Three summer goals

I actually came up with these last week. But I’ve been bouncing them around for a while to figure out how ‘solid’ they are. And how reasonable. Although I still haven’t settled on a reasonable way to track progress (not sure it’s really possible).

Last summer I did a beeminder to count tasks completed per day, and I had some trouble figuring out what counted as a task. Then last semester I did a beeminder requiring 6 pomodoros a day (Monday to Friday), which worked a lot better. I didn’t continue this into the summer, because at the beginning of May I was at a huge loss as to what I was going to be doing for the summer.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve actually started putting things together and moving forward. I ran a user study at the beginning of June. And I figured out a reasonable next step. I’m not sure it’s my final step (sigh) but at least it’s moving me forward and not sideways (which some of my steps have done). So, my three goals:

  1. Get my new user study together. This means writing all the code (in progress), then testing it, then getting ethics. I’d like to be ready to go as soon as the psychology pool opens up in September. 
  2. Get back to working on my dissertation document that I started a few months ago. Fully flesh out the chapters on the work I’ve done and the related work. Some work towards the introduction might come into play as well.
  3. Plan when and on what I will give my first PhD seminar. I really should’ve done one already, and I haven’t. And I need to do three before I graduate. So, time to just suck it up and do so.

Last week I started working on #2 by opening the document back up. It was really nice to realize that I had put in more work than I thought and there was more content then I remembered. I’ve started working on it by writing up about the experiment I ran in June. Why? Because I don’t know when and where we’ll submit those results, and I don’t want to forget the conclusions we came to. It was also nice to get back to this, because it was a break from coding. Coding can be fun, but it can also be super aggravating at times and so breaks are needed.

My user study is making steady progress forward. I keep coming across pretty big pieces I had forgot about and need to add back in. But, overall I think this is a reasonable goal. I hate to jinx it, but I might be able to finish this by the end of the month.

The seminar is going to require a conversation with my supervisor. Which I hope to maybe initiate this week. But I’ll see how things go. I also want to ask about possibly taking a week off later this month, and I sort of feel like the vacation time is more important (I know, how ‘bad’ a grad student am I?).

But, either way, I do think I can solve all of the three above. I’d add more to the list, except based on past experiences, these will end up taking all of my time. And should I have extra time at the month, well, I’m sure it won’t be hard to find something to do. 😛


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