How many hours would you say you work a week? We've talked a lot about managing workloads lately on our blog, from imagining an alternative academic career to productivity hacks, but we all tiptoe around the topic of actual working time and the harsh realities of working flexibly. This topic holds a particular interest to me as my PhD is on flexible work, … [Read more...] about Working 5 to 9: how many hours are enough?
Researchers in popular culture have not only kicked arse and saved the world but have also worn brilliant cardigans Inspired by the 20th anniversary of the cultural touchstone that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and trust that the author says this in all seriousness), this post is dedicated to celebrate the awesomeness of research - and the awesomeness of … [Read more...] about A Critical Ka-Pow – Researchers in popular culture
I think I may be getting a reputation as the piirus.ac.uk productivity geek. In the past I’ve written about to do lists and forming habits to help maintain focus. In this post I’m taking things a step further to look at why and how we can automate some basic tasks to make more effective use of our time. Why automate? I’m sure we’ve all had days when we … [Read more...] about Use your time wisely, automate routine tasks
We're interested in research communication, across disciplines but also when researchers communicate with others such as policy makers and practitioners. Our correspondent Andrew Clappison introduces his mini series that will explore what research communication means. Recently, piirus.ac.uk ran a twitter poll that asked “Should researchers be responsible … [Read more...] about Research communication – are we getting it right when targeting policy and practice?
One of the little pleasures I allow myself lately is reading business books. I love them. I love their cheerful optimism, their simple beliefs and motivational rhetoric. While kicking around campus, I would never have been seen dead reading Power Within by Tony Robbins, Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestly or, my current read, You Are a Badass by Jen … [Read more...] about Mobility, Freedom and the 4-Hour Work Week
Our correspondent, Kathy McKay explains her approach to the need for flexibility of location that so often comes along with having academic career goals. In my last post, I spoke about my minimalist approach to possessions – the fewer things I own, the easier I find moving when a job is offered. I have learned exactly what is precious enough to move with … [Read more...] about Have academic career goals, will travel
Sometimes when life insists on throwing sticks and stones at us, and we feel tired and uninspired, that is when we turn to other people for solace and inspiration. Recently we’ve been talking about how we need a mentor or a guardian angel in our academic lives, and sometimes a role model is just what we need. We thought that it would be nice to share our … [Read more...] about Talking about role models . We share ours with you.
Minimalism can be a strange beast. Right now, my life’s possessions consist of: 1. one small tortoiseshell cat; 2. one (admittedly squished) wardrobe’s worth of clothes; 3. four blankets; and, 4. eight boxes that I can pick up, mostly filled with books, art, and all my cake tins. You know – the vital things to life. I used … [Read more...] about The Academic Art of Minimalism
Our in-depth interview with full time consultant and entrepreneur, Rob Johnson continues. Last week we focused on the early days of creating a consultancy company. This week, we learn more about the ingredients for success in this sector. - You often work with other freelancers and indeed with academic consultants. Can you describe the ideal … [Read more...] about Consultancy reflections: An interview with Rob Johnson, founder of Research Consulting, Part 2
We’re very pleased to be able to feature an interview with full time consultant and entrepreneur, Rob Johnson. His interview is so full of useful reflections for anyone considering working as an academic consultant that I’ve split it into two parts. This week, the focus is on starting out. - You were once an employee at a University but have now set … [Read more...] about Creating a company: An interview with Rob Johnson, founder of Research Consulting, Part 1
Six months ago, I reduced my working hours as an employee and took a step into working freelance. As I've adapted to a new working pattern, including two days a week working from home, I've tried to build some routine into my working day. The aim is to maximise the time I can spend focused on creative work. It all begins with an attempt to make mornings … [Read more...] about Habits and routines that help maximise focus
As the editor of this blog, I wanted to share some of my own favourite features! I already wrote a quick run-down of the top 10 posts from 2016 according to the statistics in the New Year, and in 2015 I reflected on piirus' activities in general. Now I would like to look back on the piirus.ac.uk blog as a whole because we've got so much great … [Read more...] about All about our blog: my personal highlights
Our correspondent, Christopher Ferguson asks: What role does Higher Education have to play in the current political climate? And he shares his ideas in answer to that question. If I were writing a dystopian comedy in the 1990s, it might have kicked off with the following paragraph. Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and ‘alt-right’ figure, was punched … [Read more...] about Communication, Communication, Communication
Some academics do seem to be wedded to their research, but let’s leave the marriage metaphors aside. This post is all about choosing which academic work commitments you say ‘yes’ to. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post on why it was important to be able to say ‘No’. It is a way to create some kind of balance, a way to … [Read more...] about Before you say Yes: 3 questions to ask yourself (And I’m not talking about marriage!)
Our correspondent Sarah Wayland describes her experience of her postdoc position, reflecting on how it has involved some new approaches to her own research interests. Three days a week I travel from my house in suburban Sydney Australia to the inner city hum of the University of Technology Sydney. Each way on the train takes an hour: initially I used to … [Read more...] about Making research space & building a career: the postdoc stage