Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being organized

One big difference between being a student and a faculty member is the number of things that needs to be done. Several of these are small items - like sending someone an urgent email/calling someone to schedule a meeting (especially if you are a member of several committees). In addition, there are deadlines for proposals, manuscripts, reviews etc. I write 20 manuscripts a year and review around 50 manuscripts (my reviews are always thorough and detailed, even if it is to accept a manuscript). Keeping track of all of these requires you to come up a good system that works without follow-up. I use the Gmail account that retrieves emails from my university account, and I use RTM (remember the milk) for reminders and events. While I do like google calendar, it does not work like RTM because some of these activities (like reviewing a paper, finishing a manuscript) do not usually have strict deadlines and can be postponed. With the new Firefox extension that incorporates RTM into GMail, I have shifted to gmail permanently. Whenever I get an email, I star it and it is automatically marked in RTM as an event that I will be reminded later. Because of the gmail filtering system and the RTM addon, all my emails are automatically marked for action as soon as I open my mailbox (except for emails without a subject, which are automatically trashed).