Taking It Easy

Reader TheGrinch asked if I would be taking it easy after the mad dash to proposal submission. I said sort of, not really. I feel like I am taking it easy this week, but I don’t actually feel particularly rested. And I could still use more sleep.

Here are the things I have to accomplish this week.

  • Read through the dissertation draft of one of my students who is defending in a few weeks. There are several published papers inside, but I still have to read the whole thing before it goes to the entire committee.
  • Grading the midterm administered a couple of weeks ago. It’s for an undergrad class, I don’t have a TA because it’s an elective (I also teach the discussion), so it’s just me. I usually try to cheer myself up with colorful pens. The orange one isn’t doing the trick today.
  • A letter of recommendation for my REU undergrad researcher applying for a fellowship.
  • A proposal to review.
  • Two outstanding paper reviews that I am a little late on because of my own proposals.
  • Regular teaching prep  (probably about 2-3 hrs per week), teaching (2.5 hrs), and discussion (1.5 hrs), assigning homework and writing up solutions (2-2.5 hrs). Also office hours (these I can usually use for something else, as few people show unless there’s an exam coming up).
  • I am on the university-level committee that reviews tenure cases. That’s not a committee where you want to do a shoddy job, as people’s careers depend on it. I need to review carefully the cases we will be discussing in the very near future. That’s probably one whole day, perhaps more, between meetings and dossier reviewing.
  • I am also involved in a committee in charge of awards, so more letters are being prepared, this time nomination ones.
  • Meeting for a multi-PI grant we might be pursuing.
  • Lunch with a potential leadership hire for the college.

Obviously, this takes a lot of time, and some of these tasks require considerable work, but it feels like I am not really doing any work, because almost none of it is research…


  1. I know that feeling!

    And today I feel like I got nothing done because I did a ton of work but the grants office screwed up a budget so I couldn’t submit the internal grant today even though the rest is done. And I have a rec letter waiting to be proofread. And I still have a few days work on the R&R before sending back to my coauthor who is still in baby bootcamp anyway. So nothing got “done” even though there’s a lot of things a lot closer to done.

    While I was waiting to hear back from people last week I did 3 referee reports. 🙂 And a whole bunch of service crap. And making travel arrangements for conferences, which I hate doing. This week I’ve actually been getting some research done. Which is better than last week. And my to-do list has things crossed off from last week, which is good, even if they’re not real, they’re things that had to be done anyway. (One referee report to go– I’m saving it for the plane.)

  2. I don’t understand. Research feels like playing to me. It’s all that other cr*p that feels like work.

  3. @TheGrinch – I would guess this is generally how the life of a kick ass professor at most any level looks (except the college-level service, that definitely falls to the fulls). But GMP certainly raises the bar for us all.

  4. I know, she is intense! 🙂

    GMP, what does an ideal “taking it easy” looks like to you? If you had all the powers and all that…

  5. TheGrinch, you mean take it easy, like on vacation? I am not very original there: it would mean binge watching Netflix in my PJ’s for days on end.

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