Chasing the rabbit – how much is enough?

Treadmill_womanA question that frequently haunted me when I was a new professor was, “How much is enough?”  More specifically it was a series of questions,

“How much research money is enough?”

“How many graduate students are enough?”

How many evenings and weekends of work are enough?”

And the biggie…

“How many journal papers per year are enough?” Continue reading


Just Say No!

A few years ago, I called a colleague at another university to get the inside track on one of his former students who had applied to our graduate program.  Our conversation went something like this…

ME: “Hi there – how are you doing?”

HE: “Good thanks, insanely busy. You?”

ME: “Yep – the same.  I won’t keep you; I just wanted to ask you a quick question.”

HE: “Okay, but beware – I’m in my ‘No!’ mood today.”

I was floored…  his ‘No!’ mood?  I had never heard of this before but I knew exactly what he meant the minute he said it.  Thankful that I hadn’t called to ask him to ‘do’ anything (other than tell me a bit about a student), I quickly concluded my business and let him go.  After I hung up the phone I leaned back in my chair and stared into space, contemplating the earth shattering implications of this amazing revelation.  He has a ‘No!’ mood, I thought.  Absolutely brilliant, I definitely gotta get me one of those. Continue reading

Avoiding Time-Wasters

Last night I had a terrifying nightmare – I dreamt that I wasted an hour waiting for a cab. How weird is that? When I woke up I was so relieved to realize it was just a dream – it was almost as good as waking up from the ‘missed my exam’ nightmare! Then it hit me – after 20+ years as a professor, my worst fears have evolved. Now the scariest thing I can imagine is not failing a course or even missing an exam – it’s wasting an hour of my time. In fact, nothing stresses me out more than the prospect of wasting time – so much so, that I have developed an arsenal of strategies for effective time management. Continue reading