How do you find the time to do all of this?

Last of nine posts based on my webinar for Georgia State University's CIBER - Interview by Tamer Cavusgil

Yes, that's a question I often get šŸ˜Š. First, as I mentioned in my top-3 career tips, don't compare yourself to others. Don’t forget that what you currently see on my website has been built up over 25 years.

Anything worthwhile that we do in our professions is the product of sustained cumulative actions, not a here today, gone tomorrow flashy initiative. It is all about being proactive but also about being persistent, and building up resilience and realism (see also: Be proactive, resilient & realistic!).

Also, much of my website was built over the past 8-9 years in the context of my function as Staff Development Lead and Research Mentor at Middlesex University. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I had a heavy teaching load or heavy administrative role as I had in my previous employment at the University of Melbourne as PhD director and Associate Dean Research.

Create synergy: never do something for a reason

Second, this is all about synergy. My motto is to never do something for a reason, but to do it for at least three reasons. That means I consciously decide to spend a bit more time to do something properly and then be able to use it for multiple purposes.

For the webinar that this post is based on for instance, I thought carefully about what I wanted to say and made sure that each chunk of it could be edited into a separate short video. I wrote out my key ideas and then used these to create blogposts with embedded videos. I have done this before with some of the other interviews I have done:

These videos blogposts can then be shared with colleagues and other academics contacting me with questions, but also for myself as evidence for performance appraisals and applications for academic awards.

Find something you enjoy doing

Finally, it is much easier to find time for things you enjoy doing as the line between work and hobby starts to blur. During the pandemic I discovered I loved video-editing. I also thoroughly enjoy writing blogposts. As an academic our publishing efforts take forever, it is very satisfying to be able to write something in an afternoon and see that it has a direct impact on so many people.

Coming back to the topic of this webinar - providing resources to others - this something you can do too! They could be resources that you have collected anyway as part of your PhD or a particular research project. It could equally be a set of useful teaching resources. The key is that rather than keeping them to yourself, you could make them available to others.

You are likely to find that this act of generosity also helps you. It acts a bit like a manifesto saying “this is what I am interested in”. It builds up your unique profile as an academic. It also draws people to you, and you find you will expand your network because of it. But you do have to give to receive. And if we all do that, we can collectively make academia a much nicer place to work in. 

Other posts in this series

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