Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in review

I never reviewed 2010 on my blog or posted goals for 2011, which I regret. I'm not going to make that mistake this year!

Although I didn't write it down, my biggest goal for 2011 was to finish my field work. CHECK! DONE! COMPLETE!

I presented at a big conference which resulted in useful connections and feedback.

I also managed to get two publications submitted in December, one of which has been in the works for 2+ years, and another that is just a short little thing.

2011 was a light blogging year (only 57 posts counting this one). When I fall out of the habit, I write less. I don't think it's much more complicated than that.

It has been a busy year. By my calculations, I've spent 2750 hours this year doing work, which I define as things I wouldn't be doing if this wasn't my career. That works out to an average of ~53 hours/week across 52 weeks of the year. I excluded my plane travel to and from Ukenzagapia because that adds dozens of hours. I think I had about 5 weeks worth of "vacation" where I wasn't working much if at all (a week in the spring, 2 in the summer, a week in the fall, and a week at Christmas). Spending 5.5 months this year in Ukenzagapia really pushed up those numbers since I work crazy 65-90 hour weeks in the field.

I keep track of how many hours I work for a few of reasons. When I'm in my office, logging my hours helps me keep track of when I'm really working and when I'm just reading crap on the internet or at the gym exercising. I aim to work 8 hours a day, 5 days per week when I'm not in the field or on vacation. In the field, I do it to help combat the feeling that I should be doing more. Finally, I figure there might be a handful of people out there interested in my quantification of this aspect of life as a scientist. I'm sure I've missed some things here and there, but I think it's a pretty good estimate of how much I'm working.

2011 has been a pretty good year. I'm halfway through my FIFTH year of grad school now! It's hard to believe. Thank you to all of you who are still reading my ruminations, and I hope 2012 brings more peace, love, and joy into your lives.


jaxzwolf said...

Actually, counting how many hours you work per week on average is very interesting, and informative. I should start doing this. Much of my time is taken up by classes right now, but I wonder what is acceptable/expected for hours per work week. I often forget that being on campus doesn't count if I'm surfing the internet, and being at home does if I'm working like a slave over problem sets and grant proposals.

Hm... good tip! I might just start counting hours of my own. Happy New Year!

Karina said...

I don't know any other grad students who do this, so I don't have anyone to compare to. I'd be curious to know. My impression is that some grads in my department don't work much, but my impression could be way off. Thanks for commenting! I should really catch up on your blog.

Sylver said...

Great blog here! I have just started my own as a post grad ecologist so it is good to see others are out there! Do you have Twitter? As I have just started tweeting and I am gathering lots of fellow ecologists all together for news sharing and indeed useful for job sharing too!

Karina said...

Sylver, I have an account, but I rarely use it. It is something I'd like to get more into though.

jaxzwolf, I use Time Tracker to count my hours. There are some different timer freeware that you can try, but I liked Time Tracker the best. Let me know what you decide to use!

Sylver said...

It is a good way to draw more followers to your blog :) well you can find me on my blog at if you wish to discuss anything ecology/conservation related etc