"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Sunday, May 17, 2015

[Monday Motivator] "Shut Up & Write" - May 18, 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.

Last week I received lots of mail about ending post-summer regret. Many of you were able to make a summer plan without difficulty, but it was the development of a support system that left you confused. All the queries seemed to all boil down to three questions: 1) What types of writing groups exist? 2) How do I figure out which type of writing group is right for me? And 3) If I were just more motivated and disciplined then I wouldn’t need a group, so how can I change myself? Because having a support system is critical to actually executing your summer plan, I want to dedicate this week’s Monday Motivator to the many different kinds of writing groups and what makes them either flounder or flourish as support systems.

Faculty development researchers have demonstrated that accountability and support increase writing productivity among new faculty members. And yet, when graduate students, post-docs and new faculty talk about needing support that goes beyond substantive feedback, they’re often met with some form of shaming: "Why do you need a support group?" "Can’t you just motivate yourself to write?" "This is your job dear, so if you don’t want to write there’s plenty of unemployed people who would love to be in your position." In short, many are advised to "shut up and write". And because shaming moves people into action, that may actually work for a week or two. But true needs have a way of resurfacing. So instead of taking the tough-guy, ignore-your-needs, shut-up-and-write approach, I want to suggest the opposite. In other words, I believe that embracing your needs will help you to develop a support system that will move you from the occasional shame-induced writing binges towards a healthy, consistent, and sustainable daily writing routine.

While it should go without saying, it’s OK to have needs. In fact, if you wait until you are perfectly motivated, flawlessly self-disciplined, free from anxiety, utterly fearless, intellectually energized, and emotionally resolved before you start writing this summer, you may never begin! Instead, I want to encourage you to release yourself from the idea that having needs means there’s something wrong with you. It’s OK if you need support and accountability. It’s OK if you’re not productive in isolation. It’s OK if you need community, feedback, a safe space to take risks, and a group of people who genuinely celebrate your accomplishments. It’s OK because meeting your needs for community, support and accountability will not only increase your productivity, but also your enjoyment of summer writing.

What do YOU need?
If you can accept the fact that you don’t have to change who you are in order to be productive, then I want you to dig just a little deeper by asking yourself: What do I need to maximize my writing this summer? Academic writers have lots of different needs. For example, some people need to physically share space with others while writing, some need a stern authority figure to answer to, some need solitude and the kind of support that is silent, some need a quantitative accounting of their progress, some need to be in groups with similar others, some need to be regularly inspired, some need ongoing substantive feedback by those in their specialty field, some need regular cheerleading, some need therapy, and some need an occasional exorcism (from the demons of bad academic socialization). It’s even OK if you need all of these things at different times! The important thing is to identify what you need without judgment, shame, or self-flagellation. Knowing what you truly need to maximize your productivity is what will allow you to construct a writing support system that is effective for YOU.

Connect with a writing group that meets your needs.
Once you have identified your basic needs, start to imagine the best way to get them met. I’m going to describe a few different types of writing groups for the dual purpose of expanding your sense of what a "writing group” looks like and illustrating the importance of letting your needs guide your selection of an appropriate group. It’s really quite simple: Writing groups flourish when everyone’s needs are getting met and flounder when they don’t meet the primary needs of members.

Traditional Writing Groups
When we use the term "writing group," the most common form that comes to mind is a small number of people who commit to a specific period of time (e.g., a summer) to meet face-to-face, once-a-month, for the purpose of reading, critiquing, and providing substantive feedback on each other’s written work. This requires a commitment of 5-8 hours per month to read other people’s work, draft comments, show up and engage during the meeting time. Such groups tends to work well if participant’s primary need is substantive feedback and if members are able to provide that for one another. This structure is less effective when participants have other more pressing needs (support or ongoing accountability) and/or the feedback is the sort that could be obtained more efficiently from a professional editor.

Writing Accountability Groups
If your primary need is to have a committed group of people to answer to each week, then writing accountability groups may be worth trying. The structure is fairly simple: four people agree to meet once a week during the summer (either face-to-face or by conference call, Skype, or Google Hangout). The groups meet for exactly one hour per week and each person gets 15 minutes to discuss the following items: 1) my writing goals for last week were _______, 2) I did/did not meet them, 3) if I didn't meet them, it’s because of _______ and 4) my writing goals for next week are _______. Developing a daily writing routine tends to bring up all people's stuff and the group helps to support one another by identifying the limiting beliefs and behaviors that hold members back from productivity. Nobody reads anyone else's writing in this type of group. Instead the focus is on the writing process and moving projects forward so they can get into the hands of people with subject matter expertise (not group members). This structure works well when the primary needs of participants are accountability, support, community, and peer mentoring. It is ineffective when individuals cannot sustain the weekly commitment to the group or daily writing, and/or their primary need is for ongoing substantive feedback.

If you’re someone who needs to be around others when you’re writing and/or feels isolated, a Write-On-Site group may work well for you. It’s also very straightforward: an organizer selects a time and place for meeting and disseminates that information to a group of interested others. At the appointed time, people descend on the designated space and everyone writes. Every thing else is optional: there can be a weekly attendance commitment (or not), the group can range from two people (writing buddies) to as many people as the space will hold, and it can occur in a public or private space. There's no reading each other's work, there's no discussion during the writing time, it’s just about getting into the same physical space and actually engaging in the act of writing. The collective writing energy of the group is energizing and people are free to come early and stay late for socializing. Like every structure I’m describing, this works well when participants are getting their needs met (everyone comes to write). It doesn’t work well when people arrive and their primary needs are support, substantive feedback, or processing why they are stuck.

Online Writing Groups
There are a variety of online writing groups that are designed to provide support, accountability, and tracking progress over time. Some are free and some cost money, but essentially the structure is the same. Participants commit to a period of daily writing, check in each day at the end of their writing time, track their daily progress over time, and engage in discussion about writing with other participants. If you subscribe to a fee-based service, your progress will be automatically transformed into beautiful charts and tables. This support system works well for people who need daily support and encouragement, feel isolated in some way, and/or for whom electronic relationships are genuinely satisfying and significant enough to elicit the feeling of accountability. This support structure is less suitable for people who need face-to-face contact and interaction in order to feel a tangible sense of accountability and community.

Coaches and Nags
It may be the case that you have a variety of needs but your schedule disallows you from committing to any kind of group for the summer. Or alternatively, you have no idea what you need and you would like to work with a professional to figure it out. There are a variety of writing coaches out there who will consult with you weekly (for fees ranging from $75-$150 per hour) to increase your awareness of what’s holding you back and help you to develop and implement strategies to move you forward. I have also worked with "professional nags" who will call you each day at the beginning of your writing time, make you state clearly and succinctly what you will do that day, and connect with you at the end of your time to hear whether you completed your work or not. Nagging is great for people who have trouble getting started with their writing each day, but are fine once they get into the flow. Coaches and nags work well for people who either aren’t clear what their needs are or need more personalized and intense accountability than a group can provide. Of course, this doesn’t work for people for whom the mere idea of being nagged feels oppressive.

Some people have tried various groups but keep running into the same problems: they struggle to find others who will stick to their commitments and/or they don't know what do when they face their own resistance day after day. The advantage of bootcamps is that they provide a professionally facilitated group, intense structure, and are filled with people who have made a commitment by investment. That's a nice way of saying that in groups where everyone has paid to participate, commitment to the group tends to be very high! This high level of commitment, structure, and accountability combined with the attention of dedicated mentor-coaches tend to result in tremendous transformations in productivity. That said, boot-camps are not for everyone because they require a willingness to experiment with new writing behaviors, continually question your beliefs about writing, and force you to explore the fears and anxiety that underlie your resistance to writing.

I currently use all of these mechanisms at once! I have a coach, participate in an online group each day, have a weekly accountability group meeting, attend Write-on-Site as needed, and I run a Bootcamp. I know that if left to my own devices, I will not write. I’ll be very productive in every other imaginable way, but I won’t write. Over the years I have come to accept the fact that I need community, support and accountability and instead of judging myself negatively for having those needs, I embrace them, create mechanisms to meet them, and find that participating in these types of supportive systems brings me increased productivity and tremendous joy. You may have different (and fewer) needs than I do, but the key to having a productive, fulfilling, and enjoyable summer is to ask yourself: What do I need and what kind of writing group will best support my needs?

The Weekly Challenge

This week, I challenge you to:
  • Ask yourself: What do I you need to support my writing this summer?
  • If you’re reactive to the idea of having needs, or to answering this simple question, gently ask yourself: Why?
  • Consider what it would mean to accept your needs as part of who you are (as opposed to trying to deny or judge them).
  • Imagine a support structure that would meet your needs and support your writing.
  • If it already exists, join it. If it doesn’t create it.
I hope this week brings you the clarity to identify your needs, the freedom to embrace them, and the creativity to connect with mechanisms of support that will allow you to maximize your productivity this summer and develop a sustainable daily writing routine.

[Monday Motivator] The Biggest Mistakes New Faculty Make - May 4, 2015

As the NCFDD transitions into our Summer Session, many of our members have asked for a simple recap of the this term's Monday Motivator series. Since January, we've been working on the theme "The Biggest Mistakes New Faculty Members Make".

Just in case you missed any of the Spring Session Monday Motivators, here's a complete list with links to each one!

Mistake #1 Your Semester Has No Plan
Mistake #2 Your Time Isn't Aligned With Your Evaluation Criteria
Mistake #3 You Believe Balance is a Myth
Mistake #4 You're Investing in Long-Term Institutional Change at the Expense of Your Research Agenda
Mistake #5 You're Reactive Instead of Proactive in Your Professional Relationships
Mistake #6 You've Put All of Your Eggs in One Institutional Basket
Mistake #7 You Don't Know How You Spend Your Time
Mistake #8 You Haven't Set Up Any Feedback Loops
Mistake #9 You're Over-functioning on Teaching While Under-functioning on Your Research
Mistake #10 You're Ignoring Your Body
Mistake #11 You Internalize Rejection and Negativity
Mistake #12 You're Trying to Do Everything Yourself
Mistake #13 You Avoid Conflict
Mistake #14 You're Looking for A Guru-Mentor
Mistake #15 You Don't Have Strategies to Relieve Stress

The Weekly Challenge:
  • This week I want to challenge you to:
  • Read through the list of common mistakes
  • If any of them resonate with you, try re-reading that Monday Motivator and implementing one of the suggested strategies this week
  • If you don't have time to re-read, just make sure you're writing every day for at least 30 minutes.
  • If many of the mistakes resonate with you, consider enrolling in our 12-week Faculty Success Program. Our summer bootcamp is a great way to establish positive work habits and increase your productivity this summer.

You may agree or disagree with our list of common mistakes, but I hope seeing it all in one place is helpful to you as a way of assessing what you did (and did not) accomplish this Spring and making some important adjustments as you move into the summer months.

Let's Get Ready for Summer Writing (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future, May 11, 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.

For those of you on the semester calendar: happyy end of term! Happy Graduation! and CONGRATULATIONS! You survived another academic year! And you know what that means: the summer writing season is right around the corner. Throughout the spring term, I kept hearing from beleaguered faculty, post-docs, and graduate students who couldn’t wait for summer so they could "get some serious writing done." And yet, every August I hear from just as many folks lamenting about how another summer has passed by and, once again, they failed to make progress on their intellectual projects. As we head into the summer session, I’m feeling motivated to help eradicate end-of-summer regret among academic writers! To that end, this summer's Monday Motivators are designed to be your week-by-week support system for your summer writing and productivity.

Summer Writing Challenges
While we often fantasize about the freedom that summer represents, there are some important challenges to consider during the summer months. The most important challenge is the deception of unstructured time. Freedom from teaching, committee meetings, advising, and the day-to-day drama of campus life can create the illusion that we have lots of time. Imagining that we have infinite time can lead us to procrastinate and/or belabor tasks unnecessarily. Additionally, for those of you who aren’t daily writers during the academic year, you may experience the challenge of heightened expectations. In other words, putting off writing until the summer can create intense pressure (particularly for tenure-track faculty) that you must complete a year’s worth of writing in 12 weeks.

Childcare poses yet another challenge to summer writing. Changed schedules for school-aged children, gaps between the end of school and beginning of summer camps, and the increased expense of additional childcare during the summer months can leave some parents struggling to manage additional childcare and a rigorous writing schedule. Finally, some of you are simply exhausted from the intensity of the academic year and, more than anything else, feel the need to address all the neglected areas of your physical health, social life, and personal relationships during the summer months.

While it’s important to understand the challenges academic writers face during the summer session, they also point to the keys for a productive summer. I believe those are: 1) knowing what you need as a human being and what you need to accomplish as a writer and researcher, 2) creating a realistic plan to meet all of your needs, and 3) connecting with the type of community, support and accountability that will sustain you through the summer months. I think every block of time (quarter/semester/summer/sabbatical) should start with a plan, so for this week I want to encourage you to set aside 60 minutes, grab your calendar and a piece of paper, and develop a clear and concrete plan for the summer.

How to Create a Summer Plan
If you have a plan for your writing and personal goals this summer, you automatically lower the possibility of experiencing end-of-summer regret because you will have proactively and consciously chosen activities that lead to specific endpoints. A summer plan allows you to define your goals, identify the activities that will help you achieve them, and provide you with the confidence that when August rolls around, you will have accomplished all the things that are important to you and your future success.

Step #1: Start with your goals
Start by writing down all of your personal and professional goals for the summer. I make sure all of my goals are SMART goals. In other words, I try to state my goals inSpecific Measurable, Attractive, Realistic and Time framed statements. So, instead of listing "make progress on my book" and "learn how to cook" as goals, I write "complete the first ugly draft of chapter 2 by July 1st" and "take one cooking class each month." Listing your goals is the fun part, so enjoy it.

Step #2: Outline the tasks that are required to achieve your goals
For each of your end-of-summer writing goals, determine all the tasks necessary to achieve the goal. For example, if one of your goals is to submit that R & R that's been sitting on your desk all year, then ask yourself: What specific tasks do I need to complete in order to revise and resubmit my manuscript? Your list could look something like the following:
  • Read the editor's and reviewer's comments.
  • Cry a little.
  • Create a list of necessary revisions.
  • Read for revision.
  • Re-analyze data.
  • Revise the writing and update tables.
  • Submit to a professional editor.
  • Draft a cover letter explaining how you addressed the reviewers comments.
  • Mail/upload the revised manuscript to the journal.
  • Celebrate the submission.

Each of your goals will require specific tasks in order to be accomplished by August. If you’re a visual person (as opposed to a list-maker), than try mapping out a flow chart of each of your goals. Some will be simple and others will be complex, but the main point is that if all you're doing is setting goals without identifying all the small steps that are necessary to achieve them, you are unlikely to finish the summer with much progress or productivity.

Step #3: Map your tasks onto time
Here's where it always gets ugly. Take a long hard look at your calendar and make sure you have blocked out all of your summer commitments (vacation, moving, conference travel, childcare, summer teaching, etc...). What is left is the time you realistically have to complete all the tasks necessary to accomplish your goals. Use your best estimate as to how long each task will take and find specific weeks in your calendar when this work will get done. I estimate the tasks associated with the R&R example would take me four weeks. So I have to find FOUR WEEKS in my calendar to complete all the tasks in order to meet my goal.

I believe that this is where things get ugly because inevitably, you will have more tasks than will fit into 12 weeks. In fact, your summer break may suddenly seem shockingly short! Don't worry, this happens to everyone, and the point of this exercise is to force this realization in May (as opposed to August) because now you can proactively make decisions about the work that doesn’t fit into your calendar by scaling back your goals, re-negotiating deadlines, requesting additional support, prioritizing, delegating, and/or letting some things go. Whatever you decide, you will feel far more empowered making your decisions in advance then simply hoping you'll meet all of your goals and then ending another summer disappointed and frustrated over all the work that didn't get done.

Step #4: Execute the plan on a daily basis
Once you have a plan for your summer activity, it's up to you to actually do it! I sit down at the beginning of each week to review what writing tasks I have planned for that week and figure out what specific day and time I will complete them (aka The Sunday Meeting). We are all motivated by different things, so try to figure out what motivates YOU and build it into your daily life. Personally, I am motivated by treats, so when I finish my writing each day, I get a treat. My treats don’t have to be expensive or extravagant, they’re just a little dose of personal pleasure for a job well done.

Step #5: Create support and accountability
Summer is a time when you will need extra support and accountability because the structured activities of the semester (events, classes, and meetings) cease. This is an ideal time to start a writing accountability group, create a write-on-site group, join the monthly writing challenges on the NCFDD Discussion Forums, set up a google group with friends, or join the next session of our Faculty Success Program. Whatever you do, don't try to go it alone! There are many wonderful communities of support that already exist and you have the power to create them in your own local environment.

As always, adapt these steps to fit your life circumstances and personal needs. And once you have a plan, I encourage you to share it with your mentors to get their suggestions, feedback, and ideas. This way, no matter how your academic year ended, you (and your departmental mentors) will know that this summer, you are a scholar with a clear plan!

The Weekly Challenge

This week, I challenge you to:
  • Take 60 minutes to sit down and construct a plan that provides all the rest, fun, support, and community you need to be productive this summer.
  • If you want to work with me in creating your summer plan, register for our May core curriculum webinar: Every Summer Needs A Plan.
  • Find or create a community of support that will keep you motivated throughout the summer months.
  • Share your summer plan with at least one of your mentors for advice and feedback.
  • And if you want to participate in our Summer bootcamp but missed the deadline, go ahead and add your name to our waiting list.

I hope that going through the process of making a summer plan will help you to identify your priorities, clarify how all of your personal and professional needs can get met, and energize you for the summer months.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Evolution of Music - Bollywood and Hollywood

Heres couple of most popular evolution of music videos in the Youtube.
Evolution of Bollywood Music - Penn Masala, and
Mime Through Time by SketchSHE. 

Enjoy, and comment if you know any other relevant ones..............

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Transitioning To The Summer (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future, April 27 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 don't know about you but I love the last few weeks of the semester! I love imagining all the possibilities of the summer and celebrating all of the achievements of the academic year! I’ve been to thirteen campuses this semester and I'm spending my last week of the term giving a workshop at the University of California, Riverside. It’s been a whirlwind of a semester, but I've greatly enjoyed connecting face-to-face with so many of you and celebrating all of your success!

I also encourage you to take a deep breath as we head towards the end the academic year (even if you're on the quarter system and the summer is a little further away). As we transition into the summer term, it's a great time to reflect on your support systems. Your NCFDD Membership offers lots of great resources that you may not have been able to take advantage of during the academic year. This summer you may want to explore and experiment with some of our resources. This is a great week to ask yourself:
Do I know how my NCFDD membership works?
Am I maximizing my membership?
Am I getting what I need or do I need to go deeper into the available resources?

Our annual membership is designed to operate as a year-long virtual mentorship program. That means we have set up the resources to move you through a 12-month process intended to increase your writing productivity and work-life balance. Each of the following resources are available to you, at your convenience:

MONTHLY WEBINARS: Every month we offer a core curriculum webinar AND guest expert webinar. To attend the webinars live, just register online and we will send you the link, a call-in number and PIN. If you want to experience the webinars on your own schedule, they are available online to view at your convenience. You can access the audio and video files, slides and transcripts from one central location: click here.

THE BUDDY SYSTEM: During each of our monthly training calls, we match up accountability buddies. This is designed to support your implementation of whatever strategy we have just taught in the webinar, provide you with a peer-mentor, and to expand your network. If you want a buddy at any time, all you need to do is email Buddies@FacultyDiversity.org and put "I want a buddy" in the subject line. We match people as the requests roll in...

DISCUSSION FORUM: The NCFDD discussion forums are a private place where our members connect, share information, peer-mentor, problem-solve, and celebrate each others successes. In other words, it's the "safe space" for our online community engagement that is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

RESOURCES AND REFERRALS: Summer is a great time to do some reading to enhance your professional development and/or try out a new support resource (professional editor, developmental editor, writing retreats, dissertation coaches, etc...). Our resources and referrals page contains all our favorite books, articles, and preferred vendors listed in one convenient place for you.

The Weekly Challenge
This week, I challenge you to:
Write at least 30 minutes each day.
Take a moment to ask yourself: how does my NCFDD membership work? Am I maximizing my investment? Should I try experimenting with a resource I haven't tried before?
If you've missed any of our webinars and they sound interesting to you, head over to our webinar page to download whatever topic will enhance your productivity!
If you want a buddy for the month of May, email Buddies@FacultyDiversity.org
If you want to work with me to draft your Summer Plan, register for our May core curriculum webinar: Every Summer Needs A Plan.
If you want this to be your most productive summer ever, consider joining us for our Faculty Success Program Summer Bootcamp (the early bird deadline ends May 1st).

If you're already maximizing the NCFDD membership resources and benefiting from them, why not forward this message to a friend and encourage them to become an Individual Member this summer or to the appropriate administrator at your university to establish an Institutional Membership. We love your referrals!

I hope this week brings each of you an opportunity to take a deep breath as we transition into the summer to make sure you have all the support and resources you need.

It's Crunch Time (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future, April 20, 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.

The end of the semester must be near because nearly all the new faculty members I met last week were holding their breath, trying to keep their heads above water, and praying for the end of the term! The feelings of exhaustion and frustration I heard repeatedly were both intense and predictable. For those of you on the semester-calendar, let's focus on some concrete ways to deal with Common New Faculty Mistake #15: Failing to Recognize and Adjust to the Rhythms of the Semester.

Each semester has a natural energetic rhythm. We share our students' high energy at the beginning, it flattens out during the middle (as reality sinks in), and the end of the term finds most of us dragging from some combination of disappointment, frustration, exhaustion, and/or departmental drama. While most new faculty members feel tired, cranky, and completely out of gas the last two weeks of every term, the end of the spring semester is particularly difficult because it's also the end of the academic year. So if you find yourself feeling bone weary, that’s perfectly normal! This week, I encourage you to recognize the current intensity you’re experiencing for what it is: a predictable rhythm of the semester. Knowing this is a recurring pattern should enable you to be gentle with yourself and make behavioral adjustments that will allow you to not only survive, but thrive during the end-of-semester crunch time.

10 Tips for Thriving During Crunch Time
I believe that stressful times call for unique coping strategies. The following tips are the collected wisdom from my own mentors about how they maintain sanity during the end-of-term crunch time. The underlying theme is that when you’re pressed for time, you must be proactive, strategic, and clear about how you spend each moment. Too often, when things get hectic we sacrifice our own needs so that everyone else’s can get met. Instead, each suggestion is aimed at minimizing the things that don’t matter so that you can move through the busiest time of the year without surrendering the things that do matter (your health or productivity).

Tip #1: Clearly communicate to others that it is crunch time
Let those who live with you and/or are impacted by your behavior know that the next week (or two) will be difficult, assure them that it's a finite period of time, and let them know you appreciate their support and understanding. I find that people are willing to assist me when I communicate my needs ahead of time.

Tip #2: Lower your standards in non-essential areas of life
I'm what's known as a neat freak. During crunch time, I give myself permission to be a slob. It's OK because it's only one week. I love to eat out, but during crunch time, I'm OK with peanut butter and pickle sandwiches because I don't have time for anything else. And that's OK because it's only one week. Typically, I sleep nine hours per night. During crunch time, I sleep nine hours per night. And that’s because sleep is not negotiable for me! The point is to ask yourself: what can I let slide a bit for the next week (or two) without negative consequences?

Tip #3: Ruthlessly assess what grading ACTUALLY needs to get done
Many students do not read comments that are given on final papers and projects. Upon the suggestion of one of my mentors, I developed the habit of asking my students ahead of time to indicate if they want me to write comments on their final papers. Fewer than 10 percent requested the comments and I saved hours of grading that would never have been read while concentrating my comment-writing on the students who genuinely want feedback.

Tip #4: Say NO to EVERY SERVICE REQUEST from now until the end of the semester
If you are struggling to find time to complete all of the things on your to-do list, it makes no sense to add more items. In other words, when your time is scarce, one of the worst things you can do is to take on any additional responsibilities. Say "no" often, clearly, and without guilt.

Tip #5: Every day needs a plan
Take 30 minutes on Sunday night to get your to-do list out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Then force yourself to place each of your tasks onto a specific time in your calendar. If you don't have enough time for the tasks, then delegate them, re-negotiate the deadline, or let them go. This Sunday Meeting will clarify your week and force you to make the tough decisions in advance. Then each morning, you only need to spend two minutes reviewing the items you must complete for that day. This will keep you focused and confident that the truly important things will get done.

Tip #6: Write for at least 30 minutes each day
When new faculty feel crunched for time, one of the first things they are ready to sacrifice is their daily writing! This semester, put yourself, your future, and your daily writing time into the non-negotiable category (along with classes and meetings). There are MANY other ways to be efficient besides eliminating the one activity that is central to your promotion, tenure, and long-term professional success.

Tip #7: Only check e-mail one time per day (max)
E-mail begets more e-mail. When you have little time, the least effective way to spend it is writing e-mails. I'm only able to restrict my e-mail to once a day during crunch times. But for one week, it's unlikely to cause a crisis and typically works out just fine.

Tip #8: Eliminate Unnecessary Electronic Distractions
If you subscribe to any listservs, sign off until the semester is over. Many people sign off during the summer, so why not just do so now? Listservs create lots of e-mail in your in-box, very little of which is critical information that you can't do without between now and graduation. While you’re at it, why not take a respite from all electronic time-wasters: Facebook, Twitter, television, etc.

Tip #9: Take Care of Your Body
Exercise reduces stress. When I don't have time to go to the gym, I opt for using the stairs instead of elevators in buildings, take quick walks at lunch time, or just put on some music for five minutes and dance like a toddler who just found a cup of coffee. Be creative! Whatever you need to do to get your heart rate up and your body moving will benefit you during crunch time.

Tip #10: End Every Day With Gratitude and a Treat!
As each day comes to a close, take a moment to thank the universe for all the things that went well and affirm that everything in your life is working for your highest good. I insist on a treat every day during crunch time, because I deserve it. So do you!

The Weekly Challenge
This week, I challenge you to:
Acknowledge that the end of every semester is a stressful time and THAT IS PERFECTLY NORMAL!
Use the tips outlined above to proactively create strategies to manage your stress, frustration, and energy levels.
Write every day this week for at least 30 minutes.

This week, I hope that each of you find the strength to try some new end-of-semester strategies, the creativity to adapt them to your unique situation, and the comfort of knowing that you are not alone in your struggle.

There Is No Guru (Monday Motivator for Faculty for the Future, April 13, 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.

We've all heard repeatedly how important "mentoring" is to our professional success. But if you scratch the surface and ask people what exactly they mean by "mentoring," you will find a wide range of responses. Too many new faculty members I know imagine that they will have a single guru-like "mentor" who will sense their needs, generously dispense wisdom, care deeply about their success, and gently guide them along the path to tenure and promotion. Since that rarely happens, I want to focus this week on Mistake #13: Looking For A Single Guru-Mentor.

The problem with the idea that you will find one guru-mentor is that new faculty members have a wide variety of needs and it is not only impossible but problematic for all of those needs to be met by one (and only one) person. For example, if you are a typical new faculty member, you have some combination of the following needs:

Professional Development: Help in learning how to manage time, resolve conflicts, administer projects, organize your office/lab, teach efficiently and well, supervise graduate students, and make strategic decisions about service commitments.

Emotional Support: As a new faculty member, you are in the midst of a significant identity and role transition: from graduate student (or postdoc) to professor. As a result, you may need support in dealing with the common stress and pressures of transitioning to life on the tenure track.

A Sense of Community: Given that most new tenure-track faculty have uprooted their lives to move to a new area, you may find yourself seeking both an intellectual and/or social community where you feel a true sense of belonging.

Accountability: The structure of your job likely provides the least accountability for the activity that is most valued (research, writing and publication). In order to avoid getting caught up in the daily chaos, the vast majority of new faculty members need some form of accountability system for writing.

Institutional Sponsorship: You also need to cultivate relationships with people who are invested in your success at your institution. By that, I mean senior faculty who are willing to use their power to advocate for your best interests behind closed doors.

Access to Networks: Because knowledge isn't produced in isolation, it's critical for you to connect with others to discuss potential research collaborations, navigate external funding, and access opportunity structures that might not be immediately apparent to you as a new faculty member.

Project-specific Feedback: You will also need to regularly communicate with people who can provide substantive comments on your proposals, manuscript drafts, and new ideas.

I'm listing these common needs to illustrate the point that no one person could (or should) fulfill all of them in your life! Expecting a single mentor to transition you from graduate student to faculty member will inevitably lead to disappointment, over-dependence on the advice of one person, and feelings of loneliness. For example, I recently spoke with a tenure-track faculty member who had relied exclusively on her departmentally-assigned guru-mentor to guide her through the transition from graduate student to professor. The guru advised her when she arrived to "hold off working on your book for a few years so you can mature intellectually." In response to this very bad advice, she spent her first few years "intellectually maturing" instead of writing and then was shocked to receive a negative third year review that focused almost entirely on her lack of published work and minimal progress on her book. The point is that gurus are human, they make mistakes, and relying on one exclusively can put you at unnecessary risk and leave you with many unmet needs.

This week, I want to encourage you to fundamentally rethink the idea of "mentoring" by instead asking yourself: What do I need and what is the most strategic and efficient way to get it?Then, instead of looking for one all-knowing guru-mentor, you will start to realize that there are many different ways to get information, support, feedback and advice. We can meet our professional development, emotional support, community, and accountability needs by connecting with professionals, peers, friends, books, and online communities. For example, it's probably more effective to hire a professional editor than to expect your departmental mentor to copy edit your work. It's probably more satisfying to meet with friends for emotional support than to expect it from your department chair. And, it's far more meaningful to join a writing group for accountability than asking your mentor to call you every week and make sure you're making progress on your writing. Let me be perfectly clear, there are some needs (e.g., sponsorship, access to opportunities, project-specific feedback) that only senior people in your field and/or department can meet. The trick is to know the difference so that you focus the limited time you have with senior mentors on the things only they can provide for you, while finding alternative ways to meet your other needs.

If There's No Guru, Then What's A New Faculty Member To Do?
Instead of focusing on any one particular person, I’m suggesting that you imagine an extensive web of support that you create by identifying your needs and proactively getting them met. If I could construct an ideal mentoring network to support new faculty members, it would include all of the following:
A broad array of mentors and sponsors that are located within and beyond your current institution.
An excellent coach (or therapist) to help you transition through your first year.
A local and extended network of friends who you can rely on for social support and stress relief.
A group of scholars in your field with whom you can share drafts and ideas.
A supportive community that meets your unique accountability needs and celebrates your successes
On- and off-campus professional development activities.
A professional development fund that you can access to get whatever needs you have met in the most effective and efficient way.

In a perfect world, your department would be organized in such a way as to welcome and support you during your transition from graduate student to professor. In reality, it will most likely be your responsibility to identify your needs and find ways to meet them. Along with that responsibility comes the realization that you have tremendous power (even if it doesn't always feel like it). In other words, you don't have to be dependent on a single guru-mentor because YOU have the power to create a network of support that is populated by people who are invested in your success. This collective will enable you to feel supported before, during, and after problems arise in your department. It will provide you with opportunities, connections, and reference groups that extend far beyond your college or university. And most importantly, it will serve as a buffer to decrease any alienation, loneliness, and stress that you may feel at your current institution.

The Weekly Challenge
This week I challenge each of you to do the following:
Review the list of new faculty needs and ask yourself two important questions: 1)What do I need right now? and 2) What is the most efficient and effective way to get it?
If you feel resistant to reaching out, seeking professional assistance, or asking for help, gently ask yourself: why?
For every need that you identify, brainstorm at least three different ways to get it met. I keep a list of resources, references, and referrals on the NCFDD website that may provide a good starting point.
If you have not yet met the faculty development professionals on your campus, ask who they are, where they are located, and what services they offer.
Write for at least 30 minutes every day (because people love to mentor, sponsor, and support productive new faculty members).

I hope this week brings each of you the energy to re-think your assumptions about mentoring, the clarity to identify what YOU need right now, and the energy to seek new and creative ways to get all of your needs met!