Current position: Research Associate (non-stipendiary) and Visiting Lecturer
How much research time is built into my job: Technically some, but also none… My teaching job has no built in research, and research affiliation supports my research but it is non-stipendiary.
If the next REF were held tomorrow, I would: not be returned.
I work on:
Ancient Greek religion, specifically religious embeddedness. Right now I am working on two big projects. I am at the end of a project on Underworld gods in early Greek religion (that began as my PhD), and I am right at the start of a project on the mediation between civic and personal religious practice in archaic and classical Greece. Specifically, right now I am working on tidying up a book manuscript (Underworld gods), and an article-length pilot study (Civic/Personal religion).
Tools I use to plan my research:
I use a Bullet Journal style system, and my two main research-planning parts are my Gantt chart and my research pipleline. I’ve talked about both of these in videos on my YouTube channel. I also use a Calendex and appointments schedule, weekly planning spreads that refer back to my Gantt chart, goals (including 1, 3, and 5 year goals, and REF related goals). I like having my plans on paper because they feel much more tangible to me than if they are digital. I can touch them, I can mould them: it may sound silly but having a physical, inscribed object that speaks my plans and goals makes them feel real and concrete to me.
I also use OneNote to keep an updated ‘master plan’ of each research project: this is kind of like a research proposal to myself. It includes an abstract, a plan, a brief timeline. This is all related back to my Gantt chart, and research is slotted into spaces that it will fit (rather than having everything start now, because then nothing starts!)
Research Planning in a Bullet Journal
My approach to planning/planning philosophy is:
If you want to look at your planner your work will get done.
I get a lot of comments from other academics and from students about my planner and how colourful and pretty it is, and how much time I must spend working on it. I do spend more time with my planner than a lot of other people, but I don’t think this is a bad thing. Spending time planning, and planning specifically (like articulating out different stages that projects are at in my pipeline) ensures I always know exactly where I’m at with each project, and what needs to be done to move it forward.
My routine is:
All over the place. At present I spend all day Monday on research, I teach each morning for the rest of the week, afternoons of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all teaching preparation. Friday afternoon is a toss-up. If I need to do more teaching prep that’s when I do it. If not, then I do research. I tend to work a little bit over the weekend, but only when and if I feel like it. I spend Saturday mornings doing some work-related reading while my daughter is in ballet class, but other than that it’s about how I feel.
I think I am organised/disorganised/other (please specify):
I think I live in a constant state of organised chaos, where some parts of my life come into sharp (organisational) focus – like work. Other parts are just a blur of fuzz.
I would like to improve my…
Logging! I try and log all my writing and reading, but I often forget or run out of time. I like doing the logging because on days when it feels like not much has been done it’s nice to look back at a list of things you actually have achieved!
My best piece of planning advice is:
Set goals and stick to them. Planning is all about goals, and moving forward on short, medium, and long-term goals on a regular basis. It’s all well and good for me to say I want to have five REFable publications by July 31st, 2019 (one of my actual goals), but if I’m not incrementally moving toward that, breaking it down into parts – individual publications, parts of publications, research that needs to be done today – then it’s an overwhelming thing that I’ll never achieve. Set goals, break them down, work at the parts, not the whole.