I was recently thinking about how my work and daily tasks have changed over time.
To make this more specific, I looked at my agenda from five years ago (one of the advantages of using a digital calendar; I can just go back in time with a simple click) with my agenda of today.
Five years ago, I was a new mom and working 6.5 hours a day. Looking at a random week in March 2018, I see that my time was divided as follows:
- Writing articles: 9 hours in total – 2 hours a day, every morning, except for one day when I had a meeting. I was working on a book chapter and editing chapters for the same book in that week.
- Research: 7.5 hours, working on the preparation of a bridge test.
- Teaching: 3 hours, I was teaching Concrete 1 in Spanish that semester
- Meetings with BSc students: 1 hour in total (2 x 30min) – both of them were developing design examples for torsion, which we later published as an ACI Special Publication paper
- email + admin: 8.5 hours
- meetings with colleagues: 3 hours – I think all of these were Skype calls
- interview students for scholarship: 5 hours
In that week, 5 years ago, I worked 37 hours, which is more than the 6 hours a day that I was working: one call I made later in the afternoon from home, and the scholarship interviews were later than my regular hours as well. I was also pumping three times a day from my office back then.
Looking at a regular week now five years later, the way I divide my time is quite different. I have much more meetings to start with – up to 20 hours a week. A typical week now looks like:
- Writing articles: 2 hours or so? I mostly provide feedback on the work of my students.
- Research: 10 hours on a good week, much less on a week when that carefully reserved time gets crowded out with meetings
- email + admin: 10 hours or so?
- Teaching: 3 hours, still the same
- Service: trying to limit myself to 5 hours
- Meetings with students and colleagues: about 15-20 hours per week, including supervision meetings, collaboration meetings, research team meetings, class prep meetings with other lecturers and everything else possible
So, where I used to be a master of my own time, I now really have to work hard with setting boundaries around my agenda to keep some time for my research before it gets eaten up by meetings and email stuff.
How has your work changed over the past years?