Basic Self-Maintenance for Academic Success – Part 2

This is the second installment of a two-part series by Ada Palmer (@Ada_Palmer), who has generously made a ‘Healthy Work Habits’ handout which you can download here. You can find Part 1 here.

Metabolism and Nutrition

“Listen to your Body!” It’s easy to convince ourselves that productivity is a question of mind, discipline, having the force of will to “power through” and get things done, but that simply isn’t true. Reading, writing, research, these require your brain to be operating at its best, and that depends on what your body and blood stream are supplying. You think better, learn more quickly, remember more, produce better work, feel happier and less stressed, and can genuinely get more done in less time,  if you take certain health-related steps which have short term immediate benefits, separate from any long-term health benefits (though they have those too).

  • Remember that some times of day will always be a little draggy, no matter what. The morning before you eat, the first hour after a large meal, and the last few hours before bed your brain will never be at 100%, so try to reserve those hours for tasks which require less concentration, like e-mail, grocery shopping, chores, or leisure activities.
  • Many people find their “best hours” are in the morning or late morning, at least for those who eat something when we get up. Overnight the body goes into a kind of “low power mode” to conserve resources until we eat again. This means that the brain is only running at 75% speed until we have a little food. Try waking up your brain by eating something with glucose in it; it doesn’t have to be a full breakfast, a glass of juice, a cup of fruity yogurt, even coffee with milk & sugar can turn your morning hours into 100% hours.

Continue reading “Basic Self-Maintenance for Academic Success – Part 2”

Basic Self-Maintenance for Academic Success – Part 1

This is the first in a two-part series by Ada Palmer (@Ada_Palmer), who has generously made a ‘Healthy Work Habits’ handout which you can download here.

Think Long-Term

Remember that the real goal of this Ph.D. program is to train yourself to be a great historian, which includes training yourself to balance the burdens of academic life. Learning to use your time well and take care of yourself so you are happy and productive is just as important as learning your field. If you become a professor, the workload will only increase as you are required to teach more classes, produce more research, attend more conferences, advise more students, do more paperwork, and face more deadlines, and many other career paths have similar heavy burdens, with stricter deadlines and fewer second chances. If your current workload seems like “too much” don’t assume nothing can be done. You can learn to accomplish more in less time, if you remember to (A) plan your time carefully, and (B) pay yourself first.

Continue reading “Basic Self-Maintenance for Academic Success – Part 1”

Rejection is different now, ECRs need more support

by Jenny Pickerill, Professor of Environmental Geography, University of Sheffield

In light of the recent trend to #ShareYourRejection on twitter, meant as a way to encourage others to persevere in their chosen profession or passion, I was struck by what that really meant in academia. While I know it is good to share our rejections (and I do), my experience of early job rejections means little now. Fourteen years ago, when I applied for my first lectureship, was an entirely different market. Casual teaching posts were rare. I got a permanent lectureship without any articles published, let that sink in for a minute… I secured a permanent academic job in Geography at Leicester University, having never published a journal article.

Continue reading “Rejection is different now, ECRs need more support”

Applying for academic jobs: Seven choices to make

by Sophie Coulombeau, Lecturer in English Literature, Cardiff University

(This post first appeared in on Sophie Coulombeau’s blog on September 24, 2014. While aware that the academic job market has changed somewhat since then, I think there is still so much solid sensible advice here that it is worth sharing.)

Yesterday I had a chat with postgraduate students in my new department at Cardiff University, about the process of applying for academic jobs after the PhD. It was felt by organisers of the Thesis Group (the forum in which I was speaking, along with one of the professors who recently hired me!) that as I was hired only a few weeks ago it would be useful for us both to share our observations on the recent recruitment process with PG students who will soon be venturing out into the academic job market themselves. In the spirit of academic collegiality, this post is my attempt to share the skeleton outline of my talk more widely.

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REF 2021: Update for ECRs

by Charlotte Mathieson, Lecturer in English Literature, University of Surrey

(This post first appeared on Charlotte Mathieson’s blog on November 21, 2017.)

This post provides an update to my previous blog post on “REF 2021 and ECRs: the current situation” in which I outlined the key decisions and remaining areas of uncertainty (mostly the latter) surrounding the next Research Excellence Framework.

Today, quite a few of those uncertainties have been clarified by the publication of “Decisions on Staff and Outputs“. I will soon update my earlier post to reflect this latest document (and offer a few more interpretations of the ECR implications), but in the meantime here is a brief summary of the key points of relevance for ECRs that have been announced today:

Continue reading “REF 2021: Update for ECRs”