Showing posts from 2020

My road to “Inbox Zero”

My out of office message in on, my inbox is empty ... Image by Solen Feyissa from Pixabay My out of office message is on, my inbox is empty ... and mesmerised by Microsoft's floating balloon animation, I thought of writing about how I got here. Keeping up with all the information, requests for action and questions that flow into our email inboxes often seems a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be so. It is increasingly common to see colleagues share their victory over the deluge of messages by reaching “Inbox Zero” and it is something I have improved my ability to do over the past couple of years.  I don’t always get to zero every day or week, but I can often get to below 10 messages to deal with, and even hit zero from time to time. My method is similar to that adopted by others, but I thought of documenting it here as a way for me to refer to it in the future, and also in case it helps others. Unread e-mails result — PHD

Academic Acrobatics: Self-care for mutual support

At a recent research away day, attendees were prompted to reflect on their personal values and share an image that could represent these.  The image I shared was based on the picture shown above, and was inspired a story from Buddhist teachings called the Sedaka Sutta . In the teaching, the Buddha describes two acrobats who were talking about how best they should work together: Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat,  setting himself upon his bamboo pole,  addressed his assistant Medakathalika:  "Come you, my dear Medakathalika,  and climbing up the bamboo pole,  stand upon my shoulders."  "Okay, master" the assistant Medakathalika  replied to the bamboo acrobat;  and climbing up the bamboo pole  she stood on the master's shoulders. So then the bamboo acrobat said this to his assistant Medakathalika:  "You look after me, my dear Medakathalika, and I'll look after you.  Thus with us looking after one another, guarding one another,  we'll sh

Reflecting for kindness: one pebble at a time

from the Mental Health Foundation ( ) This is "Mental Health Awareness Week" ( ) and the theme being highlighted by the Mental Health Foundation is kindness. Often kindness focusses on how we treat others, whether by helping when we see someone in need, or spontaneously. We are also reminded of the importance of being kind to ourselves but this is something that can be more challenging. The following are some personal reflections on kindness to oneself, influenced by talks heard, things read, and words and deeds done and seen over the years. Our kindness aims to alleviate someone's pain, or help them overcome a challenge, or even simply to surprise them with something they enjoy. Whatever the context in which kindness manifests, one thing I've noticed is that it has the greatest impact when it is rooted in a good understanding of the other person's situati