Recently I've been following the narrative about working hours in academia. What we talked about on the piirus.ac.uk blog, and what you told us in the poll. What the brilliant Raul Pacheco-Vega says about over-work and how to work productively instead. How a real discussion is opening up about the realities of academic life, where long hours are necessary … [Read more...] about How I found out, how NOT to be an academic
If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get in. You just run” This quote is by John Bingham, nicknamed ‘The Penguin’, for coming in at the back of the pack - … [Read more...] about Keep on running: what inspires PhD students to become runners?
We’re delighted to hear from a researcher who has wrestled with the post-phd limbo and come out the other side with an alt-ac career. Dr Rob Edwards has found a career that makes the most of the knowledge and skills he honed on his PhD – and builds new ones. Read on to find out how he found his alternative career path. In the beginning… I started my PhD … [Read more...] about My Alternative Academic (Alt-ac) Career – Guest blogger, Dr Rob Edwards
The other week, I spotted a tweet, which inspired me to write this blogpost on procrastination: It is a story that is very familiar to me: I, too, fight my tendency to set large, difficult tasks to one side whilst I get on with other stuff that is definitely lower priority. What gets me over such tendencies, is inspiration. And I often find my … [Read more...] about Are you procrastinating? Or opening yourself to inspiration…
Guest blogger and independent consultant Dr Echo Rivera shares her experience and offers support to researchers who want to create and use effective visuals when communicating your research. My passion for effective visual communication began when I was an undergrad over 10 years ago. I was torn between two majors--graphic design and psychology--and … [Read more...] about How I stay inspired, for effective visual communication of research
Academic articles can be inspired from some very non-academic places and sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest things... A little while ago, I wrote an academic paper examining the ways in which life and death could be interpreted in the two versions of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Last year, it was published. While I have long loved Sylvia … [Read more...] about Academic articles and non-academic inspiration
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
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
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
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
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
The observant reader might notice that we've introduced a new category on our blog, called "Free resources". We're using it to collect blog posts that will lead you to all of the guides, infographics, useful overviews, survey results, etc that have been produced for piirus.ac.uk. Over the last couple of years we've been growing this blog and our offer to … [Read more...] about Free resources from piirus.ac.uk
Our Brazilian correspondent reflects on the early career researcher's frequent experience of rejection, at the very end of our month looking at "saying no". What's it like to be on the receiving end of "no"? Recently I had two job interviews for teaching positions at universities here in Brazil. Needless to say, what I got from both was, “No, thank you.” … [Read more...] about Being on the receiving end of “no”. How do you handle it?