The beginning of a busy spring semester is a great place to start with the first mistake many new faculty make: assuming that the time management and writing strategies that worked for you as a graduate student will continue to be effective in your new role as a faculty member. The problem with this approach is that the workload, responsibilities, and pressures you had as a graduate student are different than what you are now facing on the tenure-track. That sounds pretty obvious, and yet I regularly meet new faculty members who don’t own a calendar, are trying to keep everything they need to do in their head, have no concrete research plan, and whose entire writing strategy consists of hoping for a large block of time to materialize so they can go on a multi-day writing binge.
While this may have worked in graduate school, large blocks of uninterrupted time are unusual for new faculty who more often find themselves scrambling to prepare new classes, attend departmental events and committee meetings, manage graduate and/or undergraduate RA’s and TA’s, settle in to a new community, and make a positive impression on their colleagues. Let’s be clear — “junior” faculty members are expected to participate, perform, AND be productive, but without a proactive strategy for research and writing, productivity is often the first thing that suffers.
Take a look!