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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zero Motivation

I have about 3 months left before I start my pregnancy/parental leave (November 15th unless something comes up like bed-rest or Baby G arriving early) , and I have absolutely no motivation to work.

The plan is to use Baby G's arrival as a kind of a deadline for my academic career - my "get out of academia free" card, if you will. So that means I need to wrap up my work before then. But, I'm finding it hard to concentrate on working on any of my projects, and I find myself wasting time at work by surfing the net, reading blogs, and finding other new, exciting (or not-so-exciting) ways to procrastinate.

I know I just need to deal with it, get to work, and get this stuff done. After all - it's only 3 more months, and then I'm free!!

So, what would I like to accomplish before November 15th?

1. Get that frickin' masters paper submitted, and hopefully accepted for publication.
This one is out of my hands right now. I sent the most recent draft to my MSc supervisor at the end of June and am waiting to hear back. Just FYI - it's been 5 years since I handed over my first draft of this paper.

2. Get a good start on my new post-doc project so that it doesn't die when I leave.
This includes documenting what I'm doing so I can hand over the stuff to whoever will be working on the project next.

3. Write up how-to packages for earthquake outreach material
When I first started this post-doc, I was given the task to buy a bunch of earthquake-related supplies to create hands-on activities. I need to write up how to use these materials so they just don't sit in a box somewhere, collecting dust.

4. Finish up a lit-search for post-doc
Another smallish project I was given was to do a lit-search on a certain topic, write up a summary, and include abstracts/links to pertinent papers. I got a really good start on this, then it just died.

5. Education conference duties
I really need to start and finish finding papers by Canadians who have done research on education at the post-secondary level in Physics and Astronomy. This work will be presented at a conference next summer, and then will be put into a paper after that. I'm also on the organizing committee for this conference, so I need to make sure someone else can take over my duties while I'm on leave.

6. Astronomy outreach
I have two events still to come - another open house on August 21st, and then another event on September 18th. I also need to decide what grants to apply to, if any, this year for the observatory outreach program, and I need to figure out what's going to happen with the program while I'm on leave. Finally, I hope to secure an outreach position for when I come back.

7. Post-doc association stuff
I am a member of the executive for the post-doc association on campus. In all honesty, I haven't done much, but I do want to make sure someone is able to take my place once I leave (or before).

That seems like a hell of a lot of crap to do in three months. So, why can't I motivate myself to do any of it (except the outreach stuff, which is fun....and which I don't get paid for :P)? Is it because the amount of stuff is overwhelming? Is it because I'd rather focus on preparing for Baby G's arrival? Is it because it's summer? A combination?