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2015 The year that was

What we achieved

In 2015 our Health Research Journey goals were to:

• Take our lessons from 2014’s grant and mould this proposal into brilliance worthy of category 1 funding
Done! (still haven’t heard how we went though, apparently ‘announcement in October’ is code for ‘we’ll let you know sometime in January…’)

• Have four papers accepted for publication
Done! With a few more currently under review 🙂

• Create an ECR network mailing list
Change of plan (oops!) – we focused on social media instead 😮

• Attend an international conference
Done! (It was in Melbourne, last week we squeezed it in, but it was still an international conference) 🙂

• Invite guest bloggers to post on their experiences of the journey
Invited – yes, received – not yet

• Get better at saying No – being strategic
Work in progress (https://thehealthresearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/just-say-no/) but we are much improved

• Reward big but also small steps towards goals
Sort of done, though our rewards chart (https://thehealthresearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/research-rewards-and-relapse-prevention/) slipped off the radar as we got busier

• Fail fast – it’s difficult to receive criticism and review of our work BUT if we are able to consider, take on and produce something better as a result then we can reap the rewards
Another work in progress, we are constantly developing ways how to do this but have certainly learnt a lot this year

• Attend a minimum of three lunchtime pilates/yoga classes per week
Not done. We moved offices this year which made it harder for this to be possible – we are sorry we didn’t achieve this one 😦

• Leave work at work
Sort of done. We might not have taken documents home but we took emotions home this year (Note to self: heart on sleeve not on research project). However, we have had lots of chats about work/life balance and what’s important and have tried hard to focus on these things instead

• Leave work before 6pm
Mostly done! 🙂

• Make a social life out of academia (can it be done?!)
We had some great times at conference dinners and some awesome officemate excursions and we have grown our network of people we enjoy working and hanging out with! And identified those we don’t :-/

• Be mindful of what tasks we do have control over and be careful not to overload, where possible do one task at a time and appreciate the process
Fail! But we’ve discovered we are multipotentialites (http://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling) so doing one task at a time is just…well…boring! We will continue to practice mindfulness where possible though.

 

What comes next

Well, what comes next looks a whole lot different than we might have thought a few months ago. 2016 will see our partnership change – we will no longer be officemates but instead be cross-sectoral collaborators. Jodie is following her dream and going back to uni to study to be a clinical health psychologist #biggestversionsofourselves. Lynsey’s current role has been extended for six months but when that door closes she is not sure what the next door will open into #hellouniversewhatdoyouhaveinstore. We are sad that this chapter is ending but are excited about the possibilities that next year holds! Times of change are full of opportunities #someonewisetoldus

opportunity(https://www.pinterest.com/pin/445645325602395410/)

 

Christmas traditions

This year we had a two-part grey-fitti as we moved offices in May: two offices, two whiteboards. This has led to a Christmas wordle spectacular… thanks Tagxedo!

Partnerships

Happy Anniversary

There is a lot of luck in partnerships – who you meet, who you share an office with, who’s interested or researching on the same topic – there is no rhyme or reason to when you will meet them. But what is key to sound partnerships is that working in them is, for the most part, pleasant and highly productive.

RUOK

 

Being part of a successful partnership requires first that you know your strengths and weaknesses. Some excellent thoughts on this can be found here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-weakness-strengthens-relationships-deanna-murphy-m-s-spc-ii. In our experience, as RHD students we often end up doing everything for our theses however in the real world it is much better if we use our strengths, work in our happy flow states and achieve more. This can be conflicting because, as an example from our office, Jodie worries that if she doesn’t get better at formatting manuscripts for example, then she’s not doing a good job. But for Jodie to format well requires an exceptional amount of concentration, energy and usually still results in average outputs. Lynsey on the other hand thrives on this aspect of the manuscript process and does it with the swiftest of mouse clicks. But, Lynsey worries about her ability to create new project ideas and critically appraise literature, things she finds challenging but that Jodie does superbly well. We have realised that often partners have complementary skills.

 

quote

What began as a fortunate coincidence has now developed into a strategic alliance. We’ve learned that in collaborating you need to recognise what other skills you need to fit out your team. We also understand that partnerships are a good place to start if your aim is to work on something bigger. In short, know your working style, be open and honest about it, but most importantly be ok with it.

 

Look at successful partnerships in research:
• Warren (Nobel laureate winner) & Marshall – this is an excellent example of a successful, complementary partnership, in this case a researcher with a clinician collaborator without whom the application of his idea would not have taken off. A partner that was willing to consume bacteria to prove your theory, now that’s someone you want as a partner.

If you are in Australian primary health care you might recognise some of these:
• Powell-Davies & Harris
• Young & Gunn
• Jackson & Nicholson
• Baxter & Brown

Did Einstein have a research partner? Surely he must have… find out more here: https://www.bestthinking.com/articles/science/physics/albert-einstein-was-he-really-a-solitary-genius-

Have you found a research partner yet or are you still looking?

New Year’s Resolutions of a Health Researcher

As we pulled out the new diaries, organised our streamlined shelves and sat in our brand new office/lounge chairs, we reflected on the year past and pondered about the future.

chairs

In 2014 our Health Research Journey goals were to:
• Submit a grant application (done – the fact that it was unsuccessful is a minor, insignificant detail!)
• Submit some manuscripts (done)
• Start our professional organisation thinking about the needs of ECRs (done)
• Create a blog (done!)

In 2015 our Health Research Journey goals are to:
• Take our lessons from 2014’s grant and mould this proposal into brilliance worthy of category 1 funding
• Have four papers accepted for publication
• Create an ECR network mailing list
• Attend an international conference
• Invite guest bloggers to post on their experiences of the journey.

Of course we resolve to publish more papers, write successful grant applications and take over the world but in order to make these less daunting and more likely to be achieved let’s make these SMART goals.

S- specific
M- measurable
A- achievable
R- realistic
T- timely

 

For example… the goal is to submit a manuscript on integrated primary health care at the meso level (specific) by the 30th of January (measurable) that has been drafted based on a past project (achievable) and has been seen by all co-authors, reviewed by a senior colleague and formatted according to the journal’s requirements (realistic) and is relevant to the current Australian primary health care reforms (timely).

 

We also have some personal development resolutions this year:
• Get better at saying No- being strategic
• Reward big but also small steps towards goals
• Fail fast- it’s difficult to receive criticism and review of our work BUT if we are able to consider, take on and produce something better as a result then we can reap the rewards.

Other important things to consider: What’s good for you is generally good for your career. Additional resolutions therefore include:
• Attend a minimum of three lunchtime pilates/yoga classes per week
• Leave work at work
• Leave work before 6pm
• Make a social life out of academia (can it be done?!)
• Be mindful of what tasks we do have control over and be careful not to overload, where possible do one task at a time and appreciate the process.

 

What are your goals and resolutions for 2015?

Creating Christmas Resear-Cheer

In our highly efficient office of strategic whiteboards and colour coordinated task lists we have an empty corner for grey-fitti.
This is a blank portion of our whiteboard where we record random musings and inspired ideas as well as disgruntled moments experienced throughout the year.

In a longstanding tradition (which began in 2013), once a year, at Christmas time, Jodie collates said grey-fitti and turns it into a commemorative wordle using freely available online software (http://www.tagxedo.com/). This is a way to reflect our wisdom from throughout the year.

This year, we thought we’d share this brilliance with you. And this time next year we’d love to see yours!

We look forward to sharing our goals and research pursuits in the New Year.
Merry Christmas!

Wordle High Res