Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekend Reading: The Catching Up Edition

I have a new scheduling rule to add to my existing "don't schedule major work deadlines during the last two weeks of school" rule: Always take a few days off at the holidays. I didn't do that in 2015, and I am still struggling to climb out of the hole that dug.

One of the more ironic parts of my last few weeks has been that in the midst of feeling overwhelmed and incredibly behind on everything, I was preparing to give a time management workshop. Granted, one of the messages in that workshop is that you can never be "perfect" at managing time, that there will be periods when things are out of whack, and the trick is learning to recognize what sort of out of whack things are and take the right steps to fix it. Still, it was a bit strange to be preparing for that during a period when I myself was out of whack.

The workshop was yesterday, and went well (I thought), so that is one thing off the list of things putting me out of whack. Now, if I can just catch up on my schedule for assembling my next book and answer all of the emails with books to review that have accumulated at my Tungsten Hippo account, all will be well again. I made some solid progress today, but I also gave myself an hour to sit in my comfy office chair and read and time for a nice walk. It is not a full repayment of the time I've borrowed over the last month or so, but it is at least a payment to keep the interest from compounding until I can have a proper break.

I have plans to turn the time management workshop into a seminar I can deliver online. My original plan was to create an excerpt that can be given as one of my $20, one hour seminars. Now I'm wondering if I should instead try to figure out how to do a proper workshop online and offer the full thing. I'm going to let that dilemma percolate for a bit, because I don't have time right now to do either thing.

Anyway, enough of that. Let's get to the links. I have some catching up to do there, too, so not all of these are things from this week.

There is some very tragic news from the drug discovery world this week: there has been a horrible accident in a phase 1 clinical trial in France. Phase 1 trials are done on healthy volunteers, to assess safety. To have an incident like this is horrifying. It is a sobering reminder that drug development is full of all sorts of risks. I won't say more until we know the details, but I'll be watching this story.

I found this essay from Bryn Greenwood, a career secretary really interesting and insightful.

This story about a biotech cocktail party in Boston, on the other hand, is just infuriating. Dear men: please don't talk about women as "females" in the way that Andrew McDonald does. "Adding in some females" sounds like something a Ferengi would say.

Want to be a feminist man? In addition to not saying that you're going to "add in some females" you can also pick up a mop. (Hat tip to Bad Mom, Good Mom for this article and the one Bryn Greenwood.)

This book, referenced in the Guardian article above, looks interesting: Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?

It looks like a new editionis coming out later this year.

This is a beautiful post from Tenure, She Wrote. I've been thinking a lot lately about the toll bias takes on those who experience it, and more broadly, the toll the ultra-competitive culture we've built takes on all of us who live in it. Can we find our way to something healthier? I don't know. I know I want to try. Trying to help build that healthier culture is part of my motivation for giving time management workshops and project management seminars. It is part of why I write about management. There will always be a competitive aspect to life, I suspect, and there will always be some struggle. But work doesn't have to be as crappy as we've made it. I really, truly believe that.

Maybe someday I'll get my thoughts organized enough to write about that.

For now, let's end with an xkcd cartoon that really amused me and my favorite picture from the slides I put together for the time management workshop.

Image from wikipedia.

Happy weekend, everyone!


  1. I'm so tired from swimming against the tide--nay tsunami--of bias. It's invisible to those who benefit from it, but it takes a willful blindness not to see it.

    For Monday, I'm going to write another piece about deadly bias for MLK day. Like last year.

  2. Wow, that's terrible about the Phase I clinical trial in France. I used to do cell culture process development to make Phase I clinical supplies, and I would be devastated if something that I worked on had such an adverse effect. I hope that they can figure out what caused it.


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