Tuesday, December 2, 2008

To Do: Write This Post

(if you have an odd fascination with reading other people's lists of chores, just click the images above to enlarge)

In a recent meeting, we discussed the power of the To-Do List. Properly done, a To-Do list can be a really satisfying experience.

Make To-Do lists of tasks you know you can/will accomplish, along with the things you don't want to forget. Mix in the household tasks and everyday business of life tasks with dissertating tasks.

I make To-Do lists on junk mail, random pieces of paper, and my datebook. Several people in the group make lists out of the basic green calendar pages that we hand out as part of the Dissertation Workshop.

The calendars don't look like much. But surprisingly, they can be useful tools if you write down goals you want to accomplish that week (especially easy / simple goals you know you can reach).

One member of the group mentioned that when the green calendars were handed out, she was nonplussed. "I initially thought, 'I coulda made a fucking calendar!' But I ended up using it. This allows me to relax. It says 'rest and decorate the house' this week, and I did it."

Weirdly enough, meticulously writing down the goals you want to accomplish, what you "can" and "can't" do for any given day or week, can feel great. And crossing off the items on the list can feel "almost as good as a professional massage."

We all have our methods of organization...according to Bennett, his method used to involve random milk cartons all over his house and car (he's since upgraded to 3 ring binders).

Paula uses RefWorks in the place of 3x5 cards. Lynda swears by color coding of highlighting.

Everyone finds their own kind of organization scheme during the process of dissertating.

What's yours?

Is that a jump drive, or are you just happy to see me?

"You know that black cloud that hangs over Charlie Brown's head? I've felt that way for the past three years."

- On the strain of the quals and the diss

Coming on the heels of Lynda's post about having to evacuate due to the recent fires, the group talked about methods of saving your work on the dissertation.

The group discussed the importance of backing up everything you write in case of computer crashes, fires, alien attacks, etc. Lynda carries her dissertation on a jump drive in her purse.

In addition to the security of knowing that you have everything backed up, there's an odd comfort of carrying a bit of your dissertation with you, wherever you go. (although this might also become a memento mori??)

You're Not Alone - Here are some of the members of our group!