I realized this morning that I had no meetings scheduled for today. HOORAY!!! In addition, my department (recently renamed a School) is all in an uproar because our academic advisory council is arriving tomorrow, and our open house to the university is Friday. So I decided that I could take the day at home to catch up on all the email I've been
ignoring avoiding unable to get to recently. Here's a sampling of my inbox (currently at 400 messages):
- umpteen million tables-of-contents for journals I want to read but don't have time to. I try and scroll through the email TOCs when they arrive, but as I can't click on the link and download the article, instead have to go through the library, I don't usually get the full article.
- a few emails from people on collaborations - one from someone I went to graduate school with who is wanting to explore some gender issues in her university's engineering program, another from someone who included me on a panel for the 2008 FIE conference, another from another person who included me on a panel for the 2008 NWSA conference;
- emails from contractors who want to know if I've made up my mind about who I want to install our geothermal furnace at our new house (I don't know! I don't know! Do I go with the contractor who can do a horizontal loop because it's cheaper but has only fully installed 4 other systems, or the one who has done more systems but wants to do a vertical loop which will be 60% more?)
- emails about faculty candidate visits and potential grad student visits - schedules, reimbursements, advertising, how to make them feel welcome, etc.
- an email from ScienceWoman about our potential name change and the blogging schedule for the week (sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet, SW, I'm working on it! And to the rest of you, we're still taking ideas!)
- emails about conference submissions, and how the submission website isn't working
- registration invitations for various workshops, including IRB and CAREER writing;
- a reminder that I said I would set up some kind of engineering education online community (have started a page on Facebook, also a blog space on Wordpress, but I haven't decided what to do with them yet);
- some emails about a going-away party this weekend for some postdoc friends in the department;
- some emails about rescheduling a visit to Ohio State to learn about their first year engineering program (we were supposed to go last week, but the weather turned dicey)
- emails regarding a committee I'm on to redesign our first year engineering program (separate from the OSU trip)
- a bunch of emails regarding graduate student recruiting - I'm trying to organize a couple of trips to my alma mater and some other places, we're trying to develop publicity materials, we hosted a student last weekend and people need to be thanked, and we need to find funding to do everything;
- some new CFPs for grants, and some calls for applications for faculty positions, REUs, and similar;
- a bunch of political emails from friends and even colleagues;
- a series of emails from a writing group I belong to about when we will next meet
- a few encouraging emails from my husband, family and friends, and the occasional Google group.
There's more, but I'll spare you. You'll note I have no teaching-related emails in there - that's because I'm not teaching this semester. You'll also note there are few emails in there about my current research work - I have got one paper all set to go, just have to write the cover letter, and two more that need more work on them, but are in the hopper. The thing I haven't worked out yet is how to start some new projects. These are what my afternoon will be about. The nice thing is I can still do all this at home. :-)
Oh shoot, more email just came in. I'm up to 402 still to sort. Augh...
Take a break and check this one out: "Dancing your PhD"
Oh how I can relate. I actually have the afternoon free of classes and meetings - but I am using the time to scout field sites and learn to use some new equipment before Thursday's lab. So I better get back to it.
Let us know if you make it through all 402.
You might consider getting TOC/Pubmedsearches through a RSS feed. Then you can use tags to flag interesting things for later rather than having things pile up so much. It's sped me up anyway.
Do you have my inbox? Seriously, this sounds all too familiar. Especially the tables of content of articles I will never get around to reading. Actually the library I belong to don't even have access to most of my relevant literature, so I catch up on old tables of content every few months via other peoples passwords to other libraries. I don't read many of the papers anyway, because I have no time, so maybe it doesn't matter after all.
I use gmail to send TOCs straight to a dedicated folder, imagining that seeing the number of unread mails in there would guilt me into action. Plus, it would keep my inbox down to a manageable size. As a result: inbox, 33 and do-able. TOCs folder: 138 and no comment.
That was my day yesterday! I got down to 7 in my in box and 12 in my home file. My new rule is if it's not urgent work and I don't feel like reading it now, then it gets deleted becase I am fantasizing when I think I'll have more time later. So CFPs, TOCs, listerves etc... it's now or never.
I would think that the vertical loop geothermal unit is probably an open loop system. Those aren't bad as long as you aren't too worried about the water table dropping below the inlet and outlet pipes.
My company doesn't do a whole lot of business in IL, but if you would like, I could see if any of the contractors that we do business with do geothermal unit installs.
Sara, I LOVED your link. And sent it to our grad students.
hypatia code: I do get some of my more useful journals as RSS feeds. But some publishers don't have them, and some don't work with my Google Reader. And some I haven't had the time (or, to be honest, prioritizing) to follow up. But yes they are a better idea.
saxifraga, in fact, yes, I do have your inbox. ;-)
BGT - thanks to the tip. The vertical is a close loop system. Thanks for the offer though - I ended up 'fessing up to the top runner in my contractor pile, and he's offering to bring the loop guy out again to verify one more time. I think he's going to be a keeper for all the work he's put into the quote.
Academic vixen and all - I made it down to below 100 in my inbox and 20some in my outbox. Now I'm back to 176 in the inbox (only 56 in the outbox). Few enough to keep me from freaking out for a few more days until I have to do it all over again.