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Writing an End-of-The-Month Achievements Review: Making *everything* count

Everything Notebook 2021One of my biggest challenges as someone who is a Virgo, Type A, Upholder, is to avoid the pressure of wanting to Do All The Things. My time is limited, my physical energy is too. Often times, I also fall prey to the trap of devaluing my achievements. Yes, I read several drafts of my students’ theses, I met with them, I followed up on research projects through email and Telegram interactions, and yet I frequently feel like I have not done nearly enough. I believe this nagging feeling is a result in part of the Taylorist approach to academia: how many words have you written, how many pages have you drafted, how many publications have you gotten out, how many papers do you have under review? And even though I have publicly pushed against this Taylorism in academia I still feel like I need to prove that I’ve worked A LOT and done A LOT.

And yes, I know I’m the author and a big proponent of the Two Things A Day Strategy and the Granular Planning and Rules of Threes Paradigm that proposes to ONLY plan to do 3 things per day. I sometimes go against my own wise advice.

Post-It To Do and Weekly Plans

Enter the End-of-The-Month Achievements Review:

Often times, we don’t even realize how much we are contributing to scholarly life (to our discipline, our field, our colleagues and peers, our institution). Writing what you did over the course of the month reminds you of that (beyond surviving, which is a success in & of itself). To be perfectly clear: surviving is a success in and of itself and keeping yourself, your family alive and together is also a success. This approach intends to make visible all the invisibilized work that accompanies the work-from-home approach.

I sometimes don’t even realize all the things I’ve done until I do an End-of-the-Month Achievements Review. And yes, I DO include everything. Absolutely EVERYTHING. Meetings with students. Formal and informal mentoring. Service to the community, my field and my discipline(s). Doing an End-of-the-Month Achievements Review helps me realize stuff I have accomplished and I didn’t even register those.

I hope this post encourages everyone who reads my blog to do an End-of-the-Month Achievements Review all the time.


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