Author Archives: Patrick Sahle

did my work

9:15 to 18:30. I’m off. What have I done over the day? 90 min CCeH team discussion an work planning, some modelling and planning for the papyrus project, a lot of small tasks and mailing. A normal day.

planning to work II

so what are my major tasks in these weeks and months?

  • work for the North-Rhine Westfalian Academy for the Arts and Sciences
    • modelling data structures for a papyrus project
    • look after an encyclopedia project
    • support scholars in the development of new projects and funding proposals (towards the Union of the Academies)
  • work for DARIAH-DE (Digital Research Infrastructures for the Arts and Humanities)
    • finish my report on study programs and curricula in the Digital Humanities
    • coordination of work in work package 2.3 (teaching and education in the Digital Humanities)
    • work towards the funding proposal for DARIAH-DE-II
  • work for the CCeH (Cologne Center for eHumanities)
    • organize and manage the CCeH
    • support scholars in the development of new projects and funding proposals
    • organize the construction of a “data center for the humanities” at the CCeH</li
  • work for “me, being some kind of scholar”
    • tasks for the Institute for Documentology and Scholarly Editing
      • work for the new review journal on scholarly digital editions
      • care for our book series
    • me, being some sort of independent scholar
      • write articles and blog entries
      • prepare some lectures; travels to conferences and workshops
      • prepare a course on visualization

planning to work

Scholarship and academic work to a large extent seems to be about self organization. Every work day starts with the same question: “What should I get done today?” There is always more to be done than can be done, so it’s about making the right choices and setting the right priorities. The challenge is to find the right balance between the different kinds of tasks. There are different groups of tasks which can be described according to different views. One of these is: “Where does the task come from?” This seems to be easy: I have to paid part time jobs, 0.45 and 0.55 FTE respectively and “leisure time”. The problem is, that as an scholar in academia there are a lot of tasks which belong to “being a scholar at the university and beyond” and that these tasks amount to more than what can be done in the “leisure time” time slot. Additionally another criteria is more important for the choice of what to do today: importance and deadline. There are roughly three major groups here:

  1. Tasks that have a fixed deadline
  2. Major Tasks without a clear deadline or with a deadline longer than one week
  3. Little things (often triggered by incoming mail)

As I said, the challenge is about finding the right balance between the three groups. Group 1 is not a problem: things that have to be done immediately and to a certain point have a high priority and are usually completed “in time” or at some point close to the deadline (depending on how strict the deadline is). Sometimes this doesn’t leave time for groups 2 and 3. But usually there is some time. The problem is, that it’s very tempting to get rid of tasks from group 3, because they are small and often less complex and demand less concentration. But then the sheer amount of the tasks in group 3 doesn’t leave any time for group 2 tasks. 

The result is of course, that the most important things get the lowest attention – on every single day – and thus don’t progress. I’m sure all scholars in a similar situation experience the same problem –  or are more disciplined than I.

In the office – now

Usually, I’d leave home at about 8:00 to be in the office at 8:30. But on mondays its my task to bring my daughter to the kindergarten and since today is the first day after the easter holidays we took some more time to get back into the usual routines. So work for me starts 9:15 today in my regular office (as in 2009) – and not in my home office (as in 2010 or 2012).

the regular office in 2013 - see 2009 for comparison

the regular office in 2013 – see 2009 for comparison