Post Academic

Now There’s No Excuse for Not Making Checklists

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on September 24, 2010
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If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m obsessed with checklists, and a good job-application checklist might help save your sanity as you go on the academic job hunt. So I went on a hunt for a checklist-generating program. So I typed “checklist generator” into Google, and voila! There was

If you want a paper checklist, look no further than, created by Adam Pash at Lifehacker. It’s faster to print it out than to hand-write the checklist, and a sign-in isn’t required.

Sure, creating a checklist and drawing little boxes on a piece of paper or buying a checkbox notepad is easy. But the easier it is to make a checklist, the more likely it is that you’ll get in the habit of making them.

A little fun fact–I ran a search for “checklist” and “academia,” along with “checklist” and “professor,” wondering how academics handled checklists. Here are two that might help a few of you, even though school has already started:

Your 10-Point Checklist Before Sending Off That Manuscript (by a biology prof, but there’s no reason you can’t modify it for a humanities publication) I’m a fan of “Replace long words with short words.”
Creating a Checklist for the Semester (from ProfHacker) This one reminds you to get your office snacks now because you’ll be sad if you don’t.

… and for aspiring Post Academics, I have a special one on career changing:

Checklist for Career Change This article is a little old, but it does help you get in the mental and physical shape needed to make a move.

Alas, I didn’t see as many checklists as I hoped. Have any of you used checklists to prepare for your job applications?

Hoarders, Academic Edition: Lessons From Tim Gunn. Yes, That Tim Gunn.

Posted in Surviving Grad School by Caroline Roberts on April 6, 2010
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Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionLeaving grad school or looking for a fresh start? Trying to suppress those hoarding instincts so vividly described by Arnold? You’ll feel even more liberated if you can figure out what is most important to you and get rid of the extra books that have been crowding you out of house and home.

A few tips from fashion mentor Tim Gunn can help with your spring cleaning. Gunn hosted a show called “Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style,” in which he helped women clean out their closets and choose what items to keep, toss, or donate. The same rules can apply if you are having trouble parting with a few books.

Keep: This is the fun part. Set aside plenty of time to go through your books, and choose the books that either mean a lot to you or the books that you think you’ll need for later. Let your sentimental flag fly.

Toss: Most of your books probably ended up in the “Keep” pile, didn’t they? Now it’s time to stop being sentimental. Try to part ways with half the books you initially want to keep. Hang on to first editions, autographed copies, “milestone” books, or books you know you will read later. (This is different from books you think you will read later.) Spending a lot of money on a book is not a good reason to keep it if you’re not going to use it, even if it is a Routledge book with a foxy cover.

Donate or Sell:
If you’re the donating type, your local library may want your books for a book sale. You could also announce a book yard sale on your friendly department listserv. But, if you want to make some bread off this endeavor, go no further than The Powell’s Web site features an interface that lets you input a book’s ISBN number. Once you input the number or a set of numbers, Powell’s will tell you a) if they want your book or not or b) how much they are willing to pay for your book if they want it. You print out a mailing label, they pay for shipping, and the money goes into your PayPal account. The process at Powell’s is much, much easier than what you will find at eBay and Amazon Marketplace. No excuses!

Even if you don’t plan on leaving grad school or academia, sorting through your books on a yearly basis can keep you organized, and being organized is always a time-saver.

Listen to Tim Gunn! Photo by Jennifer Boyer posted under a Creative Commons license, from Wikimedia Commons.