This week Peggy Shannon-Baker shares her planning routine! Peggy works on international and multicultural education. You can read more about Peggy at her website.
Current position: Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading at Georgia Southern University (USA)
How much research time is built into my job: Officially, Georgia Southern is a teaching-focused institution but research is getting increasing attention especially for folks on the tenure track. My department like others in the university has a general set of guidelines for evaluating our “scholarship.” In my department, the expectation for pre-tenure faculty is to publish at least once per year in addition to other scholarship related activities (e.g. presentations, grant work).
I work on: My scholarship is in what I call “global multicultural education,” or the integration of international perspectives in teachers’ cross-cultural training. I investigate the definition, framing, characteristics, and values of multicultural education; who teaches such courses, to whom, and how; as well as how to actually research the implementation of such courses.
I have at least one project at the following stages at any given time: research design or literature review stage, data collection/analysis stage, writing stage, and under review stage.
Tools I use to plan my research: To help me have a “global” perspective on my research areas, I have an ongoing Excel Research Calendar (see below). This helps me to see where I am doing the most work, what needs to get pushed along, and map out when I hope to have publications out in each area.
I also regularly use a Best Self Journal. I use this to break down projects into manageable chunks and map out when I should reach particular milestones for each project. This is also a helpful tool to make sure I am actually spending time on each of the projects I have ongoing. I also use color coding in this journal to correspond to color coding in my Google Calendar (green for scholarship, orange for teaching, purple for service, etc.). This coding helps me to see where I am spending my time and make adjustments in the upcoming week if I need to.
Otherwise I am very much a proponent of Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega’s “Everything Notebook” approach. Dr. Pacheco-Vega’s blog (and Twitter feed!) and the tips from Dr. Dannelle Stevens’s conversation about using reflective research journals on the Research in Action Podcast about have been helping me think about how to actually organize my notebooks. I am planning to incorporate some reflective activities and a Table of Contents in my current notebook. (I keep hand-written notebooks for my teaching and scholarship projects.)
My approach to planning/planning philosophy is: Break down large projects into clear tasks, targets and milestones; try to overbook the time I need for a particular task; and be flexible with myself. I also guard my research/writing time as if it were a “meeting” in my calendar—even though it is likely a meeting of just me and my computer!
My routine is: I typically do research oriented activities in the mornings, and teaching activities in the afternoon/evenings. I find I write best in the morning so this works well for me. I do not do research activities every day.
I think I am organised/disorganised/other (please specify): I think I am organized enough for me right now. My process has changed a lot since graduate school, but I believe an effective writer (thinker?) has to be open to that. Our priorities and responsibilities change; so too should how we organize our time.
I would like to improve my… Organization of my notes. I worry about losing a hand-written notebook, so I am trying different strategies to reflect back on older notebooks and keep copies of them in safe places/formats.
My best piece of planning advice is: Try different approaches! Not everyone’s advice will transfer to your own unique situation and writing style. Trying different approaches let you test out what works for you. Active reflection on my writing and productivity has helped me to hone in on what works for me—at least right now; it may change!