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  • Julie T. Kinn 5:00 pm on October 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , communication, , late, ping, supervisee, supervisor   

    Keep those Slackers on Track 

    Group work is just fine when everyone contributes fully. Today’s post is about how to knock heads when your co-workers are acting more like cow-orkers.

    Collaborations break down when participants aren’t invested to the same degree. Your beloved project about slug habitats may be at the bottom of your co-author’s priority list (shocking, I know). Here’s a few tips to get you started on the right track:

    1. Discuss authorship roles and responsibilities at the beginning of the project. Be clear about expectations, and be willing to revisit the authorship order as needed.
    2. Discuss priorities and potential roadblocks. For example, I have an annual report I produce each year from April to June. Not only does it suck up my time, but it becomes my highest priority.  I know this will likely get in the way of collaborations and I can warn my co-authors.
    3. Discuss the time frame and be flexible. Maybe you would like everyone to turn in a first draft of their sections within two weeks, but insisting on a short time frame may prohibit others from joining your paper.

    After the work has begun, be willing to give reminders and help problem solve. Of course, your tact will vary depending on the co-authors.

    Working with Peers: Start with clear deadlines, but make sure that everyone agrees on them. If your peer co-author is late, it’s okay to send a quick email asking for an update, but best to speak in person. Do not post your frustration on Facebook.

    Working with your Supervisor (or others higher on the food chain): If he or she is late with work, provide an option for other ways to contribute. E.g., “It sounds like this may not be the best time for you to contribute to this paper. Another option is for you to come in at a later date and provide feedback on the semi-final product. Please let me know what you prefer. If you want an authorship role, could you finish your section by the end of the week?” Definitely do not post your frustration on Facebook.

    Working with your Supervisees (or others lower on the food chain): This is a special case. Supervisees may be late with work out of writing anxiety. Instead of just providing reminders and asking about late work, make time to sit down and problem-solve. You might be able to help break down the assignment into small goals. And, yes, go ahead and post about it on Facebook. A little humiliation never hurt (just jokin’).

    Any horror stories you’d like to share?

  • Julie T. Kinn 5:00 pm on October 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bacon, , thesis, trauma   

    Dust Off That Old Paper/thesis/dissertation and Publish it Already 

    I recently blogged about different types of writing groups. Just wanted to share an example of a low-effort motivational group I started.

    Last year, a couple of my coworkers and I were discussing the dissertation experience. After years of hard work, none of us had actually tried to publish the tomes. Generally, folks collect scads of data in a quantitative dissertation in order to publish two or three papers during the first year of an academic position.

    We decided to each take a fresh look at the dissertations and determine whether we could publish parts of them. My coworkers are in the fortunate position of actually having found significant results. My dissertation wasn’t as momentous, but there’s still some good nuggets in there (see my previous post on publishing not-so-hot work).

    For the past year, we have been meeting on the first workday of each month for ten minutes. We have a specific agenda:

    1. Discuss progress on last month’s goals.
    2. Discuss current obstacles.
    3. Set individual goals for next month.

    Ten minutes is not a large time investment. This group provides social support while re-experiencing the trauma of our dissertation processes. Also, even though the original process for writing our dissertations was painful and lengthy, each of us have found the revision process much easier than expected.

    This writing group format allows for different working styles. One coworker I will call Dr. Super-Duper-Motivated. If her monthly goal is revise her introduction, we know she will likely also have restructured the discussion, moved some things around, found new supporting literature, and gestated a human being. The other coworker may read this blog, so I’ll just call him Dr. Really-Magnanimous. He has had a bit of difficulty finding the time to work on his dissertation-based paper, even though he wants to get it off his plate. His goal is often “Work on the paper for one hour.”

    Another feature of this group is that we can brainstorm motivational techniques. Dr. R-M once feared he wouldn’t have time to work on his paper for 30 minutes. I “helped” him by sending an email to his friends stating that if he *did* work for 30 minutes, I would bring in Twister Donuts Bacon Maple Bars for them. If he didn’t complete his goal, there would be no bacon doughnuts, and it would be all his fault.

    Twister Doughnuts Bacon Maple Bar

    Twister Doughnuts Bacon Maple Bar

    Bacon. Doughnuts.

    He completed the goal.

    You’re welcome.

  • Julie T. Kinn 4:49 pm on October 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blogging,   

    Shameless Promotion of AfterDeployment.org 

    After Deployment

    After Deployment

    Hey folks!

    I’m the “Expert Blogger” this week at AfterDeployment.org. Check out my post on taking guilt-free breaks…. Especially those of you with procrastination issues. Yes, I’m talking to you!

    I’ll be back soon with a legit post 🙂


    • Marc 11:08 am on October 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      A nice tool I’ve come accross for making myself more productive while working, and less guilty while taking a break is the Pomodoro Technique (http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/). One sets up intervals of work that can’t/shouldn’t be interrupted. Hope it helps.

      • Julie T. Kinn 5:58 am on October 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Marc,

        Thanks for the interesting resource! Looks like it could also help monitor “Time Out” so I don’t accidentally leave the kids in the Skinner Box too long (Just a joke, folks. The Skinner Box is only for occasions with IRB approval).


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