27 Jun

my hybrid systems for keeping myself sorted: technology

Calendar* courtesy Dafne Cholet under a CC by 2.0 license

Calendar* courtesy Dafne Cholet under a CC by 2.0 license

Yesterday I posted about the principles that underpin my approach to managing my time and to dos. Today I’m following that up with the first of two posts about my hybrid tech / analogue system for keeping myself sorted. In this post I’ll talk about tech, and tomorrow I’ll talk about the analogue parts of my system, which revolve around my Traveler’s Notebook.

So, onto the tech. There’s nothing too fancy here in terms of tools, but I do have a whole bunch of systems I use with these bits of tech to keep my self sorted. The two tech pieces in my hybrid self management system are my work Outlook calendar and EverNote.

Calendar

I use my work Outlook calendar to manage all appointments, both work and life. I used to try to maintain a separate calendar for life but there’s not a whole lot of divide between work and life for me so it didn’t really work. Since our calendars are visible to the whole organisation by default, I just make sure I make appointments I don’t want everybody to see private.

I sync my calendar across all my devices and rely pretty heavily on notifications to make sure I’m where I need to be, when I need to be there.

I have a few strategies I use to manage my diary that are pretty important in keeping all the balls in the air. I expend a fair bit of energy on managing my calendar but it has good pay off.

The first strategy is a simple one, but one that I find not everyone employs: I keep my calendar up to date. It’s really important for me that my calendar reflects my actual availability, rather than it just being a system for reminding me when I need to be somewhere. I need it to be up to date so people can see when I’m available, and I need it to be up to date so *I* can see when I’m available. This is pretty much the key for me in terms of keeping myself sorted. So I calendar like a crazy lady.

In addition to having all my appointments in my calendar, I also block out time in my diary for a whole range of things. If I’m not available to other people at any time, I make sure my time is blocked out. For example, I block out:

  • all my teaching contact times. I do this at the start of the semester and then edit as needed if my schedule changes.
  • commute time, when I know I have to be on campus or at an offsite meeting.
  • school runs – realistically, rather than just using the appointment as a reminder. For pick ups, I block out the time from when I need to leave home or work through to when someone else will get home and I can start working again. For drop offs, I block out the time til I’m back at my desk at home or at the office.
  • 8am til 10am every day as time I’m not available for meetings. I live on the Gold Coast and work is in Brisbane. My commute is minimum an hour each way, and often substantially more during peak hour. It’s also completely unpredictable. So I am very reluctant to commit to doing anything before 10am. One day last year the traffic was exceptionally bad and I had a 9am lecture. It took me more than two and a half hours to get to work that day so despite leaving home well before 7am, my boss ended up having to run the first half hour of class. Being stuck on the freeway when I’m meant to be in a lecture theatre is pretty stressful!
  • research days, so I can try to protect some time to write.

Since I work from home quite a lot, I use my calendar to indicate whether I’m on or off campus each day. I do this by putting an appointment in my calendar at 7.30am each day that says whether I’m on campus or off campus. This helps my team with scheduling stuff. They are also really good at looking for times in my diary where I’m clearly having a meeting day, and using those times in preference to others.

Every Sunday I check my schedule for the next fortnight and add or update my on campus / off campus appointments for the next fortnight and see what I’m up to for the coming week. That helps me with my analogue planning too.

EverNote

I use EverNote to take notes in meetings because I often need those notes in electronic format to share with others, and it’s just really handy to be able to search for them.

I also use it to draft things like complicated emails, content for teaching sites, blog posts etc.

I use the business card scanning function to scan cards so I can get them out of my paper planner.

I also use EverNote to manage life projects too. For example, I scanned contracts and quotes related to our house sale, purchase and renos, using EverNote’s scanning app, Scannable. I also scanned product brochures so I wouldn’t have to carry bulk print material in my Traveler’s Notebook. My use of EverNote for these projects complemented my Traveler’s Notebook, where I made lots of notes in my life notebook and carried unpaid invoices and so forth in a folder insert.

I have a premium subscription for EverNote so that I can scan business cards and save email (among lots of other things).

Tomorrow I’ll post about the fun bit: my analogue approach to planning in my MTN.

PS. If you read to the end of this post, you’re a legend. I’m sure this is as boring as batshit to anyone but me. I’m not entirely sure why I think anyone wants to read this, but I think I’m partly writing these posts to record them for me, to come back to later. Memory keeping about my obsessive calendaring.

#blogjune 21/30

23 Jun

4 interesting articles i’ve read this week

For tonight’s instalment of seven days of lists, I give you four interesting articles / blog posts (shortish ones!) I’ve read this week

  1. The verdict: Is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it? In this article, the author talks about her experience with making her papers available in her institution’s open access repository, then blogging and tweeting about them, and the resultant impact on downloads. In summary, she suggests: “If you want people to find and read your research, build up a digital presence in your discipline, and use it to promote your work when you have something interesting to share.”
  2. Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains. A student in my undergrad Social Technologies class pointed me to this article. It’s a little bit older now but it’s really, really interesting. The author calls the internet an “interruption system”. The article provides understandable insights into the impact of the internet on our attention and what happens when our attention is chronically fragmented.
  3. Why the humble notebook is flourishing in the iPhone era. I wrote a post the other day about Midori Traveler’s Notebooks (MTNs), and I have another coming about how I use mine to organise my life and my thoughts. This post looks at bullet journalling, a system that I implement in a lightweight way in my MTN. This post is a reflection on how the bullet journalling craze is playing out.
  4. Why isn’t there a Grindr for straight people? My boss told me about this article. We have some incredibly random conversations because we are both very, very prone to making tangential links. I think we were talking about information environments and he was telling me about how this article said that people use Grindr when they’re sitting in gay bars to explore who is there and might want to hook up. He was telling me about how Grindr emulates the gay bar environment. Here’s a key quote: “All successful dating apps succeed because they recreate versions of older dating institutions and experiences in a new, digitally networked form. And what Grindr seeks to approximate are specifically sites of LGBT liberation and community: gay bars, bathhouses, gyms and so on.” I find this incredibly interesting. The convergence of online and physical.

What have you been reading lately?

14 Jun

week in the life: day 7: sunday 12 june

I finally made it to my last day of my week in the life!

8.47am: Got up and checked to see how the laptop was going with reformatting and saw it had 4 hours to go. I made tentative plans to rendezvous with the buyer at a midpoint (Ikea, bad idea on a Sunday!) Then I watched a bit of TV and read some #blogjune posts from other bloggers. I woke up feeling pretty crap still.

img_8204.jpg9.48am: Made some peanut butter toast and ate it while watching a bit of Law and Order. Laptop reformatting had approximately 3 hours to go…

10.49am: Tea time at my desk. Drinking decaff Twinings English Breakfast in my favourite mug. It’s a Whinnie the Pooh mug from my childhood. I really don’t love that it’s Whinnie the Pooh but it’s a really fine porcelain and it’s really nice to drink out of. I’m trying to cut back on caffeine but I’m not doing well with it. I had to quit caffeine last year because my heart rate was really high and it made a big difference, but I’ve slipped back into my old ways. I do feel a lot better in general when I’m not having it. I was working on admin and responding to questions about marking.img_8206.jpg

1.01pm: I really want to read this book called Social Physics, which my boss told me about. I thought I’d see if I could get an audiobook version so I had a look around and saw that audiobooks.com had it. So I signed up, installed the app, and then went to download the book only to discover it’s not available in my region. So frustrating! I cancelled my subscription straightaway and deleted the app. I really need to be able to make use of my commute time for reading and I’m so frustrated that I can’t get the content I want, even though it exists.

1.30pm: The laptop finished erasing itself so we packed up and hit the road to meet the friend who was buying the laptop. I also took my old iPhone 6 with me for her to give to another friend who was buying that. I dropped my iPhone 6 and broke the screen a couple of months ago. I worked out that factoring in cost of screen repair, paying out my existing contract, and selling my cracked iPhone 6, it would only cost $200 extra to upgrade to an iPhone 6s Plus. So I did it and I love it! Anyway, I digress.

2.14pm: Arrived at the rendezvous point and cleverly decided to meet in the shopping centre next to Ikea instead of Ikea itself. Smart move I think, because the car park was a disaster zone. I went into Spotlight to get some modelling paste and gesso, because I wanted to do an index card a day (#ICAD) challenge in the coming week, but they didn’t have any modelling paste so I abandoned that plan. I bought some enamel shapes for scrapbooking because they were super cheap and I love enamel shapes, plus a soap holder for the kitchen. We also looked at very expensive rubbish bins to put under the kitchen sink but didn’t buy one because we’re indecisive. Then we headed home but stopped for a frozen Coke (me) and ice cream (mum).

img_8209.jpg5.26pm: I set up my planner / to do list for this week. This means stamping days and dates onto a Midori Traveler’s Notebook grid insert. More on my system in a later post, but basically I use a modified form of bullet journalling, so my next step after drawing my weekly spread up is to migrate items from last week. In this process, I try to smash out as many of the items I haven’t done as I possibly can. This was extra important this week because I’ve got several big deadlines in the next two weeks and I needed to clear the decks. I followed up on a heap of meeting actions and other admin while I watched TV. We finished watching the latest season of SVU and then went back to watching Vampire Diaries.

I’m not sure what time I went to bed – I forgot to make a note. But I know it was pretty late by the time I put my phone down.

And that’s it for my week in the life!

Feeling: glad I did this challenge but also a little relieved it’s done. Excited about actually scrapbooking it, if I find the time…

Reflecting: on how hard it is to accurately track your life for a week, how easy it is to forget to take photos, and how boring my days probably seem to someone looking in from the outside. Email, meetings, email, TV, YouTube. That’s pretty much how it goes! In fact, the twins know in theory that I’m a teacher but if you ask them what I do for work they’ll tell you I do meetings and email (and they’ll also tell you I don’t need an office because my office is everywhere – they’re used to seeing my work in the car, at the park, on the lounge, in my home office, in bed… wherever we are!)

#blogjune 12/30

13 Jun

week in the life: day 6: saturday 11 june

This was a bit of an unusual Saturday for me. I work more weekends than I take off. At the moment the ratio is probably about three weekends on to one weekend off. The kids aren’t with us every second Sunday so I always plan to work that day, and I try to take the Saturday off the weekend they’re not with us on Sunday. This was one of those weekends, but unfortunately I did have to work Saturday. But it was a bits and pieces kind of day because I wasn’t feeling well, so I feel like I lost a lot of time to brain fog. Normally I try to be really intentional with my time: I’m either working, or not working. I’m not into faffing or working unproductively. I either want to be stuck into it or not working at all. So this day was less than ideal because I was feeling rough and just wasn’t switched on. I should have just taken the day off but couldn’t really afford to do it. Anyway, on with the post!

Oh, and all my photos from Saturday had kids in them, so no pics today!

7.30am: I set my alarm to get up and start sorting out the admin for the marking that came in last night so my markers could get started. I woke up feeling pretty awful – sore throat, headache, sinusy. I had some breakfast and watched a bit of YouTube. I had trouble getting going this morning.

9.30am: I got started writing the marking brief, checking the criteria sheet, and updating the marks spreadsheet.

10.28am: Shot an email to the team to let them know the marking was ready to go then answered some email.

11.30am: I caught up on my blog posts for Thursday and Friday, and read quite a few other #blogjune posts.

12.54pm: Rough housed around with Miss 7 for half an hour then did a bit more work. She was hanging out here while Mr 7 was at football with my sister. He came home a bit devastated because they lost 6 nil. The first thing he said to me was ‘Do NOT ask me how we went!’. He’s not fond of losing!

2pm: The fam went to Clip n Climb and I stayed home to work and have a nap because I was feeling rubbish. I slept for two hours and woke up feeling a bit better.

4.30pm: Answered some more email. See a theme here?! I also started preparing my sister’s old laptop to be sold – backing up her data and getting it ready to reformat.

5.45pm: The fam came home with pizza and we started watching the second half of The Flintstones. I multitasked and started writing this blog post. I also watched the videos mum had taken of the kids climbing earlier in the afternoon.

6pm-ish (I didn’t note the exact time): I started reformatting the hard drive on my sister’s old laptop using a secure seven pass erase.

7pm-ish: We started watching Harry and the Hendersons, which I haven’t seen since I was a kid. We only watched half an hour or so.

8pm-ish: My sister and the kids went home and we put on some Law and Order, and I worked away til I went to bed. I was trying to think about what I was actually working on and realised I wasn’t really sure. So I had a look at my sent items while I was writing this post and saw that there were quite a few emails there dealing with issues with the marking that my markers were working on. But other than that, I’m not really sure what I did. And I was definitely working. This made me stop and think about how often my time gets sucked up by things that aren’t even substantial enough for me to remember what I did when I think back only a day later. It’s a bit scary really.

10pm-ish: Headed to bed where I watched a couple of YouTube videos before I went to sleep.

Reflecting: On how I use my time and why I lose so much of it to inane tasks.

Feeling: Pretty rough, but better after I had a nap.

Thinking: I’ve gotten slack about recording times later in the week!

#blogjune 10/30

11 Jun

week in the life: day 5: friday 10 june

Another manic meeting day! I didn’t get many photos on Friday, and the ones I did get are of the kids, so I won’t post them here. But back-to-back meetings means my diary is a good prompt to reflect on the day.

img_8140.jpg6am: Got up and got myself ready, in slow mo for some reason. We planned to let the kids sleep in because they were so tired Thursday night but they woke up at their usual time so they were having breakfast when I got there. I’m always amazed that my sister manages to get herself and the kids ready AND cook hot breakfasts on demand! It was scrambled eggs today.

img_8145.jpg7.35am: I did Ms 7’s hair. She requested a bun today and likes me to take a photo so she can see it from the back.

7.45am: We took turns picking songs on Spotify for the drive to school and had a bit of a concert in the car. On the way, my sister rang me and asked me to call her back after I dropped the kids off. I did, and she told me she had been offered a job that she really wanted. I’m extremely happy for her. She’s graduating next month and worked incredibly hard, and now she is seeing the pay off. I did my usual school run morning trick and grabbed a coffee at Zarraffa’s before driving to work.

9.20am: I managed to sneak into the car park queue before they stopped letting people into the queue and then I sat there waiting for half an hour.

9.50am: Grabbed a Merlo coffee on my way to the school meeting. I managed to arrive a few minutes late, put my coffee down on the window sill behind me and then managed to knock it over! Thankfully I scrounged some tissues from my neighbour and soaked it up, and I caught it quickly so it wasn’t a big spill.

11.30pm: I went straight from the school meeting to a planning meeting for project students for next semester.

1pm: A colleague grabbed me some lunch (shamefully, GyG again!) and I sat and had lunch with her and another colleague, and then another colleague joined us briefly too. We talked about balancing work and parenting responsibilities and all had a bit of a debrief about the juggling we’d been doing this week. It’s really rare for us all to get to sit together and talk and I really appreciated that half an hour of chatting.

1.35pm: I had a meeting with my boss to run through the list of things I’d made to talk to him about, and then we did some work mapping the capabilities that are developed in each of our units. Not very exciting, and pretty tricky to do actually. It involves pulling out all the theoretical knowledge and skills that are developed in each unit. We were originally meeting 1.30pm til 3pm about this then 4pm til 5pm to work on a paper, but our 3pm meeting got pushed to 4pm, so we kept working on the capabilities mapping through til 4pm. We didn’t get to work on the paper (the same one I’ve been trying to find time to write all week…). I have to do it on Sunday now or we’ll miss the submission deadline. That’s all quite boring detail really, but I feel like this juggling and pushing and pulling are characteristic of my days so I wanted to capture it.

4pm: Headed into a research meeting about two projects that I’m really excited about. It’s all secret squirrel at the moment but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

5.52pm: Left the research meeting. I grabbed a drink from the vending machine because my throat was sore then hit the highway.

6.57: I stopped at home and grabbed the Erin Condren box that arrived on Tuesday and took it to my sister’s. We decided to give her the gift we’d bought for her graduation now as a congrats for getting the job. She was ecstatic! When I arrived, mum and Ms 7 were playing doctors at the kitchen bench. Then the twins decided to play a game of Harry High Pants, where they pull their PJ pants up as high as possible and jump around like crazy cats. Mr 7 came home with us for a sleepover. He watched The Flintstones movie with mum while I worked on the lounge.

9.39pm: I felt like I was getting sick so I decided to have an early night. Despite professing he wasn’t tired, Mr 7 fell asleep on the lounge the second we weren’t watching him! Got the cutest pic of him fast asleep. I watched a couple of YouTube videos and then went to sleep myself.

Feeling: On the precipice… Starting to get sick.

Winning: A good debrief with lovely colleagues over lunch and then another with my boss helped me to get my head in order a bit.

Writing: Things on my to do list… Scrawling them across the pages… My usual system isn’t working this week because it’s been such a fragmented week. When this happens, I just try to get everything down as I think of it, and then tidy it into a proper list later.

#blogjune 9/30

11 Jun

week in the life: day 4: thursday 9 june

What. A. Day. I spent all of today running between commitments. This kind of day typically happens about two days a week. I didn’t have time to make notes during the day but I took photos so I’d have time stamps to refer to and I wrote this post up on Saturday morning.

img_8120.jpg7.03am: I woke up and thought to myself, ‘Gee, it’s very light for 5.45am’. Then I looked at my phone and realised my alarm hadn’t gone off because I’d set it for 5.45pm. Argh! I should have already been at my sister’s, helping to get the kids ready for school. I did a mad dash, got stuck into the dry shampoo, brushed my teeth with a new kids toothbrush seeing mine got mixed up with the shower cleaning toothbrush, put foundation on*, packed up the rest of my makeup to put on at work, and chucked on some clothes. I drove to my sister’s place, left the car running, ran in and grabbed the kids and then we hit the road.

* I used my new foundation brush for the first time, which I bought after pretty much every beauty blogger I watched raved about it last month. It’s the Clinique Foundation Buff Brush and it’s bloody brilliant. I took time to put my foundation on even though I was running an hour and 15 minutes late because my skin is awful right now and I didn’t want to walk from the car park to the office without some coverage. I’ve always had really good skin and for the last several years, I’ve only worn a CC cream as a base, with a bit of powder on my T zone. I had to change some medications when I broke my foot and my skin has gone absolutely bananas. I had to go out and buy a new foundation because I suddenly needed more coverage. I bought the Diorskin Forever Fluid Foundation and also got sucked into buying the Diorskin Forever Compact too, which is very nice, particularly when buffed into the skin with a brush. I also bought the L’Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation, which I quite like (although I’ve only worn it once, and it’s a lighter coverage than the Diorskin foundation). This was a surprise for me because I’ve never bought a lower priced foundation before. It’s one of the products I’ve always assumed was something that needed a bit of an investment. Anyway… That was a bit of a random aside! Back to my day.

img_8122.jpg8.23am: After I dropped the kids at school, I stopped to grab a coffee at Zarraffa’s on my way to the highway.

9.35am: Got to campus and discovered the car parks were full because it’s exam week. I managed to get into the queue for the car park before security stopped people joining the queue. About 10 minutes earlier, while I was stuck in traffic, I had suggested to a colleague that I meet her on Skype to help her re-record the intro to a lecture that had dodgy audio quality, and had to send her another email to say I was stuck in the car park queue. I answered some email and kept listening to the podcast.

img_8126.jpg9.55am: I realised I should just get on with doing my make up while I waited to get into the car park.

10.10am: Finally got a park and headed to the office. I Skyped my colleague and we re-recorded the intro as planned. I spent 15 minutes looking at the results of a survey I conducted asking online students about their experience in one of the units I taught in this semester, Understanding Research. In this unit, I’m effectively a tutor. My role is to run the online mode and I also give a couple of lectures, about inductive reasoning and inductive research, and qualitative data collection methods. There weren’t really any surprises in the survey responses but there were some good comments that will help me tweak the delivery for next semester. Then I spent about 20 minutes catching up with a colleague about our respective weeks. It was a bit of a debrief and decompress really. It’s a busy time of semester and we’re all running around a lot, so it’s good to stop and chat, even briefly.

10.55am: I stopped at the campus book shop to grab a skinny flat white on the way to my 11am meeting.

11.05am: I arrived at my meeting a few minutes late. We spent two hours discussing how the semester had gone in Understanding Research and planning for next semester. We juggled the lecture schedule around and started talking about how we might run tutorials and tweak assessment. It was a good, productive meeting.

1.10pm: I had a lunch meeting at The Pantry with one of my PhD students. We talked about the next steps in her research, writing a conference paper, and just had a general catch up. I had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich minus the ham (they’re pre-made so I always have to ask them to take it off!). There’s something particularly good about these sandwiches. I think there’s some mustard or something on there.

2.00pm: Headed to a Course Management Group meeting where it took us 45 minutes of the 90 minute meeting to get through the business arising. Miraculously, we did get through almost the whole agenda. This is very rare! I needed to hang around afterwards to see someone, so during the meeting I emailed my 3.30pm appointment and pushed our meeting til Friday.

3.45pm: Hit the road, aiming to get home before my 5pm Skype meeting.

5.05pm: I didn’t quite make it home in time so I answered the Skype call on my phone – hands free, and audio only! Just like a hands free phone call. Everyone panics about me Skyping in the car but it’s no different to talking on the phone. Anyway, the people I was meeting offered to call back when I was home.

5.15pm: Arrived home and started my Skype meeting. The meeting was about a research project and progressing the analysis.

5.45pm: My sister had an awards ceremony to go to and seeing my meeting was quick I text her to ask if she’d left yet and whether I could go with her. Mum was staying home with the kids.

img_8129.jpg6.19pm: Snapped a selfie with my sis before the ceremony started.

6.50pm: Watched my sister get presented with the Sisters of Mercy Medal for the most outstanding student in the third year of her degree. Then we snuck straight out the back door of the lecture theatre and headed for home, stopping for Guzman y Gomez (again!) on the way home to get some take away.

7.30pm: Got home after dropping my sister off and collecting my mum. I ate dinner while watching an episode of Law and Order SVU. We’ve been through 18 episodes this week! Then I started working in front of the TV – mostly answering email. These days full of back to back meetings always mean I get nothing done and need to get through some stuff in the evening.

img_8136.jpg9.47pm: The student I had the lunch meeting with had given me some rocky road from the Noosa Chocolate Factory and we cut some off the monster slab. When she gave it to me, I could smell it just holding the closed bag. It is amazing! Strawberry jelly, marshmallow and chocoloatey goodness. Definitely the best rocky road I’ve ever had.

10.30pm: Stopped working and got ready for bed, then watched a couple of YouTube videos in bed.

11.04pm: Set my alarm for 6am then crashed.

Feeling: Proud of my sister.

Thinking: Next semester is going to be full on.

Winning: Making it home in time to go to my sister’s awards ceremony.

Delaying: Everything that isn’t urgent, and some things that are.

#blogjune 8/30

08 Jun

week in the life: day 3: wednesday 8 june

Today I didn’t have a chance to make any notes during the day, but I did snap a few pictures to help with remembering what happened when. It was a really scrappy day which always means I need to catch up at night.

5.52am: Mr 7 woke up early so he came into my bed, 8 minutes before my alarm was meant to go off. I don’t mind waking up early and coming in for a morning cuddle, but I’d rather it was an hour before the alarm went off so we could go back to sleep for an hour. But then, he probably wouldn’t go back to sleep.

6.18am: I hit snooze twice but we didn’t get any extra sleep. Just had a chat instead. I deposited Mr 7 on the lounge under a blanket. Actually, it was a towel, since the throw rug is in the wash and I don’t know where the others are. Mum had left the A/C on for us so it was toasty. Swallowed my morning cocktail of vitamins and meds for my foot then jumped in the shower. Got dressed in jeans, a tshirt and a hoodie for a work from home day.

7am: Arrived at my sister’s house and headed for her bathroom to blow dry my hair. Ms 7 was in my sister’s bed in her school uniform, being ominously quiet…

7.20am: Ate the dregs of the kids’ breakfast for my own breakfast.

7.35am: Did Ms 7’s hair and had a heated discussion with her about putting her school cardigan on. I have no idea why their school jumpers/cardigans have to be made out of a rigid knit fabric because it is seriously the cause of almost daily arguments in winter. They look so uncomfortable, which I’m told is how they feel. Ms 7 was pretty cranky and Mr 7 and I may have made it worse by being a bit cheeky. Then I had another… let’s call it ‘fraught conversation’ with Ms 7 about wearing a non-school colour hair tie on her wrist.

7.45am: I tried to take a selfie of Ms 7 and I in the car but she wasn’t having any of it and I got an awesome picture that basically summed up her mood this morning. But since it shows her face I’ll save it for my offline scrapbook. The kids were both occupied with gaming so I listened to a podcast on the drive.

8.20am: There was a big truck broken down in the middle of a major intersection near school so the traffic was really bad. We got there just as the music was playing. Randomly, whatever happened to a good old fashioned school bell?

8.30am: I went back through the traffic, which was still pretty slow although the truck had moved and then stopped at Bunnings to pick up another drain cover for the bathroom. The result: we now have a total of four that don’t quite fit. Gah!

8.55am: The handyman had been and gone before I got home but still wasn’t finished everything, plus I had the (useless) drain cover with me. Endless renos are endless. I started working – answering email, for something different – on the lounge while I waited for him to come back.

10am: The cleaner arrived. We had a quick chat then I got back to work. I love her. She is a really good, caring person and she does really nice things for us. When I was writing my thesis she would get in and pull everything out of my study and make it all shiny and completely dust free so it was a nice environment for me, and she did it a way that wasn’t just about doing her job, but also about caring.

10.35am: Left home to go see the doctor.

img_8110.jpg11.05am: Sat in the doctor’s waiting room because she was running late. We made a plan to start reducing the meds I’m on for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), which I developed post op after having a plate and bone graft for my broken foot in February. She has also recommended I start mirror therapy, which I’ve been putting off, to help with retraining my brain so it doesn’t think my foot is under attack. We also decided that I should get the plate taken out at the end of the teaching year. I had previously thought I would just wait and see because I didn’t want to stir up the CRPS again, but since my foot is getting better, I can really feel the plate when I walk. It means more surgery but I think it’s a good decision and I’m happy that I can plan for the surgery this time!

11.45am: Got home to find the handyman was here. Had a quick chat, paid him, and got back to work.

img_8111.jpg1.07pm: My sister’s graduation gift arrived in the mail – a teacher planner from Erin Condren (more on planners in a post later this week!). I’ve safely hidden the box!

2.16pm: Packed up my laptop, snacks for the kids, water and my planner and headed to school.

2.55pm: Ms 7 had her dance class so I hung out on the oval with Mr 7 while he kicked a ball around with some mates and then on his own. The kid is quick and sharp. I love watching his feet flying. I answered email for an hour while he played.

4.05pm: Ms 7 finished dancing and we headed home.

4.35pm: Dropped the kids home to my sister’s place then drove the 10 metres from her driveway to mine.

img_8116.jpg4.45pm: Settled on the lounge in my PJs for an evening of work.

7.11pm: My sister just messaged me to say Mr 7 lost another tooth – his fourth in three weeks. He’s got so many teeth out at the front of his mouth that I’m not sure how he’s going to eat!

9.16pm: Knock off time.

10pm: Zzzzz

I also wanted to add a few reflections and random bits of info to this post for later scrapbooking.

Thinking: I love blogging and reading blogs so much that I don’t know why I don’t do this more the rest of the year. Also: I know I still won’t blog more no matter how much I think about how much I enjoy it.

Winning: I got a spot at a writing retreat for women in research, which is being held in the Sunshine Coast hinterland next month. I’m extremely excited for two whole days of uninterrupted writing in the company of gems like @kathleensme.

Delaying: The conference paper I have been trying to get focused on for the last five days, but that I was actually scheduled to nail today. I have back-to-back meetings for the next two days so really not sure when I’m going to get to write it.

Feeling: Extremely tired.

#blogjune 7/30

07 Jun

week in the life: day 2: tuesday 7 june

It’s day 2 in my week in the life, and today was an unusual day…

6.31am: I set my alarm for 6.20, snoozed once, and got up. Well done me! I ate a scone for breakfast while watching the new Jennifer McGuire Ink video.

7am: New shower heads have been installed! Hooray for having my first good shower in the new house. It only took 3 months to get them in…
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7.05am: I have no idea how I lost half an hour between getting up and getting out of the shower, but somehow I did. Consequently, I was running late to get next door to help get the kids ready and then take them to school. I grabbed my make up bag and took it to my sister’s, where I sat on her bedroom floor to do my makeup and hair, under Ms 7’s supervision. Today I tried a new foundation. Unusually for me, it was just a L’Oreal one (i.e. not super expensive). It’s the Nude Magique Cushion Foundation and I think I liked it, though I need to give it a go without my new primer (also L’Oreal – Lumi Magique Pure Light Primer) because I think it kind of shifted and it might have been the primer. (I really love makeup and have another post in draft about this….) Then I did Ms 7’s hair and we bolted out the door. There were tears and tantrums about who would sit in the front seat so I said nobody could, which they took surprisingly well!

8.35am: Dropped the kids at school and then stopped at Zarraffa’s for a coffee for the road.

9.09am: I feel like I spend half my life (and half my income – the rest goes on parking!) at the petrol station. img_8097.jpg

10.04am: After a rather large detour courtesy GPS not working in the airport link tunnel, I arrived at Ministry of Handmade to do a lampshade class with the very lovely Lyndelle. Yup, I skived off for a couple of hours to make a lampshade for my great grandmother’s lamp, which played a starring role in fire rescue dramas in our lounge room over the last few years seeing Mr 7 used it as a fire pole. I’ve been wanting to make a shade for this lamp for forevity so I’m extremely happy it’s done and I love it. It was a lot of fun and not very hard, so I see more lampshades in my future. I also managed to buy a couple of metres more fabric than I needed because I apparently can’t read, so I have plenty left to make cushions with. Here is Lyndelle pushing fabric under the rim of her lampshade with a cheese knife (very technical this lampshade making business!). img_8098.jpg

12.40pm: Lunch and email. I may have eaten Guzman y Gomez again. Ooops.

1pm: I made a quick trip to Myer to buy my sister some clothes. She’s on her prac placement and her classroom isn’t heated and it just got cold all of a sudden. She doesn’t have warm clothes and doesn’t have time to shop so I grabbed her a few things (and later found out I got the size wrong on everything…). Then I spent the afternoon doing admin.

5pm: I met my sister and the kids at Grilld where the kids were having burgers for dinner and then the kids bought a ridiculous amount of frozen yoghurt at Yoghurt Land. Mr 7 decided he just had to stay over so he came home with me.

img_8105.jpg6.15pm: Got home, took my make up off, got my PJs on and did a quick check to see what the handyman had done today (not much… Will this renovation ever end?!). Had a general rant about being sick of living in a construction zone then set the lamp up with its new shade in its new home.

6.30pm: Set up on the lounge to answer email, read a Confirmation of Candidature document, and hopefully get some marking done… Except I got distracted by writing these notes up.

7.15pm: Mr 7 went to bed and then I got stuck into work.

9.43pm: Spent the last two and a half hours reading a Confirmation of Candidature document. Still have more work to do on it but I’m calling it a day on the work front.

10pm: I need to rub my foot a couple of times a day and the sensation is spiff I hate doing it myself, so my mum did it for me before I went to bed.

10.28pm:  Watched two YouTube videos in bed (Inkie Quill and Crafty Jen Schow), set my alarm, switched my phone onto do not disturb, finished this post, and hitting publish…. Now!

#blogjune 6/30

06 Jun

week in the life: day 1: monday 6 june

This week, I’m recording a week in my life. I’m making my notes here in blog posts ready to scrapbook this when the week is done. I should warn you that this activity is about capturing the minutiae of the every day, so it’s probably a boring read for anyone other than future me! Here goes.

7.10am: My alarm was set for 6.30 then I hit snooze three times before having a quick look at my email and finally getting out of bed. I meant to go to Shut Up and Write from 8am til 10am so I was a bit relieved to see it was cancelled.

7.17am: I heated a scone and ate it with strawberry jam while watching a YouTube video from one of my favourite YouTube channels, Inkie Quill.

8am: The handyman arrived just after 8am to finish installing door handles, nailing skirting boards, putting up towel rails and installing shower heads.

9.05am: Finally on the road. After applying my makeup, taking it off, then putting it back on again (I hate those days when I can’t get it right), I went to get into the car much later than planned and the car wouldn’t start. Gah! I had to take mum’s car and leave her with mine, to call RACQ for a jump start so she could go and get a new battery.

10am: I had a completely random conversation with my boss and one of my PhD students. We went from talking about the wild weather over the weekend, to shark attacks, then crocodile attacks, then to baby hippos playing with the tail of big crocodiles, to raising virtuoso violinists, to getting Ms 7 into football and raising a terrible twins duo of formidable football players.

12.39pm: I rang mum to check on the car situation and she said it needed a new battery, which she’d sorted, but the mechanic had also said I need new tires too. It feels like it’s one thing after another at the moment, between renovating, my broken foot and subsequent surgery and rehab, and cars. Bills, bills, bills!

1.05pm: Spent some time (too long!) answering email and eating salt and vinegar biscuits when I really should have been analyzing interview transcripts.

1.07pm: Replied to a tweet from Rachel who was looking for ideas on getting organized. I’ve already promised another friend I’d blog about my planner system so I’m hoping to get stuck into that tonight.

2.32pm: Left the office to get my favourite lunch: corn chips and roasted tomato salsa from GyG. It was only 18 degrees outside, according to my weather app, and I reckon it was a fair bit cooler than that in the city and particularly in the wind tunnel at the bottom of our building. I took my lunch back to the office where I munched and watched Chloe and Beans on YouTube before getting back to answering email.

4.11pm: Packed up and headed to the car park where I forked out $25 for a 6 hour and 27 minute stay. I’m so frustrated by what I spend on parking, and $25 is actually a good day. It’s generally $40 because I’m there for longer. Right now there’s nothing I can do about the expense because my foot is not up to walking up to campus from a cheaper car park. Plus to get cheap parking I need to be at work really early, which is a struggle with my commute. So for now I’m forking out $40 pretty much every time I go into the office.

4.28pm: The traffic was its normal slow self but I was listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast so the time flew. It was an episode from July last year that looked at why scrapbookers are compelled to buy so much scrapbooking product.

4.56pm: I tried to capture the beautiful sky I was seeing on the road but turns out my sunglasses were making it seem more spectacular than it really was.

5.41pm: Headed straight to my sister’s house where we did several run throughs of Ms 7’s class play, in which she played every part except the narrator (that was me) and Rabbit Two (played by Mr 7). As soon as I walked in the door she asked me if I could come to school on Thursday for the play. Queue mild panic because my Thursday isn’t re-arrangable this week. Turns out it’s next Thursday and Mr 7’s is next Tuesday, so I have some diary juggling to do for next week.

Practising Ms 7’s class play

6.14pm: I had a really quick dinner with the kids then sat on the lounge and checked email on my phone while my mum and sister made lunches for tomorrow. I realised I don’t have a selfie for today so I took a few and my sister yelled out from the kitchen, ‘Well Kate Kate is clearly just sitting there taking selfies!’. She finds the whole idea of selfies hilarious.

6.45pm: Headed home, took off my make up, got into my PJs and settled onto the lounge with my laptop to finish making these notes about today.

7.18pm: Ready to start work again, which means queuing up some trashy TV but first I needed to update our IP address with GetFlix. Netflix is back after being out for a couple of days (we get the US version but they are getting tricky with detecting IP addresses lately).

7.37pm: It’s freezing so I decided to try wearing a sock again, even though last time it felt like wrapping my foot in sandpaper. And success! It feels strange – not at all like the other foot feels – but it isn’t painful. Just sort of not comfortable.

7.52pm: Ok, I couldn’t deal with the sock after all, so off it came.

9.56pm: Spent two hours doing some admin and drafting a blog post about my planner set up. Calling it quits for the day to watch the end of an intense episode of Law and Order SVU before I crash.

10.36pm: In bed, adding photos to this post using the iPhone WordPress app. It’s hard to work with photos in the app so not sure how good they’re going to be. That’s it for me today. Time to watch one YouTube video and then it’s lights out.

#blogjune 5/30

03 Jun

advice from mums on juggling life, kids, work and professional development

For the last two weeks, my colleagues and I have been running a discussion topic on professional development on the International Librarians Network blog. Yesterday, we published a post pulling together the voices of a number of women we work with on the topic of juggling life, kids, work and professional development.

It’s about a bunch of women who are librarians, information professionals, or academics in the LIS space but it’s a post that has value for women in a multitude of different professions, so I wanted to share it here. Go read it now, whether you’ve got kids or not, because this stuff is not easy and I think it gets just that little bit easier if we’re all in it together.

Although we didn’t explicitly talk about, this post reminds me that

behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back

(Quote via the Instagram feed of entrepreneur, author and speaker Lisa Messenger.)

These women are a big part of my tribe.

Thanks Lyndelle, Katya, Kathleen, Clare, and Kate for sharing about your experience.

#blogjune 2/30