The Busy Professor Guidebook- Now On Sale!!!

It’s finally here, THE BUSY PROFESSOR’s book is now available for purchase on Amazon….check out:  https://amzn.to/2pQ7l9d 

 

Busy Professor Book Cover Faculty are busy—busier than ever. No matter what your institutions’ size, focus, or location, there is simply more to be done every day than can be.  There are students to be taught, papers and reports to be written, and meeting and service commitments to attend to.  All of this while you are supposed to be innovatively creative and lead a balanced reflective and supportive personal life.


If you are going to get out of the whirlwind and be more productive at work while successfully maintaining a healthy home life, you need some tried and true time management strategies that actually work for successful professors.  With the right mindset and a tuned toolbox of time saving techniques, you can successfully manage your email, get more writing done, innovate in the classroom, be more responsive to students, be prepared and on time for meetings, and  enjoy the intellectual lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.


 

If you’d like to schedule The Busy Professor to come speak to your group, please contact us on the web at TheBusyProfessor.com or via email at TheBusyProfessor@CAPERteam.com

Do Busy Professors Post on Social Media?

pexels-photo-267350.jpegPersonally, I am torn about the importance social media should play in your professional life.  I am not torn, however, about the role of social media in our personal life.  There is absolutely no place for social media in a Busy Professor‘s personal life.  The tiny bit of good out there, like seeing updated pictures of your grandchildren, is far overshadowed by the negative aurora consuming social media.  Scholarly work by Martin Seligman and others shows that people feel depressed after looking at social media either because they see happy people who seem happier than they themselves are or they see unhappy people and unnecessarily feel empathy for them.  The rapidly growing research base on happiness is rather clear.  Happiness comes from ongoing relationships, extended engagement in projects, and meaningful purpose that comes from serving causes bigger than ourselves—and absolutely none of this happens in the cesspool of social media.

Professionally, there are perhaps some benefits to being on social media, mostly in the realm of self-promotion.  We haven’t talked about self-promotion much here because academics generally shun self-promotion, even though academics seem to engage in the practice frequently.  There is a mythical illusion that academia is a meritocracy, and that the people doing the best work should automatically rise to the top of notoriety.  The pathway that this false narrative recommends is for professors to downplay, or even loudly mention, one’s professional successes.  This make-believe storyline is complete baloney as nothing could be farther from the truth.  Busy Professors strive to do good work, and they do not hide that good work from their colleagues, even though jealousy is certainly to arise in the most surprising of corners.  Social media is one way that Busy Professors should distribute the results of their work, because you won’t be invited to give conference lectures or be nominated for academic awards if people do not know of your work and having at least some online presence is required these days for this to occur.

So how does a Busy Professor utilize social media to self-promote one’s good works, without getting sucked into the vortex of the worst of social media?  If you are self-disciplined, one solution is to post and schedule future posts without actually reading anyone else’s social media posts.  If you are still building up your self-discipline, then the best solution is to quickly search the Internet for “simultaneous posting to social media at once” and you will be presented with a number of web-based programs that will simultaneously post or post items as scheduled for you.  For example, I work with a team that distributes a quarterly email newsletter of upcoming events and opportunities for academics.  My task on the team is to take those newsletter items and be sure that one gets inserted into the social media stream each week, so that people visiting the group’s Facebook page sees what looks like an active online presence.  It takes about 30-minutes to set up three the next three months of scheduled postings and our group is able to be seemingly present in social media, without any one of us personally getting sucked into that inescapable social media black hole. The same goes for blogging where academics can temporarily post their budding academic ideas and get interactive feedback faster than from a traditional journal, which only works if blogging is a temporary tool to advance one’s intellectual thinking.  Blogging is never the core focus activity of Busy Professors’ and certainly never the end-product.

tumblr_m9wj21hX9M1rpzsjl            This approach of scheduling automated social media posting has the additional benefit of keeping Busy Professors out of the rapid response mistake.  Far too many of my busy professor colleagues who are too busy reading and posting and reading and replying and reading and posting again to publish anything because they have become inflamed about an issue of the moment, brought to their attention by the tsunami or the 24-hour news cycle news-alerts.  Remember that no matter how eloquent a social media response is, no one ever has their political mind fundamentally changed because of what they read posted on social media.  Social media is specially designed to be a den of confirmation bias that serves only to construct easily identifiable, large-scale commercial demographic markets. Because they know this, Busy Professors keep their focus on the production of archival level scholarship instead of engaging in quickly evaporating 240-character social media spars or buried, rarely read, blog posts.

How Busy Professors Manage to Publish More

Tim Slater, University of Wyoming, TheBusyProfessor@CAPERteam.com

Almost all of us benefit professionally from successful writing projects.  Unquestionably, if you want to up your credibility and visibility in the academic community, writing is the fastest way to do this.  Whether right or wrong, professors who have more words in print are afforded more credibility than those professors who write less.  Prolific authors are more often those who are solicited to serve on the most productive committees, highest profile national task forces, field-shaping federal agency grant proposal review boards, and for influential professional society leadership positions.  And, what is perhaps more surprising, is that the number of words you get in print is largely a personal decision: Those who intentionally decide to publish more end up publishing more than those who decide not to publish, but go to endless committee meetings instead.

One might mistakenly think that the only writing goals professors should have are to be first-authors on articles in top tier, peer-reviewed, highly-cited journals.  Such is a good goal, for sure, but there are so many other venues where professors’ writings can have abundant influence, perhaps even greater readership numbers than that of a top journal.

I am not at all suggesting that you don’t need top-tier journal articles to advance professionally; however, we sometimes we forget how rarely those articles get read compared to other types of writing.  Moreover, getting an article in a top tier journal means fighting through an editorial wall where less than 10% of everything submitted is published and, even if successful, waiting 18-months or more to see your work in print.  To be abundantly clear, professor need some long, hard won top-tier traditional publications in the CV, but that’s really just not enough to achieve national visibility that comes from frequently having your name in print as a by-line.

Places Prolific Professors Publish

  • Top-tier, peer reviewed journals
  • 2nd-tier, peer reviewed journals
  • Books and book chapters
  • Professional conference proceedings
  • Newsletter contributions for professional societies and organizations
  • Newspaper columns
  • University alumni magazines
  • Magazine articles not intended for your professional peers, but for the public
  • Textbooks potentially read by thousands of college students, and their professors
  • And, of course, Internet web-blogs

maximise-publications-impact1Increasing your publication footprint is embarrassingly simple. The number one stumbling block that prevents professors from publishing more is simply this:  Most publishing efforts have no predetermined deadlines and, as a result, most professors do not find time to publish.  If you want to publish more, then you must (1) decide that your want to publish and (2) allocate time to do it.   Publishing more is, of course, simple in the same way that losing weight is simple—one loses weight when one eats fewer calories.  In both cases, you have to decide it is important and make a commitment to a plan to do it.

Most professors are surprised how little time it actually takes to be a widely published author.  An hour a day totaling about four hours a week is a great place to start.  What does not work is binge writing. Nope, never, neh-eh.  No prolific author waits until they feel like it (no one ever feels like getting on a treadmill either) to write.  No prolific authors wait until they have a three- or four-day weekend to write, or even a three- or four-hour block of undisturbed time.  Those time blocks never really materialize.  So forget about that excuse of needing an undisturbed time block right now because it just isn’t going to happen.

sleeplateMost people think they are “not a morning person” but it turns out that the most productive writers do in the morning.  Mornings seem to work best because one’s mind is clearer after sleeping and waiting until later in the day seems to fill one’s brain with the whirlwind debris left over from daily life.  I try to write 500 words each day before I check my email – because as soon as I check my email, I’ve got some unexpected urgent to do item that will always derail my daily writing goal.

Some professors worry that they really have nothing to write about.  As it turns out, when people start writing, their brains start generating new ideas to write about.  In other words, the more you sit down to write (even if you have to repeatedly type I have nothing to write about, I have nothing to write about), the more writing ideas will pop into your head spontaneously.  (In the time it has taken me to write this paragraph, I’ve had to stop twice just to write down new writing project ideas.)  Look at the table of ideas above and see if there is an easy place to start.

The most obvious place to find something to write about is your most recent conference presentations.  Every conference presentation is a great outline for writing a paper about.  Moreover, if you didn’t give any presentations in the past few years, think about other presentations you’ve heard, and write a well-cited “me too, I (dis)agree” piece.

If you are really stuck, walk down to a more senior professor’s office and say, “I’m stuck on the project I’m working on and need to let it soak for six months; do you have a languishing paper you are too busy for that I could adopt and co-write with you to get it out the door?”  Most of us have things sitting around that need a fresh pair of eyes to get unstuck, and this presents a great opportunity for you to get something new published.

downloadFor me, the best piece of advice I can offer to you this instant is to allocate an unbreakable appointment with yourself to start writing.  Professors often say that they cannot find time to write; but, professors find time to teach class every week, and do not break that appointment.  In the same way, you need an unbreakable appointment to write several times a week.  Now, go find your calendar and make that happen!

Interested in having TheBusyProfessor visit your institution?

Finding Time to Do It: New Lessons in Time Management for Busy Faculty

Timothy F. Slater, Ph.D. University of Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Professor of Science Education

Busy Professor Book CoverFaculty are busy—busier than ever. No matter what your institutions’ size, focus, or location, there is simply more to be done every day than can be. There are students to be taught, papers and reports to be written, and meeting and service commitments to attend to. All of this while you are supposed to be innovatively creative and lead a balanced reflective and supportive personal life. If you are going to get out of the whirlwind and be more productive at work while successfully maintaining a healthy home life, you need some tried and true time management strategies that actually work for busy professors. With the right mindset and a tuned toolbox of time saving techniques, you can successfully manage your email, get more writing done, innovate in the classroom, be more responsive to students, be prepared and on time for meetings, and still have a healthy home life.

About the Speaker: Dr. Tim Slater is an internationally respected scholar in science education. Formally trained as an astronomer, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Astronomy & Earth Sciences Education, has co-authored 14 books, has been awarded nearly $20 million dollars in grants, and has more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles. He is the University of Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair of Science Education and a Senior Scientist at the international CAPER Center for Astronomy & Physics Education Research. Known widely as the “Professor’s Professor” Dr. Slater has provided workshops on innovative teaching and successful career management to thousands of college professors worldwide. In order to figure out how to do all of this, he has developed exceptional skills in time management, and has just released his next book, The Busy Professor: New Lessons in Time Management for Busy Faculty, available on Amazon in print and Kindle.   Discounted group sales copies are available by contacting TheBusyProfessor@CaperTeam.com

<<if needed, high resolution images of the speaker are available online for download: https://caperteam.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/tim-celestial-sphere2-2009-scaled-1000.jpg >>

Contact Information:

Dr. Tim Slater, timslaterwyo@gmail.com, cell/txt: 520-975-1373

PPT for Experienced Physics Faculty Workshop in Minneapolis, July 25, 2014

Some of you requested copies of my most recent PPT slides from  The Busy Professor seminar given at University of Minnesota – American Association of Physics Teachers Workshop for Experienced (not old, but senior) Faculty Workshop on July 25, 2014. Because the files are too big to email, you can download them here….  time_management_AAPT-EFW_July2014

Here are some TryIts:

  • Prioritize your to-do list
  • Batch your email
  • Send email/texts less often
  • Schedule your tasks
  • Every Monday strategy
  • 20-second barrier
  • Use smart phone apps
  • Write everyday

Is it ok to drink beer while texting?

I have so many lessons to learn from my brothers and sisters in the Hawaiian islands, and many of them have to do with balancing what’s really important with time-management and productivity. To help drive this point home, the Kona Brewing Company has released a series of commercials highlighting the importance of priorities. I recommend setting your text message machine down for a few seconds and contemplating this ….

I’m thinking about this concept of “single-tasking” as compared to “multi-tasking” in the following way: If you are doing two things simultaneously, such as texting and drinking beer, or surfing the web and smoking a cigar, or kissing on your spouse while fumbling with the TV remote, does it naturally follow that you don’t value both? No, I don’t think so entirely. But, if you’re reading this while you are eating a sandwich, are you really noticing the subtle nuances of how wonderful that sandwich is? Or, are you putting enough noise into your life so that you don’t have to (or get to) really experience what you are doing in “the moment.”? I don’t have answers for this questions for sure – what I do know is that these Kanaka brothers do have the right idea about “happy hour”… I’ll leave you with this short commercial.

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Real-Time View of Gemini north near the summit of Maunakea