that the difference between successful new faculty and those who struggle is how they spend their time. Successful new faculty:
Spend at least 30 minutes a day on scholarly writing
Integrate their research into their teaching
Manage course preparation time and avoid over-preparing for classes
Spend time each week discussing research and teaching with colleagues

Only you can determine if you’re satisfied with how you are spending your time each day. But, if you’re unhappy, exhausted, and feel like you’re not moving forward, then becoming conscious of how your time is spent AND comparing it to the behaviors of successful new faculty should give you some concrete ideas about how to climb out of your time debt.

The Weekly Challenge
If you're feeling maxed out this week, I challenge you to:
  • Track your time!
  • Without criticism or judgment, honestly evaluate how your time expenditures compare with your tenure and promotion criteria and/or your personal goals and values.
  • Try to identify and eliminate unnecessary time demands to increase the time you have available for the things that really matter.
  • Write at least 30 minutes every day.
I hope that this week brings each of you the patience to track your time, the wisdom to evaluate your current situation, and the sense of empowerment that results from making conscious decisions about how you spend your time each day.