Dr. Mom, My Adventures as a Mommy-Scientist

Discussion of my journey from grad school to postdoc to tenure with two kids, a husband, (and a bit of breast cancer) in tow.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Too much?

So, as you can tell by my last few posts. I have been unable to keep up with all my work. I keep trying different things (e.g., Panera, delegation), which do help, but have been unable to make a significant dent in my load. I have finally decided that I may be at the point where I simply have too much work.

This occurred in grad school when I took crazy hard class. I simply could not complete the assigned HW in the time allotted. I had to make a choice about where to draw the line. I had to become comfortable with less than my best quality work.

I think that I might be at that point here, but what corners to cut? The obvious choice is service activities. The more committees I can avoid the better for me as these will have little bearing on my tenure or overall success as long as I maintain a minimal level. But cutting corners on teaching? I don't think I am comfortable with that. Yet, I don't know how else to manage.

Good news is that Winter qtr is over soon and I am doing course development in the Spring and will presumably have more time. Here's hoping that I can get three papers off my desk and in submission soon.


At 11:33 AM , Blogger Janus Professor said...

If you don't ask, you shall not receive. Ask to get off of some committee, or refuse to go to the next outreach activity - its Ok. All they can do is say no.

Earlier this semester I was forced to draw the line. Unfortunately, I had to draw this line far behind all of my acknowledged commitments. I dropped, or asked for a break from, my two biggest time-sinks. The faculty that were in charge understood, and granted me the break.

At 10:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as cutting corners in teaching, giving exams back later can help. I always try to get the exams back within a week, but sometimes it's just not going to happen. I don't think it makes a huge difference for the students, as long as they get it back at least a week before the next exam.

At 10:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I know what you're saying. I choose to cut corners in teaching. I usually ask for my class to be taught in the morning, at 8.30. I wake up at 5am and prepare for the class just before that, not 8h for one hour of class (but prepared the notes in advance, in the summer). That leaves all day for research. I don't assign homework. Yet, my evaluations are in the 4.0 (plus or minus) neighbourhood, which is fine with me. I promise to do better in teaching once I get tenure:) Regarding service, my mantra is "never volunteer for anything". It worked so far.

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