Not my New Year’s Resolutions

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

from Four Quartets, ‘Little Gidding’ by T. S. Eliot.

I said yesterday that I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions (largely because I know I’m no good at keeping them) but in an idle moment this morning (or should I say “a period of reflection”?) I posted on Twitter a few things I hope to achieve in 2020 and thought I’d share them here.

In no particular order:

  1. Go to more live concerts. Although I enjoy the radio and recordings, I far prefer to listen to live music at concerts. Attending such events helps also support the venues and musicians as without an audience both would die. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t heard any live jazz in Ireland!
  2. See more of Ireland. I moved to Maynooth two years ago but apart from one visit to Galway and one to Armagh I still haven’t travelled much beyond the Dublin area. I must get around more, especially to the South.
  3. No more working weekends. I’ve been in the office for at least one day every weekend since I started at Maynooth. I did the same when I was at Sussex too, and seem to have relapsed. I have always had problems managing my own work/life balance but I realise it’s not setting a good example to younger folk to be getting it so obviously wrong. I’ll add not reading work emails at weekends to this.
  4. Be a better colleague. This is something I think one should always strive to be, but I have particular need to improve. I know that over the last four years or so things weighed very heavily on me behind the scenes and I ended up letting people down on too many occasions. I apologise for that and will try to do better in future.
  5. Read more books. I used to be a voracious reader of all kinds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, but I somehow got out of the habit. I now have a stack of unread works that I must try to read before the year is out!
  6. Finish more things! Not unrelated to No. 4 above, I have been very poor over the last few years at completing projects and writing papers. I need to clear the backlog and get on with some new things.
  7. Do more to promote Open Access publishing. I’m not surprised that the status quo in academic publishing is proving hard to dislodge, but I believe that change can be achieved if researchers take the initiative. I’m proud of what we have achieved so far at the Open Journal of Astrophysics but there’s much more to be done.

There are some others, but they’re too personal to put on here!

17 Responses to “Not my New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. “Do more to promote Open Access publishing.”

    I’m doing my bit to help. 😉

  2. Dave Carter Says:

    Aims 1 and 2, although this is not jazz, might be helped by a visit to the 48th Willie Clancy Summer school (http://www.scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.com). Sadly I have never been, but if i lived in Ireland I would try.

  3. Phillip Helbig Says:

    Do more to promote Open Access publishing.”

    Why is the Open Journal of Astrophysics not accessble from the “browse journals” at the Scholastica website, although a large number of journals, including some in STEM fields, are?

    • telescoper Says:

      I just checked and it is there. We’re even featured on the front page of the Scholastica site.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Right, it’s there. The alphabetical order is strict, so it is ordered under “t” for “the”. 😐

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    Apart from Aim 4, all of these laudable aims will require more time. Decide how you will liberate the time that you need to do these things from the way you presently live, or they won’t happen.

    • Phillip Helbig Says:

      The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.

      —Steven R. Covey

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Steven —> Stephen

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        If there is any way that Peter could reduce the admin load for himself and his successors in a way that is reproducible across departments then that would be a small but significant way to make academe a better place.

      • telescoper Says:

        One way to do this is for our two Physics departments (Theoretical & Experimental) to work more closely together. There is a ridiculous amount of unnecessary duplication of admin at the moment.

      • Why are there two separate physics departments at Maynooth? They both are quite small, so it would seem to make sense to combine them.

      • telescoper Says:

        Historical reasons. Theoretical Physics used to be called Mathematical Physics and was previously attached to the Mathematics Department. There is talk about joining the two Departments together but there is at the moment little common activity between the two.

    • telescoper Says:

      I know what you mean, but I think the main thing is better use of time, ie less waste. By that I mean greater self-discipline and better organisation.

    • telescoper Says:

      P. S. I should say that as of 1st January I am no longer an editor of JCAP which will free up more time for OJA. I actually handed in my resignation in October.

  5. […] my decision to see more live music in 2020, last night found me taking my seat at the National Concert Hall in Dublin for a performance of the […]

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