A while back, a friend introduced me to the idea of done lists. I’ve used them in my teaching, specifically with students in our Executive Information Practice major, which is a bit like an MBA for information professionals. The point of this activity is to get students to think about what they’ve already achieved and how that might apply to where they want to go with their careers.
As I started thinking about my 2013 review post, I realised I didn’t want to write a post that reflected on any of the crap that I encountered in the last year – unless I could do it in a positive way. So I decided that a done list might be a good way to reflect on the things I did in the last 12 months – not necessarily things I achieved, but rather, things I did that I want to remember.
Here it is!
- I started this blog in June and made 54 posts, many about my PhD progress, and many about other aspects of my life.
- I watched a serious amount of awesome TV. In the last 12 months, I watched Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, The Bridge and Homeland, start to finish. All the seasons. Well, I think I actually had a season of Sons under my belt from December 2012 and I still have two episodes of seasons six to go. But the point is, I watched more than 14 seasons of various television series. Plus an epically long first season of Person of Interest. Ironically, this happened in what was probably the busiest year of my life to date.
- I read 20 novels, which was considerably below my annual target of 52 (which I’ve never managed to hit!). But 20 isn’t too shabby when you think about how much potential reading time I’ve spent
in front of the TVwriting my thesis.
- I redecorated my home office and turned it into a space I love to be in.
- I got myself a life coach and with her help (and the support of good friends) I started to change the way I think about lots of things: being busy, food, balance, what’s actually important and what isn’t, and my own rules for living. As I challenged my thinking about these things, I instigated some major changes which have had a huge positive impact on my health. I haven’t had a cold since July (if you know me, you’ll know this is nothing short of miraculous) and I’ve recovered well from the slipped discs that made a mess of June.
- I co-chaired the Sixth New Librarians’ Symposium, which was no small feat, given that we did not use a professional conference organiser. Over the same period, I was also on the committee for ALIA Information Online 2013. Two conference committees, simultaneously, for conferences held in the same week. I won’t ever be doing that again! It was crazy, but fun, and definitely something I’m happy to see on the done list, rather than the to do list!
- I committed to not taking on any external speaking gigs for the whole of 2013 and I stuck to it. Even though my default answer is generally yes. Even when I really *wanted* to say yes. This helped me to maintain my focus on teaching in Semester 1, and on PhD in Semester 2.
- In Semester 1, I taught three units instead of my usual two. When you’re teaching a dual mode cohort (which takes a lot more time and energy than teaching only on campus or only online students), an extra unit makes a big difference to workload. But I did it, I enjoyed the teaching, and I still managed to get one of the three highest teaching evaluation scores in my school.
- I co-authored a number of journal articles and a couple of book chapters, which will be published over the next 12 months or so.
- With four of my colleagues, I have been editing a book on Information Experience and we got the manuscript off to the publisher in December.
PhD and sabbatical
My six month sabbatical kind of ended up being more like a four and a half month sabbatical by the time I had a week off-ish at the start, got over a bad bout of the flu, properly cleared the decks of work that was hanging over, dealt with unavoidable work commitments, worked on other publications, and then had a (very) little bit of time off over Christmas. I didn’t make my goal of having a complete draft of my thesis by Christmas. But here’s what I did do:
- I completed the final round of data collection, which involved follow up interviews with a few participants.
- I coded all of my interview transcripts in great detail. I coded the first six transcripts phrase-by-phrase and then I coded them another two times as I worked to get to a higher level of abstraction. I sorted codes and re-sorted codes and re-sorted codes and then eventually, after more than three months, I finished the coding.
- I completed my analysis through the process of coding and writing up my 13 main categories.
- I wrote upwards of about 50,000 words. This included 40,000 words of findings, a couple of thousand on my method chapter, and several thousand words of memos.
And that’s it! I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but that just could be my inner productivity ninja looking at this list and thinking it’s not enough to have done in a year… Hmm. Now there’s a thought pattern I need to change!