New Year's Resolutions

Think, write, teach, discover and read. These are the things we love and why we joined this great profession, but so many things are in your way and killing your joy. Our resident Fighty Squirrel offers a couple resolutions and protips to let you do the thing you love. Your job. Enjoy and Happy New Year.

  1. Jump Start Your Day with a Filter and a Huddle. Morning sets the tone for your day. That happy buzz you feel with quality caffeine in your system can be squashed quickly as emails hijack your priorities and your office fills up with visitors, students, and colleagues. Put a tourniquet on your email hemorrhage with SaneBox. This monster service will kill spam, focus you on real email and learn your habits. Add a daily 20-minute huddle with your team at the start of your day in order to get everyone on the same page and you’ll be crushing it by 9 am.
  2. Take a break. No one cares if you are working the 120-work week. This isn’t the Olympics of Suffering where the gold medal is tenure.  You’ll end up so tired and overwhelmed you will be useless and a terrible role model. Read more about all that here.
  3. Destroy Waste. You have a precious few commodities as an academic. First and foremost is your time. Guard it. Stop saying ‘yes’ to things that you aren’t passionate about.  We recommend a ‘Say No’ post it on the side of your computer.
  4. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants. Every one of your fears, questions, and dilemmas has been asked by those that have gone before you not only in academia but also in business, philosophy and literature. Treat yourself to some of the excellent books we have recommended this year on assertiveness, resilience and how to write like a rockstar.
  5. Network Like You Mean It. Those people who seem to know everyone and get invited to give talks everywhere are getting exposure for their teams that you need? You need to be one of them. Follow some of the great advice on networking here.
  6. Pick a fight. Funding, failure to diversify, ethical conundrums, public scrutiny of research and all manner of misinformation are pulling our best students away and adding to the sense that academia is out of touch and superfluous. Pick a fight. Make a stand in your Society on gender equality, draw a line in the sand on how deep the budget cuts are impacting your students or how absurd a new policy is. Just one pick one. Your future depends on it and your students deserve to see how you can engage in tough societal issues in your real world work
  7. Get a Posse. Your jobs as a PI are 99% cheerleading and grant writing. Make sure you get your own cheer squad to remind you of what’s important, why you are awesome and generally have your back. It’s unrealistic to think you will have these folks in your department or even your institution so steady on if you are struggling to find them. These folks don’t need to be your neighbors or even in your discipline to understand.  You need them to be honest, supportive and probably funny.
  8. Be Nicer Than You Think You Should Be. Smile at people. Did we mention you’re a role model now? Ask people how they are doing. Particularly the young academics. You never know what people are going through. Be kind.
  9. Post on The Edge for Scholars. You know we had to add this one. Do you not know who a good posse would be? Are you struggling on how to get the resources you need or get on the radar of the journal you want to publish in? Post your thoughts on The Edge and we will amplify your message via Twitter, Facebook and using our mighty distribution list. We will get you some answers.

What else do you have…what are your New Year’s Resolutions for your lab and your career?

H/T to Twitter pals @marinap63, @shanskylab, @katiemcollette, @em_fawcett, @markbaxter, @b_alii56 for their quotes, advice and overall awesomeness.

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