Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

Better Self-Organization

2475011402_bf70c92575_o‘Tis the season… for writing a huge number of letters of recommendation. This is happy, but I am always worried that I will miss one and be the reason why some poor person didn’t get into UniversityOfTheirDreams. It is a big responsibility to be a letter writer, and I do not engage in this activity lightly.

Each student who asks me for a letter, I require them to send me a statement of their research and give me a CV or resume. This helps me to write a better, more informed letter. It is also the same as when I suggest that you prep your letter writers in previous post. You should always have a conversation and give them written information to help your letter writers.

I have also started something new this year to help keep myself organized: a list. This year, I am asking all  students who ask for letters to give me a list of the schools to which they are applying, so I can make sure I send them all. Most students were surprised that I asked for all this information. But, it is all part of my new leaf to be better organized.

My new organizational schemes have been working most of the semester, and I am happy to say. Another thing that I rehashed was to have a notebook I always have with to do lists and notes for work. Much like a lab notebook, which I was really excellent at retaining, this notebook has all my important information. This semester, I ticked off entire do lists. Sadly, as soon as one was complete, I was able to create a new list de novo from my memory entailing an entire page work of more “to dos.”

I have also started a spreadsheet for manuscripts to track their progress and what I still need to do. This idea came from another, very coordinated WomanOfScience. It is a little disheartening at first to see all the papers I need to work on laid out in their various states of incompleteness, but it is also good to see when they make progress. I am hoping to clear some into the submitted regime over winter break.

So, what about you? Any special organizational schemes to keep on top of your work? If so, please share.

 

Comments on: "Better Self-Organization" (1)

  1. I love the idea of tracking manuscripts in progress and what stage they are at via a spreadsheet! I have one to keep track of all the papers I’ve read (or should be reading). It took me a while to decide on dividing the papers into sheets by topic, but this way I can put every paper relating to that topic on a sheet (so one paper could be repeated on several sheets). This makes getting references for papers/posters really easy too.

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