Lecturer (permanent position)
How much research time is built into my job:
My job includes teaching, research and admin. I don’t know if it’s stated formally anywhere, but I think of it as about 40% teaching, 40% research, 20% admin/other.
If the next REF were held tomorrow, I would:
Possibly be returned – it would depend on whether outputs were portable, as I just started a new position two months ago.
I work on:
Ancient linguistics, mainly sociolinguistics and epigraphy. Right now, I’m in the early stages of a major project on language contact in pre-Roman Italy, taking a comparative approach across different regions and different contact situations. I have smaller ongoing projects on the Venetic dedications to the goddess Reitia and the linguistics of colour in the ancient world. I’m also editing a book on language and migration with some colleagues.
Tools I use to plan my research:
I have a Moleskine Weekly Notebook for my day-to-day planning, which has all my daily appointments and to-do lists. My research notebook is a lined Leuchtturm 1917, and works (loosely) on a Bullet Journal system. I use this notebook for all my notes on everything: research, teaching, meetings, random ideas, planning out articles and blog posts. I also have my monthly goals here: at the beginning of each month, I set goals for what I want to achieve, so I can tick them off as I go along – and I leave space on the page for extra things I’m proud of doing that month too. I use Evernote for on-the-go quick notes and for saving snaps of pages or images I want to use later.
These days, I have probation requirements to show me what boxes I need to tick in the next 2-3 years; in my last job I checked the “essential” and “desirable” qualities on job ads to help me with long-term planning. Every few months I update my Master CV, which helps me see what areas could use some attention. I also have a Research Record in my Leuchtturm notebook (inspired by Ellie’s Research Pipeline) for tracking what stage each project is at.
I use Zotero for saving the details of books and articles I’ve read, and then they’re sitting there ready when I want to write. I also log my hours over the week using a colour-coded Excel spreadsheet, with different colours for each activity and each cell representing one half-hour. I don’t really know why I do this, except that it’s a habit I got into a few years ago. It’s a bit like a pedometer – I like having the data, even if I do nothing with it, and sometimes it’s an encouragement to do just a little bit more writing that day.
My approach to planning/planning philosophy is:
Write everything down, but keep it flexible.
I use weekly to-do lists, rather than blocking out specific times to do specific things. If I find myself with an hour or two, I can choose any activity from this week’s list. This keeps things flexible, and allows for unplanned meetings with students, urgent emails or impromptu coffee breaks with colleagues, which are all important too!
My routine is:
I get into work between 8 and 9, and usually work in my office for most of the day. I finish between 4.30 and 6.30, depending on my teaching schedule. At the moment, work is mainly teaching prep; next term, I have a lighter teaching load, so there will be more time for research. I have one week day each week with no meetings or teaching, and on that day I normally work from home – that’s often the day when I do research activities like writing grant applications, abstracts or blog posts. I usually work one weekend day, and take one weekend day off. I don’t work in the evenings.
I think I am organised/disorganised/other (please specify):
I’m definitely very organised, which has helped a lot with adjusting to my new job.
I would like to improve my…
“To read” list! For years, I have tried to keep a sensible record of things I want to read that I’ve seen on BMCR, or in someone’s references, or someone has mentioned in passing. I’ve tried paper lists, typed lists in Word, colour coding on Zotero… nothing has stuck.
My best piece of planning advice is:
There’s no point planning things in a way that are unachievable for YOU (and what works for someone else will not necessarily be achievable or sustainable for you). If you write best in the morning, block out an hour or two in your schedule. If you get less distracted at home, work from home. If you know you can’t do research on teaching days, that’s ok. If you need sleep, sleep. Almost everything I do has been labelled “not the right way to do things” by someone at some point (including the amount I sleep!), but I know what works for me, and I adjust my plans when I need to.