Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Goals for the New Year

I've never been one for resolutions - why decide to improve oneself once per year, never revisiting and never adding more goals? A recent post from the Three Month Thesis Blog shared this opinion and suggested a more constructive and effective approach to making resolutions (hint: you don't make them once per year!). I've already taken bits of this advice in recognizing that the five urgent projects I'm working on still have an order of priority and I need to finish ONE first before moving to the next.  I will also revise my next progress report with those ideas in mind to help keep my focus when tidying up my report for the new year.

Aside from the overall effort to take stock and make new goals (actually, that reminds me of Adaptive Management, now that I think of it...), I do have some larger goals to work towards in the next year.  Apparently sharing a New Year's Resolution makes one less likely to achieve said Resolution, but I'm not sure if it works this way for goals. So here they are:

Finish PhD
Go big or go home, eh? I'll be at the end of my fourth year in December 2013, and I'd like to be finished before then.  Now that I've got all my data in hand, some preliminary analyses under my belt, and sufficient coding skills and statistical knowledge, I can move forward with final analyses.  I'll be continuing my practice of writing at least one hour per day (potentially increasing as I complete more analyses). That, in combination with my R/Knitr/Markdown habits, should make the analysis-to-MS process relatively quick.

Submit MSs from Thesis
Directly following from Goal #1, I plan to submit MSs as soon as they are complete. Since I'll be completing one at a time, this means I'll submit one as I continue to work on analyses for the next. Assuming my thesis will be 3-4 chapters, I can submit at least two before I complete the final thesis. I hope to have the first MS submitted in February.

BPOP Report
Ages ago, I started a report on the dataset I use for my analyses: the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat (BPOP) Survey. I originally intended to cover everything a secondary user (like me!) might need to know, but I since learned that the USFWS is undergoing their own project to update the Standard Operating Procedures, which will provide more (and more accurate) details than I can. That said, I don't know when the new SOP will be available, and I believe that some summary of the database would be useful for newcomers to the database (i.e. me from 3 years ago), so I'm producing a reduced version of my report. I spent most of AcWriMo revising what I'd previously written, and now I just need to update and run my scripts to produce the figures. I'm going to work on this once I've finished the analyses for my first MS.

Look for Post-PhD Opportunities
I'm not sure what's out there, so I need to take stock of what my options are once I complete this PhD. I'll be starting to look around in February.

The Freebies

Links and Further Reading

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