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My 2014 manifesto: Peace and balance

2012 and 2013 were great for my research in that I got to create new datasets, explore new field sites, undertake new fieldwork, and write, write, and do even more writing. The second part of the semester, though, was simply insane. I travelled to 9 countries, presented papers in Ireland, Uruguay, Portugal, Canada, the United States and of course Mexico (i.e. attended conferences or workshops in 6 countries), and taught one undergraduate course. This contributed to a deteriorated health state and an unhealthy situation where I ended the year (and started 2014) sick.

There were a number of great gains. I have not actually summarized what I accomplished in 2013 (even though I actually submitted an annual research report, but I can recall that I wrote my accomplishments on Twitter (my best note-taking device). From what I read there, I realize that I wrote (from scratch) five journal articles, 5 conference papers, got one journal article published, 2 journal article and 2 book chapters accepted and in press for 2014. I am supervising two PhD students, 1 undergraduate and will start with a postdoctoral researcher in 2014.

I have been struggling with finding the right balance. I have not been alone in the process of finding the right amount of work, and self-care, however, and I am getting a lot of feedback and advice. Senior professors at CIDE, colleagues from universities all over the world, and my family and friend all have been extremely helpful and they’ve all suggested that I need to take better care of myself and stop travelling so much and working so hard. Thus I decided to start saying “NO”.

Saying NO to opportunities for additional writing, projects and collaborations means that I will be able to focus on what I think needs to be done, and having some time to research stuff that while not my main focus, I still find interesting. It’s always a challenge to balance between focus and diversification in academic life. I am hoping to work only Monday through Friday and not work on weekends or holidays, as it is often the norm in academia. I still plan to write on a daily basis, and from January through August, I will be focusing on spending the vast majority of my time on fieldwork and research and writing, as I will only have to teach one undergraduate course in the fall.

I am very disciplined with my weekly schedule, and I have built in self-care on a daily basis. My 2014 will mean staying within the boundaries of what I am physically capable of. My 2014, both academically and personally, will be seeking peace and balance.

Here’s to a great 2014!

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