Original Intention: "spend (at least) a few hours each week on this [independent project] and...make some sort of schedule for working...most nights after B is asleep and chores are done. "
I was about to give this an F on career; in the past 3 weeks I've received an unfundable score on my latest grant proposal and had a paper outright rejected. But those setbacks are 1) part and parcel of the whole academic research game and 2) not entirely within my control. Plus, as written above, my original intention was quite specific and unrelated.
So how did I do? I did take one of my ideas a bit further---literature review, preliminary study design, meeting with experts in that area...and that's where it halted, because the feedback I got from THE expert in the type of studies I wanted to do was...discouraging. Basically I was told that I had no preliminary data to support such a high-risk project (this is true); I was then offered an opportunity to collaborate in a small way on an ongoing project in order to potentially gather some supporting data. This is in the works and may or may not happen (I haven't heard anything in a while). I count it a measured success, since I did make the effort of reaching out & trying to make it happen, and if nothing else, I am on the radar of the leaders in the field & they've marked me as the go-to person for any "X"-related studies they may consider in their larger projects.
Lately I've been too bogged down in my ongoing projects to spend any more motivation or brain space on another pie-in-the-sky idea.
The second half of the intention? Working in the evenings? Abject failure. What making & trying to keep this intention taught me is that I simply do not WANT to spend "most every night" working. I can crank it out for a deadline, but as part of my daily routine? Its not sustainable. In my reading about successful women in any field, I got a sense that they all worked like crazy during the work day, rushed home to work the second shift with dinner, kids, and chores. Then as soon as the good-night kisses were given & the kitchen shining, they cracked open their laptops for the THIRD shift, working until they collapsed into bed, only to rouse themselves at 5am to do it again.
Where is the time for connecting with your spouse or friends? For any other hobbies or interests? Or for simply decompressing in front of the television once in a while. I simply cannot imagine living my life like this, and if that is a prerequisite for success, I'm out of the race.
I HAVE to believe their is another way and so I am changing my intention to try to add more productivity to my workday itself. I have few concrete ideas of how to do so, but will aim for a general strategy of wasting less time on "work" (checking email & responding to non-urgent issues as if they were urgent issues) and more time on WORK that will actually help advance my career. I like the idea of doing an important task first thing in the morning, before checking email & also listing out the "three major tasks" that I need to complete each day. I will make my comprehensive to-do list with "actionable" items so that when I finish one thing, I can quickly move to the next without my usual "filler" activity of email-checking/web-browsing. Reading/blogging ONLY while pumping (because its really hard for me to focus on work).
Let's see if I can work smarter, so that I don't have to work harder.