Happy New Year!
End-of-year posts tend to be focused on reflections on the past year - now it is time to look forward and make some resolutions. From a personal perspective, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ll try to floss my teeth, exercise, and eat my veggies. However, I will forget about these or feel guilty and annoyed by the time February hits. I wonder if perhaps I can stick to my professional resolutions? Will it help if I wrote a post about these and make them very public? Why not give it a try
… here are six resolutions:
1. Keep blogging. I think this will be an easy one to keep – I achieved 75 posts last year and I’ll work to equal or better that. I’m motivated to write more posts: it’s fun, and provides immense value. I thought that perhaps blogging would get tiresome and I would run out of ideas. This is not the case. I have a lot of ideas, and will soon write about spider parasitoids (including this one), share some videos related to field work from last summer, discuss the pros and cons of comprehensive exams in PhD programs, and discuss uses of technology in teaching (or not…back to chalk?). I’ll also work to follow good advice for writing science posts.
2. Finish the Opiliones Project. For new followers, this was a project that uses twitter to share the information from a fabulous (but expensive) textbook about Harvestmen – fascinating cousins of spiders. The project is about 3/4 of the way finished. I will do my best to find a bit of time to wrap this up, archive it, and write a summary post… before winter’s end!
3. Back to the Microscope. It’s seldom I can find the time to use that magical tool – you know, that thing that you look into and it makes stuff big? I really am going to try to rediscover my love of Arachnid taxonomy. I’m thinking of starting with jumping spiders, and would like to work on a larger project about the local jumping spider fauna.
4. Manuscripts! Quite a few of my graduate students will be finishing up this year – the Northern Biodiversity Program is coming to a close, and I hope to get manuscripts submitted for publication. The work is very exciting, and that project has really been a catalyst of change – and the bulk of my research next year will have an Arctic focus. However, I don’t feel a project is fully completed until all the manuscripts are submitted.
5. Get control of email. I must be honest: this is the resolution that will be really tough to keep. E-mail is just so overwhelming, and I do a poor job of organizing it. Typically I don’t delete anything, wait a few month and dump everything into an archive folder and rely on my email search function (or my memory – yikes!) to find things. That system is not efficient and I frequently miss important tasks due to my lack of control over email. I will try be more efficient, and hopefully more productive, by clearing and deleting unnecessary e-mail clutter daily (yeah, right.) –>Does anyone have good suggestions for managing e-mail??
6. Become a (better) birder. This resolution reflects the fact that the line between my professional life and my personal life is pretty blurry. I wish to be more knowledgable about birds because they are part of earth’s rich fabric that we call biodiversity and my research interests are about biodiversity. I also think that birds are lovely and fun to watch. Every year I try to be a better birder but it seems to fizzle out my mid-year. This year will be different because I will give myself a goal. I am quite obsessed with list-making, and by tracking all the bird species I see in a year provides me an opportunity to make another list, and will hopefully help me become a better birder. Want to join the fun? With twitter, use the hashtag #2013Birds. I think I will also experiment with i-naturalist to track the species count. So far this year? Blue jays,
Chipping sparrows American tree sparrow, Black-eyed Juncos, American crows, and black-capped Chickadees (most of these in my own backyard).
Wish me luck! (I’ll keep you posted about successes and failures!)