Productivity – Where To Find It?

After U of Manchester Productivity Workshop

Kellee and I just got back from our 3 1/2 week speaking tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England. We visited University of Manchester, University College Dublin, Maynooth University, St. Andrews University, University of Glasgow, SOAS (in an event hosted by a group of London universities), Oxford, and De Montfort University in Leicester.  We had a wonderful time.

University of Glasgow

During the trip I spoke on the U.S. job market and career planning, and Kellee spoke on

The oddly sauna-like meeting space at Wadham College, Oxford

academic interviewing and productivity.  But no matter the posted topic of the talk, it was inevitably the themes of PRODUCTIVITY and IMPOSTER SYNDROME that prevailed.  These challenges seem to be universal to the academic experience, especially right now in the current political turmoil. Whether in Ireland, Scotland or the rest of the UK, whether at De Montfort University or Oxford–everyone is struggling to get their

Speaking at St. Luke’s Chapel, Oxford

writing done, and to battle the voices in their heads saying…  you’re not good enough; you don’t know what you’re talking about; you’ll never finish this; nobody will read it; this will never get published…  and on and on and on.

Kellee ended up doing versions of her Unstuck Productivity coaching almost everywhere we went, focused on overcoming the two elephant-sized roadblocks to productivity — procrastination & isolation.  Kellee especially focuses on writing and productivity as *feminist* and *anti-racist* interventions in a world that was not built for those who come from outside the ranks of elite white males.

A TPII reader who randomly ran into us at University College Dublin!

The conversations she had on this trip inspired us to move mountains (in the midst of train travel, and hiking, and wildly inconsistent wifi) to keep doing our new weekly Facebook Live Productivity sessions, every Friday at 11 AM EST. Please join us for those on the TPII Facebook page!

And they also inspired Kellee’s new live and online productivity program that is starting this week  – Unstuck: The Art of Productivity, which makes her coaching principles available to anyone since her individual coaching calendar is now almost totally full. And if you click  through the link, you can see a special preview video of Kellee explaining how it all works!) Here is more info:

UNSTUCK: The Art of Productivity is a self-directed online course devoted to changing your writing habits and overcoming debilitating feelings of Imposter Syndrome, anxiety, and insecurity, while recognizing and challenging self-sabotaging patterns of thought and behavior.

Loosely following the structure ofWriting Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success,” the course is divided into Twelve Steps to Productivity. Each step is devoted to 1) setting up your writing practice for success and 2) moving you step by step through the standard parts of an academic publication.

As I watched Kellee lead workshop after workshop based on her coaching principles, and the ways that her audiences responded to her elemental but subtle principles of honesty, integrity, boundaries, and self-care, I was struck anew that no matter where you are in the world, the academic career can inculcate an overwhelming sense of inadequacy that is truly, if it’s not checked,

With Valerie Heffernan, who invited us to Maynooth U in Ireland.

damaging to your mental and physical health. What Kellee’s coaching does is provide not only tools for writing, but also a vocabulary for a newly energized ethos of self-value, ie, a valuing of your ideas, your research, your time, and your boundaries. It was truly transformative, not just for those lucky enough to be in her audiences, but for me as well.  (Many of you may not know that it was Kellee who inspired me to start The Professor Is In in the first place! I tell that story near the end of my book).

Anyway, working with Kellee is quite wonderful, as her clients can attest. [Here some testimonials!

Kellee is, by far, the best mentor and writing coach I’ve ever had. The UNSTUCK program has encouraged me to reach out to colleagues, it’s provided me with an excellent group of scholars who offer daily support and encouragement and it’s forced me to be honest about what I can and should accomplish this summer. Overall, the last 6 weeks have been (realistically) productive and a pleasure. Can’t say enough good things about Kellee’s program and guidance.

I am a professional slacker! Can a weekly hour long writing workshop actually change habits that took almost a decade and a half to solidify? The answer is a very strong yes! I have written and worked more on my research in the last six weeks than in the last several months combined. The wonderful coach that Kellee is, the very structured approach to writing she teaches, the methods I learned on how to approach writing when it appears to be a very angry Hulk, have indeed changed my work habits. I still get anxiety about writing, I still get the nagging feeling that my work is not good enough, but now, I work as opposed to just worrying and being anxious about tenure. When I read my paper now, I see progress. It is not a paper I have been sitting on for a year now, it is a project that is getting close to submission. I write and I make lists and approach the paper from an entirely new and much improved perspective. I have also noticed an improvement in my non-work related habits. I have just become so much more proactive about so many other things.  I might actually stop seeing my therapist as regularly so it saves money too!! ???? 

I suggested that we list our accomplishments for the month in honor of your birthday, Kellee, and everything that you’ve done to help ALL of us at various points in our careers.  Here’s the list:

  • 5 journal articles submitted, under review, or in revision
  • 1 sample chapter submitted for a book proposal
  • 1 fellowship submitted
  • consistent writing EVERY day, even with kids, jobs, and service
  • personal sanity and a professional support network in this crazy academic life

As a group, we are definitely “unstuck” thanks to you and The Professor Is In site. I hope you will copy and paste this for a special blast on Facebook so others can post what they’ve accomplished with your help or “like” covertly from the shadows.  Whether it’s job applications, career advice, or writing support, we could not have done it without you!]

But since she only occasionally has open spots for new individual clients, she wanted to provide a way to make these principles available to everyone, at a more accessible price.  And that is the origin of Unstuck: The Art of Productivity.  Here is a bit more info on this new way to work with Kellee.

Kellee with happy Productivity Workshop participants at Oxford

The Twelve Steps to Productivity come with five days of information beginning with a daily (M-F) email reminder. In addition to a daily “practice,” which is simply an idea to consider about your thinking and approach to writing, the course content includes a brief post and video offering concrete guidance on how to reach your goals.

In addition to the online modules, participants will have access to a secret FB page, cohort of support and accountability and FB live sessions with Kellee, who will take up common struggles and concerns. The course, FB group, and FB lives sessions combine to provide structure AND community. The two things so often lacking in an academic writing life.

Especially now when so many of us are glued to news and social media trying to keep up with the latest outrage, or despairing for our countries (the UK under Brexit too!) or even fearing for our own safety and security in an increasingly threatening campus milieu, building a strong connection to our own personal motivation and mission is especially urgent. I encourage you to learn more about working with Kellee through Unstuck: The Art of Productivity.  It will make a difference not just in your career, but in your life.

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Productivity – Where To Find It? — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Revisiting the Cover Letter: Research and Contribution | The Professor Is In

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