This month included 2 weeks of half-term for the kiddo. Since we did not use camps, and there were limited opportunities to meet friends, this created some challenges. So, it’s a good thing that the month started well (as far as productivity is concerned). Time blocks worked well for me, as did weekly and daily planning. I was also lucky that the kiddo wasn’t asked to self-isolate, and that school remained open throughout the first half of the month.
During half-term, I set up my alarm clock early, to get as much work done as possible before the rest of the household woke up. Usually, that gave me about 3 solid hours of focused work time, before the distractions started. Feeling like I had had a good chunk of work done also helped keep my stress levels in check, and reduce my frustration. And enabled me to enjoy some lovely walks and chats with the kiddo.
This month, I have been teaching Services Marketing to undergraduate students on the last year of their degrees. Technology has been challenging at times. On one of the days my internet upload speed barely reached 2 Mbps!!! That was really, really, really stressful. The other challenge of online teaching is that it is really hard to judge how quickly to proceed without seeing the students’ faces. I also delivered the final workshop in the online doctoral bootcamp, with Mark Carrigan, and got excellent feedback. The Masters students submitted their dissertations at the start of the month. So, this month, also included reading and marking numerous manuscripts.
On the writing front, one of my papers was accepted and published. It’s about the potential and limitations of using machine learning in crime detection, and you can read an overview here. I also worked on revisions for two other papers, and submitted one of them. And I made good progress on another paper related to Covid-19, which is now with my co-author. Furthermore, I wrote a white paper for an educational technology company.
As far as research is concerned, I interviewed research assistants for two new projects, and sorted out the contract for one of them. I am now working on the data collection instruments for those two projects. Exciting! I also participated in the virtual open day for the Institute of Digital Futures. Regretfully, I did not apply for a research grant that I had my eye on.
On the administrative front, I completed the paperwork related to my colleagues’ performance reviews, and I am now knee deep in data entering mode related to the division’s workload. There was also recruiting and training (namely, for online teaching support). And the general balancing of day to day tasks with planning ahead.
On the personal front, I joined the LSE alumni book club. The first book is “Happy Ever After”, which I am enjoying. Not enjoying reading it on my phone, though. I have also been making a point of attending Brunel’s lunchtime concerts. It’s a really nice moment of my week. It’s online, free and open to all. If you can, join is on Fridays, 13h10m. I also went buying for a scholars’ gown for the teen (this is a particular type of gown worn by University of Oxford students who have been awarded scholarships based on their academic performance in the previous academic year). I am so proud of her, and so happy for her.
As I write this post, the government has just announced another national lockdown in England. It’s very sad, and somehow scary. If you suspect that you had Covid-19, can I encourage you to consider donating plasma? It’s a small thing that we can all do to help the effort to save lives (in addition to using face masks, of course!).
As before, I am keen to help. Let me know what I can do to make your days a little bit better or easier? I have been advising a number of small businesses. Can I help yours, too? Or can I help you digest a piece of research? Or maybe just lend you a friendly ear? Stay safe, and continue to look after your fellow human beings.