Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Like a normal adult... or something

So, I've been doing some thinking. Maybe it's time I tried treating this "grad school" thing like a job. 9-5 style. If I'm efficient I believe it'll give me enough time to get everything done (and if not, of course, adjustments will be made). I think most of my problem is lack of sustained focus, and telling myself I can just do it later. (Who doesn't face these challenges?)

Anyway for this coming semester, I am intending to try something new to me. I know other people have suggested it before (not least of all over at ProfHacker), but this are the guidelines I've drawn up for myself in a very rough draft.

I'm posting them here because some of you might find it interesting, but moreover, I want feedback-- what am I missing? Tips? Tricks? Thoughts?

Graduate School as a 9-5 Job

  • Get to the library no later than 9 or 9:15 every morning, or early morning classes on time.
  • Bring lunch almost every day. Now we have a fridge in Gilman. Bring water bottle/coffee mug. Good for the budget too. (I just bought the cutest bento box...)
  • Leave the library no later than 5 or 5:15.
  • Develop a system and stick to it to manage procrastination and off-task noodling.
  • Keep a comprehensive to-do list. Use springpad, add deadlines.
  • Keep a calendar.
  • Schedule in some break times.
  • Keep a timesheet? (Spreadsheet?)
  • Find a good place to work.
  • Keep tabs on work efficiently, Take notes.
  • Add readings and research materials to Zotero ASAP.
  • Find out which classes have papers and try to get them in/started before leaving at the end of the term.
  • Make sure notes will be helpful when you review them two years later (ahem).
  • turn off distractions while working. limit them to break time or evenings/weekends.

  • Keep netflix subscription. Actually watch things.
  • eat and cook real food
  • sleep on schedule and enough
  • have real weekends
  • go to New Haven, enjoy when AJ visits
  • watch football
  • papers done on time!?!
  • form good habits for comps/abd
  • drink with dinner!
Now your turn please. 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


So, since the project 365 ended, I've been relishing the freedom to not have to photograph and blog about every single day, especially with days as boring as I've been having recently. But at least for the moment, I'd like to blog about a few changes I made in my every day routine recently.

After reading this article by a friend from school, I decided to check out my household products here: I did not like what I found. The lack of regulations or labeling requirements on these products is perplexing. If I get to know what I eat, why can't I know what I put on my underarms every day? Or what I clean my kitchen counter with? Want to know more? Look here.

So, I decided it was time to experiment a little bit.

  • I've also gone "no 'poo", which I think sounds gross but it really isn't. I've been washing my hair just as much, but now with baking soda and water instead of shampoo that's full of untested chemicals, many of which are endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, carcinogens, or reproductive inhibitors. Scary stuff. 
  • For the same reasons, I decided to see what I could do about my deodorant. My old antiperspirants are full of aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, among other chemicals which do other un-fun things. So I am currently using a powder of 1 part baking soda to 6 parts cornstarch which has been working pretty well, and I'm going to experiment making my own stick deodorant with coconut oil. 
  • The plan is once I run out of my "organic" soap*, to switch to handmade soaps which use natural ingredients like olive oil instead of chemicals.
  • I've been using more vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice as household cleaners, and I've vowed not to buy any more normal bleaches or chemical cleaners. 
Now, this isn't just about being "green" or "organic" or "hippie" or anything else. It's a combination of not wanting to get myself exposed to more risk factors than I have to be, not wanting to contribute to the huge amount of processing and plastics that go into (and out of) these products, and even saving a little money by spending a minute or two more doing these things myself. Plus, when I can, I can keep putting money into the local economy, if say, I splurged on a bar of local handmade soap at the farmer's market. 

I'm also not going to give up on some things. I like laundry detergent, for example. But can I choose more efficient laundry detergent, which works well in cold water and comes in a recycled bottle? When I can, I will. 

Anyway, I thought I'd share those thoughts with you. Doing something similar? Think I'm right? Think I'm wrong? Want to know how it's going? Let me know! 

*Because of the lack of regulation for personal care products, companies are allowed to use words like "organic" and "natural" without actually meeting any standards for the product or labeling the package with the ingredients inside.