I have mentioned previously that I keep a log of how I spend my time. When I was doing my PhD the interesting question was what percentage of my time was spent on “uni work”, and how was I spending the rest of my time? That way I could look at the graphs and easily decide what I should change if I wasn’t happy with my progress. I have maintained those logs since finishing that degree, and even made use of the data when applying for my visa to move to Sweden—the abrupt increase in the amount of time spent doing “social” activities when I met my partner was part of the documentation that we really do have a relationship with one another.
However, comparing “uni work” to all of the other aspects of my life is not the full story. This morning I was struck with the inspiration that I should also track what sorts of “uni work” I am doing. Since it has only been one month since I started my new job it seemed like a good time to set up the spreadsheet to calculate that, too. I have created five broad categories into which all of my “uni work” tasks fit. I then compared the data in my descriptive log of what tasks I accomplish each day (e.g. “revised figure 2.5 to show____”, or “received a copy of my hire paperwork from HR and filed in in folder ____”) with my numeric log showing how many hours in each day were spent on uni work, and have estimated the split for each day since this job began. In addition, I also calculated my time for most of October, since I did my job interview, began reading the literature my boss gave me as background reading for this project then, and attended two different short courses during that month.
Setting up the spread sheet and doing those estimates took all morning, but since that was 58 days’ worth of data that means that I spent less than 4 minutes a day on this project. Now that the spreadsheet is set up it should be even easier to keep it up to date by entering in the new data, and I think that I can easily spare 4 minutes a day for the return of seeing the distribution of how I am spending my time. This will be particularly useful as my boss told me that the teaching component of my work should only be 10 to 20% of my time, and this way I will know if I am falling under, meeting or exceeding this target.
* Learn: reading literature, attending courses, attending conferences, talks, and seminars, studying Swedish, etc.
* Teach: teaching classes, teaching prep, meetings about teaching, etc.
* Admin: administrative tasks, filing, computer maintenance issues (install programs and hardware, backup, etc.), paperwork, work-related travel, funding applications, updating logs, cleaning/organizing the office, meetings on any of these sorts of topics, etc.
* Netwk: networking, updating resume, updating LinkedIn and Academia.edu, interviews, public outreach, job applications (when this contract draws to a close), etc.
38.9% research (10.5% this job, 20.5% last job, and 7.9% PhD research)
25.1% research (6.8% this job, 13.2% last job, and 5.1% PhD research)