On the reg

The unexpected Christmas Day episode!

December 25, 2023
On the reg
The unexpected Christmas Day episode!
Show Notes Transcript

Inger and Jason recorded an episode at 9pm at night on the 15th of November, before Inger took off for the UK. Inger was meant to edit and post this sometime in December, while travelling in the UK, but due to the vagaries of wifi and Christmas shopping, she ended up doing it at Heathrow airport on Christmas eve.

So look, it's a little bit ... unplugged?

But at least it's short (well, for us) and there's some good stuff in here - including a surprisingly long digression on KanBan boards. We figure there's got to be some dishwashing or gardening to do over the Christmas break when you can enjoy this nerd out. Happy Christmas to all who celebrate (and we hope the rest of you get a well earned break too).

We'll be back sometime in January :-)

Things we mentioned

Article Kevin sent us about leaders and managers
Personal Kanban: mapping work, navigating life
Mind the gap in the literature
Capacities app
Obsidian Field guide by mcsparky

Leave us a message on www.speakpipe.com/thesiswhisperer. Email Inger, she's easy to find. You will not be able to find Jason's email (he likes it that way).

Talk to us on BlueSky by following @thesiswhisperer and @drjd. Inger is sadly addicted to Threads, but cannot convince JD to join. You can find her there, and on all the Socials actually, as @thesiswhisperer. You can read her stuff on www.thesiswhisperer.com.

If you want to support our work, you can sponsor Thesis Whisperer for $1 a month on Patreon, buy Inger a coffee on Ko-Fi or grab a copy of our ‘Text Expander for academics’ book off Thesiswhisperer.com

December 2023 On the Reg

Inger: I thought I was very successful last time with the earwax, because several people have come to me and say, What were you talking about earwax? I wanted to hear the whole story.

I feel like I missed out. I'm like, you did, you did miss out. That's all I'm saying. 

Jason: Are we up to episode 60? 

Inger: We are. 

Jason: Episode 60. Yeah, maybe though. Okay, here we go. Time mark for edit, time mark for editing.

We can come in on three, two, one. Welcome to On The Reg. We're at episode 60. Who'd have thought we would have got so far, right? Never. That's awesome. It's awesome news. I'm Dr. Jason Downes from La Trobe University and I'm here with my good friend, Professor Inga Mewburn from the Australian National University.

She's better known as The Thesis Whisperer. On the internet, we're here for another episode of on the reg where we talk about work, but you know, Not in a boring way. We're all about practical implementable productivity hacks to help you live a more balanced life before we get started uh, we'd like to make clear that even though we work at a couple of awesome universities, that this podcast is not connected to either of them, nor are we representing them on the reg is our own endeavor. And with that, Inga, welcome. How have you been since we've like caught up?

Inger: Let me just give you a sample, right?

I will try not to do that for the rest of the pod, or at least I'll snip it out. It's fruity. That's awful. It's disgusting. Actually. Five COVID tests. It just came up negative, but I swear to God, it felt like COVID. 

Jason: Maybe, maybe you're just like deep faking it all now, right? 

Inger: I've got some new strain that's never been seen before.

Do you know who I blame for this, Jason? Do you know who I blame? Donald Trump. Melbourne. Well, Donald Trump as well, but Melbourne. Yes. So I went to Melbourne. Yes. Was that last week? The week before last. We saw each other. We had a great planning day. We had whiteboard texters. We had drama. Lost children. We had, yeah, we had lost children drama, but we worked through that and then we had whiteboard texters and then that was great.

We had a fun time. And the next day I went to, where did I do the next day? I don't even know what I did the next day. I hung out. That was a Thursday. And then the day after that, the Thursday, I went to hang out with the Monash folks. 

Big shout out to Professor Melissa Kasten, who organized again for me to come down and work with the Monash Law Academics, Jason, and is a very big fan of On The Reg. So thanks, Melissa. And, um, they gave me, look. They know me. It's like they've met me. Oh! It's like a gift pack. I was so touched. I felt so seen.

Yes. By this gift. Um, as you know, in my Bujo, I do love to use the old Blackwing pencils and they're quite hefty. Yes. Yeah. So, like, this is like a little selection. Look at that. Look at that. With an, with an eraser. In a, like, a little wooden pencil box. Is 

Jason: that a sharpener? 

Inger: It's a sharpener. No, I said a razor, but it's actually a sharpener.

That is a special 40 sharpener, because that's how we roll in Blackwing World. And also, did you ever make one of these pencil cases? It's like a wooden square one with a slidey in woodwork. It's beautiful. Feel the quality, Jason. So that was, and they gave me a BuJo. And then Liam, Tamara and Jess invited me for the following day to give a little talky talk at their law school early career researcher catch up, which looked amazing.

Um, there was a lot of talking. There was going to restaurants, Jason. The next day I went to the genetics conference. Um, and Gemma, thank you, Gemma, for inviting me to the Genetics Conference. And I did the first outing of our Distracted Academic Book Material, which you helped me get into shape. I need a cough button.

You do need a cough button. You helped me get into shape, um, on the Tuesday. And luckily you did, because I don't think it would have gone nearly as well. If you hadn't have encouraged me to restructure it. No, it went down really well. There was laughs, you know, Mr. Thesis Whisperer was in the audience. He had no notes.

For once. Oh. Cause normally he likes Jason. He does. He, he, he's a good critical friend of the pod, you know, and he'll say, you know, he'll say what he reckons. He's that, he's helpful. But he was like, no notes. And I was like, wow, knocked it out of the park. And then. That's awesome. 

So it's quite a long week. And on Saturday night, we went out for dinner, la la, having a great time. And then I got on a tram and it was like the, the before times, Jason, it was like. You know, your nose is in someone's elbow and it's so many people in there that it sort of like tastes and smells like a sauna, but not in a good way.

And I was like, wow, I like was actually having a full out, like I can't cope with this after so many years of not doing it. And after two blocks, I said, I have to get out, like, I can't do this.

And I did wear a mask. Most of the time, but obviously not enough because then the next week, which was last week, I was like, Oh, I've got a bit of a cough. Oh, I've got a sneeze. Oh, I feel okay. Oh, I might just pop a mask on. Ran a bootcamp, 60 people at bootcamp, like it was a big bootcamp. That's great. The two people who got 20, 000 word target, which was fantastic. Really great group, new venue, whole bit. But by Friday I was like, Ooh, I don't feel very good. And the team were like, Inga, please go away from us because you look infectious and horrible.

And then, you know, I chucked off home and I got into bed on Friday afternoon and I didn't get out again till yesterday. 

Jason: Oh, dang. 

Inger: That's sick. It was bad. I've fully lost my sense of smell, I get really grumpy when that happens, cause then I imagine I'm never getting it back, you know, and then anyway, it's been too much travel to too many cities.

I was bound to get something and guess where I'm going the day after tomorrow, Jason. 

Jason: Hmm, I actually know the answer to that question, so. Yeah, 

Inger: back to the UK. So, I hope this cough has settled by then. So, that's been my two weeks. Anyway, not great. Oh, dang. Great, but not great. You know what I mean? Yeah. Like, had some great times.

Yeah. And I really, you know, sweated and regretted it. Like, at every moment, I did not put a mask on, I must say, but then I rang the doctor and he said, Oh, that many COVID tests. Yeah. I don't reckon you had COVID. I'm like, what? I went through all of that and I don't even have an immunity window, you know, to go to the UK.

And he's like, yeah. Look, yeah, asthma is really bad, so try not to catch COVID on the plane or anything, like just pop a mask on for me. And I was like, fuck's sake, Jason! Fuck's sake! Like, I went through all the, you know, when you go through that, you think at least I should now be able to just enjoy my month of immunity?

Nah. That's it. Nah. No, fuck. Nah. 

Jason: Anyway. Well, how about we just believe that you did have COVID and now we believe that you've got a, uh, I don't think it works that way, Jason. An immunity window. 

Inger: I don't think it works. I don't think so. No. The universe. 

Jason: The universe. Blah, blah, blah. No. No. Venus raising out of like the.

No. No. Pisces. 

Inger: No. I think it's like wear a mask for 24 hours on the plane. That's going to be a blast. And then, you know, try not to get it while I'm there. 

Jason: I hope you, uh, get upgraded to first class and so that there's a little bit of space. 

Inger: Yeah. Good job. I go premium at comms.

Um, cause I couldn't quite afford the business class. I've now thought, Ooh, I can't justify that. And then, yeah, I put him for an upgrade yesterday and I made Luke give me all his points. I'm like, I need points. I need to upgrade. I've been sick. 

Jason: I don't want people near me. I don't want people. Oh man.

There's a public transport in Victoria. Uh, you can take this as a comment. Uh, I caught the train backwards and forwards when I was working at RMIT and fucking hated it. Just the whole thing. It's just. Yeah. Shit. Right. Like, I can remember one night I climbed into the train, I took a photograph down the, you know, like all the, all the carriages and I opened the doors between them.

You can see right down through the back. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I took a photograph and then I emailed the photograph to the relevant minister, transport minister. And it's just like. How is this okay? And you could just see, right? Like it was people piled on top of other people and it was just, and I like, it's just, I like, and I complained and I, I did that while I was there, you know, phone up against my nose, emailing angrily to the minister of transport, I got an answer.

Did you? Yeah, I did. I got an answer. They 

Inger: wrote back to me. Like a canned response or like? Yeah, pretty much, 

Jason: pretty much. But right, you know, like, you know, the government takes these things seriously, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, do you though? Yeah, that's it. Not helping me here when I'm sweating like a sardine. You know, all we need now is a pandemic.

Inger: I know, right? And like, it really feels like Melbourne's back to what it used to be, but then they're still complaining that there aren't enough people in offices. I'm like, where are you going to put all these people? Yeah. Like the streets were packed. I felt like I was just like breathing in festy air.

Like, sorry, I'm being a bit of a Canberra. 

Jason: You're just not, you're, you're hyper, hyper allergenic. What's the one where, hypo, what's the one where it's 

Inger: like clean? We're hypo. Yeah. Right. So 

Jason: in the, in the bubble, right? Like you'd be at this kind of 

Inger: perfect air and stuff like that. Listeners from other countries may not know that Canberra is called the bubble.

We call ourselves the bubble. Sometimes politicians disparagingly say, that's the Canberra bubble. And we're all like, yeah, you betcha mate. That's the bubble. We love the bubble. We're the capital city, you know, and we're the elites. Yeah. 

Jason: Hi, just, um, as you were saying about Melbourne being pretty crowded and lots of people around and all the rest of it, I must admit, I'm not enjoying the coverage, the news coverage at the moment where they're talking about return to.

Return to the office and like,

and now it's just been picked up and the Murdoch pro seems to be all over it. They're just like, everyone's going back to work and, you know, CEOs have victory and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Still think, I still think there's space for people to look at this stuff, you know, realistically and. And carefully and make those kinds of decisions as they need to.

We don't, this blanket rule of kind of just everybody goes back to work. It just doesn't, it's just not right. It makes people more cranky than anything else. And I put myself, if there's two columns. Cranky and not cranky, I am in the cranky column about this whole thing. I'm 

Inger: just saying. Yeah, I just, I agree with you on that.

It's just ridiculous. And it's really, you know, so their offices, they, they now need to pay mortgages on with increased, um, interest rate. Boo hoo. Boo fucking hoo. Yeah, yeah. You know. 

Jason: And all of your tax, um, depreciation allowances and all of that sort of stuff, your fancy corporate accountants have already determined, uh, taken all of those advantages and you're not losing anything right now, right?

So, so you write it off, it's all funny money anyway, this company made 9 billion income, paid no, paid zero income tax. There's other company made 25 billion, you know, shell made, I don't know for sure, but, you know, yeah, yeah. And that's crap.

Yeah. Yeah. You gotta be paying your, you gotta be. Paying your fair share, right? You can't be, you can't be just like rorting the tax system because you've got fancy uh, accountants who know how to move fake money from one spot to another spot to make sure that nobody gets any tax and yeah, I don't know, 

Inger: I'm cranky.

And the next pandemic, you see how quick they want us to work from home again. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know. And how much they're like, Oh, well you can all go home now. And by the way, you can buy your own microphones and you can buy your own webcams and you know, like, Oh, you still got all that stuff that you bought on your, with your own money last time that you, you know, your fancy sit stand desk.

And we're all like our homewares, our pandemic homewares. You know, like I've got all my desk lamps, uh, ring lights now, you know, I'm ready for the next pandemic motherfuckers. Next time you want me to use my resources, you know, it's a two way street. We live in a community here. That's why I'm saying, wow, we are off the hook when it's later at night.

Hey, I was thinking exactly 

Jason: the same thing. 

Inger: I was like, Because what time is it, Jason? What even time is it? Because it's not our usual 

Jason: Sunday morning. It's not Sunday morning. It's nine o'clock at night and we're just like cranky and tired. This is 

Inger: why we don't record the pod. Though actually I'm kind of enjoying it.

Like the, fuck the man. 

Jason: This is like, for, for, on the regular listeners who have been listening to us for a long, long time, this is probably the truest representation of the phone calls that Inga and I have like mid week. 

Inger: Except we need the jeep noises behind you where you're in the jeep, yeah, and you know, trying to dodge trucks on the ring road, Jesus Christ.

Anyway, what's been happening with you? 

Jason: Well, um, Oh man, that cough. 

Inger: Oh no, I'm going to have to like, I'm going to have to cut them all out. That's, that's my 

Jason: penance. Can your, um, can the AI software do it for you? Yeah, it's the space bar, I think. Oh, is 

Inger: it? Okay, next time I'm just going to space bar it. So just know.

Hang on, look. Hang on, let me try. Let me try. Yeah, yeah, test it. I can do one. You can. I can. I did nothing. That was my spacebar. I don't know. 

Jason: Hang on. Mike. Oh 

Inger: man. See, I can't hear you now, so whatever you're doing, that works. 

Jason: Yeah, at the bottom of underneath the images along the bottom, there's mark, clip, mic, cam, speaker, share, leave, um, that mic button, if you just press toggle that on and off with your mouse.

Inger: So just like this. 

Jason: Yep, perfect. Can't hear you. You look sick, but you don't sound sick. That was a good 

Inger: fruity one. You missed it. Oh, good job. I might just not even cut this one. I might go unplugged. This is your last one for the year listeners, by the way. This is why we're on here. Like we're doing this for you because I was just like, I miss Sunday.

What are we going to do? And then we just like chatted about it. And then here we are on a Thursday night. And you get, you get what you get and you don't get upset, right Chase? 

Jason: Absolutely. This is raw.

Inger: I'm just going to have to hit the cough button 

Jason: again. You can hit the cough button. Oh, look at you coughing away over there. 

Inger: You made me laugh. That's 

Jason: what does it. Sorry. I'll try not to do it. Well, last two weeks. , uh, Mrs. Downs has been in India. The lovely Mrs. Downs. The lovely Mrs. Downs has, has gone to India with her mother.

So every, every couple of years, , Kath and her mum, , they, they pack up and they, they travel for two or three weeks and they go to all sorts of places. Yeah. So they, they leave Jack and I home and then they pack up and they go somewhere. So this year it's India and they've been gone for pretty much a couple of weeks.

they've traveled to China before. They've done trips to Alaska and kind of all through their, Turkey, uh, where else, Indonesia. I've been like, they do all sorts of stuff and it looks really good. So I'm getting lots of photographs at the moment from India. , the five hour time difference, , was a little, little bit of fun right at the start of the, at the start of the trip, because I said to.

Kath, now don't forget it's like a five hour time difference, right? So you need to think about what you're going to do. So, because you don't wake me up at the middle of the night, right? When you're texting at eight o'clock at night, it's one o'clock in the morning. And so I sent her off with all those instructions.

And then of course, immediately forgot it. And when I wake up the next morning, send her a text message to see where she was going and whether or not you'd made it. And it would have been like, you know, Two o'clock in the morning real time or something. Oh, you broke the rules. Oh yeah, I was first.

So, , so really it's been works flat out and we're, we've got the end of a first stage of a really big project. Kind of landing right about now. So that plus trying to manage the home front at the same time has just meant that I'm really, really busy and, um, refused to give up, , jujitsu training and going to the gym and all that sort of stuff.

So it's kind of like, it's, it's crowding in on top of it. Yeah. And to make matters worse, I've been in at work nearly every day. So, you know, the work from home where you can, you can smash out a couple of Pomodoros and then you can put on a load of washing or something like that. I haven't even, I haven't even been able to do that.

So, but. Our friends know, generally speaking, our friends know that, two boys together in a house for over a couple of weeks is probably not a great, you know, outcome for anybody. And so we've been getting, uh, dinner invitations and, , Yeah. People have been reaching out and looking out, looking out for us.

So it's been really good. So, uh, Mick, Gemma, Ollie, big shout out. Uh, thank you so much for inviting us around. Uh, the other said they're not, that was great. And, uh, to Melissa and Rod who had us out for dinner last night. In fact, 

Inger: yeah, the whole home cooked dinner experience. And then yes, chicken 

Jason: curry, chicken curry last night.

Inger: I love that. Could you learn what your friends cook for like ordinary dinner? Like I love that. I just love ordinary dinner at someone else's house. You're like, Oh wow, how often do you do this one? Oh, you do it like every week. Fantastic. I'll be around next week. 

Jason: Wednesdays, chicken curry night. 

Inger: I've picked up some of my best cooking tips from doing that.

Yeah. You know, just going to someone else's house and going, how do you peel that? What? I mean, Mook just showed me this thing with chickpeas in a pressure cooker that changed my life. I was like, Oh, did you get these out of a can? She's like, no, like pressure cooker. Come on, get, get grip, you know, white girl.

And so I was like, so I learned how to use one. Yeah. 

Jason: We've got a pressure cooker. We bought a, I bought a really cheap one from Aldi's and I'm always like, when it comes to tools. I'm like, I had advice from a friend who, um, was once a builder and then through sins, he became an academic and ended up being a DVCA.

Oh my God. That's such a trajectory. Yeah, I know. Right. So yeah, it was pretty cool. And his advice was always buy the most expensive tools that you can afford. So, you know, just buy the best that you can afford and just deal with that. But the pressure cooker that I've got, I, I ignored that. And, uh, I bought a cheap one from Aldi and I, it worries me to a certain extent.


Inger: should worry you though, they're meant to be scary. Under pressure. Pressure cookers are very scary. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like we, I grew up with a pressure cooker and it was like a whole thing, like this is on, do not come within this many meters of the stove. But they've got safety valves now. They don't explode. Like I've seen one actually explode, you know, like ours exploded. Hence the distance one had to keep from it.

Yes. Right. We now call ours the meat fountain. Because 

Jason: it 

Inger: really was, it was a bit of a mess, Jason. I'm not, yeah, you don't, you wouldn't watch. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. When you're doing bolognese, especially because, you know, bang, 

Jason: uh, yeah, it's got this, the safety valve on ours is this little red plastic thing that kind of just like.

And it just, the whole thing looks a bit shady, really, to be honest. I'm like, I don't, I just, I know the engineers are smart and they've figured out all the tolerances and all that, but the 

Inger: plastic. Yeah. I don't, I don't know. Yeah. I don't know. And then that's the, the sort of thing you come out with from the Aldi Irish site. Yeah. And it's like, it's okay, but 

Jason: is it, we all have our, we all have our weak moments, right? Like , we all descend. We all descend. Um, alright, what do we do? So other than, other than that, um, what can I report?

 I've done what I always do when Kath goes away, she goes away and I go, the way we do that around this household doesn't work.

So we're going to do, we're going to do it a different way. So the last time she went away, I bought a robot vacuum, you know, like the Roomba robot vacuums, um, Nicknamed him Robbie and Robbie does heaps of work now, like Kath was like, how much did that cost? And the next phrase, and I started answering, she goes, I don't want to know.

Probably good. Probably. Um. Can I 

Inger: try the stairs though? Is it like a Dalek? No. No. No. So do you have to? What do you do with that? Do you have to actually chuck him in the 

Jason: upstairs? Yeah, I just I just move him up and down. 

Inger: Um. Oh, you move him up. Of course, right? You just chuck him upstairs, right oh? 

Jason: Yeah, and then just let him go.

So I love it. I love it. Right. The whole, it comes with an app and I can be a jujitsu and go, Oh, I forgot to do the house and press the button and you'll go out and you'll bloody do stuff. It's a beautiful thing. But this time I've been complaining for the last few months about our frying pans and they're all, um, they're all kind of like shitty.

So they're just like, they're at the end of their life. They're pretty old. They've had a good life, but I'm like, I'm done with it. But not knowing when black Friday actually was. I just happened to see Black Friday on the adverts on a Friday, but it was a Friday, like two weeks in advance of Black 

Inger: Friday.

And so it wasn't really Black Friday? But I thought it 

Jason: was because I like didn't care. I was just like, Oh, it must be Black Friday. You know, whatever. So I went out and bought a whole new set of frying pans. 

Inger: Not at Black Friday prices? 

Jason: Not at Black Friday prices. But are they awesome? They're awesome. , they don't come with lids, um, which is okay.

I knew, I kind of knew that, but I got stitched up because they're not induction cooktops, uh, compatible. Oh, have 

Inger: they got an induction? No. But you need to get one 

Jason: soon. Yeah. We're going to put solar on the roof and so we'll probably just, we'll replace the solar panel. The gas hobs. 

Inger: Well, while you're in there, you might as well do all that stuff, right?

Yeah. You know, get your electric car thing in the garage. 

Jason: No, although Kath's car, I've been, I've been driving her little car around over the last, um, last couple of weeks, which has been great because it's an automatic and I'm a manual driver. You forget how convenient an automatic is. 

Inger: It's like sitting in a lounge chair and just putting your foot, I love 

Jason: it.

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, but when we replace her car, we'll replace it with a, with a little electric one, I 

Inger: think. So I've heard about the BYD. Which is a Chinese brand, Build Your Dreams, BYD. Oh, okay, yes. So they have a whole series of them. And there's one called the Seagull, which is a little hatchback. And it is going to be, get this Jason, 24, 000.

Jason: Yeah, that's about the right price, isn't 

Inger: it? Yeah. That's at the point where people are like, fuck it, I'm buying an electric car. And it's got really good range. Like I want one. I was looking at it going, Ooh, can I justify the Tez? Will it play nicely with others? Like, will my Tesla be like one of those dogs that's like, don't bring another pet into this house or will it actually play nice?

I don't know, like, it's so hard to tell. 

Jason: I, yeah, I haven't been looking, but I hope they sort out the whole interconnectivity thing, you know, the plugs. Oh, they've sorted that out. Oh, have they? Yeah. Oh, good. 

Inger: Like, they're all compatible now. That's because Europe goes, fuck y'all, y'all, you're all going to have a standard.

Yeah. And they made them have a standard, and now there is a standard. Like they did with USB C 3. They're like, all of you mobile phone charging things, you're all going to have the same one, so you can reuse your cords. 

Jason: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks Europe. Good work. Yeah. Liked it. Yeah. 

Inger: Yeah. I understand why they wanted Brexit, because they don't like that sort of thing, do they, them?

Whoever they are. Should we do some mailbag? 

Jason: Yeah, that's, yeah, that's pretty much me. Like, do we 

Inger: feel like we've got enough energy? Like, you know, it's like late. 

Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Um, how about we Do you want to see how far we get? Yeah, let's, let's do one. And we'll see how we go. We'll just see how we go. 

Inger: So. Um, you, it's in pink, so it's yours. You 

Jason: go ahead. Got it. Uh, we've got a letter here. It's titled a letter from Kevin, which is, um, which is great. I think 

Inger: that's my title, not his title, 

Jason: but it's a, make it, make an awesome title.

It'd be if Kevin 

Inger: had written that. It's good name for a band. Letter from Kevin. Very 90s. 

Jason: I hope this, uh, I hope this finds you both well in your corner of the world. I'm a big fan of the podcast primarily because of the principled approach that you take as a mid career, mid career academic with two small children, linking productivity to a better work life balance is a very important principle.

Yes, we agree. Thanks for sharing the discussion and tips with us all. Following Jason's text expander for marking suggestion recently, that left me to save three hours on marking a hundred assignments. That's a big win. Yeah. It is a big win. Yeah. Well done Kevin. Yeah. Text expander for marking for just, you know, useful, but repeatable comments are just, it's a game changer.

It's so good. Totally. Kevin's got a suggestion for a discussion topic for the podcast, which is rooted in your experiences and my own as an early forties academic looking to the next stage of his career. It's inspired by this recent article in the economist about the difference between leader and manager, and there's a link there and, um, I'm.

I'm just going to assume that Inga will put it in the show notes. Yeah, I will. Yep. Yep. Uh, Kevin writes, I wondered two things. A, your thoughts on this question in an academic context. 

Inger: Like what's the difference between a leader and a manager? Like that's the question, our thoughts on that question. Yep. 

Jason: He has in parenthesis here, I suspect a lot of the toxic toxicity in academia comes from wannabe leaders with egos, but don't quote me on that hot day.

Inger: I'm sure the previous university, Kevin, it wasn't the university you're at and we haven't given you a surname. So you were all safe, dude. 

Jason: Yeah. 

Inger: Kevin with two kids in their early forties. That's it, Kev. There's got to be a lot about Kev. Yeah. You're right. Fine. 

Jason: Um, and B, now I'm so shy about reading the next sentence, I'm reading it in advance to make sure I'm not going to give something away.

And B, what it means for mid career academics pondering the next steps in their careers, i. e. whether to go for that admin role. Thanks as ever for the great work. 

Inger: now can I just say before you, before you respond, cause I'll let you respond to that. I think like you're better placed to talk about this than me, but I did reply to him and I congratulated him, Jason, on finding your address because it was one of the rare males that's actually addressed to both of us.

And he replied that he would credit his skills as, and I'm not going to say the discipline, but skills as a humanities discipline that, you know, he's known for details. And he said, he would say it was that, but it was actually a Google search and I'm not going to reveal what the Google search was because he told us what it was because we don't want to blow your cover, Jason.

But, um, but he did then just say that the text expander, we had a little bit of repartee that this happens. If you email us and you get into a chat, this has happened a couple of times this month. we end up in this like back and forward, like we should just like, you know, you get free advice. Let me just say, um, so Texi's fan have won back plenty of time playing with small boys.

But it was wet and wintery there in the Northern European country from which he was, um, cause we're not blowing your cover now, Kevin. Um, so didn't, didn't get an ice cream bonus. So we hope you got like, toddies. Soup. Oh yeah. Nice. There's got to be some sort of text expander winter version. Yeah.

Because we always say, don't we, Jason, like the, the time you save, don't give it back to your employer, you know, take your efficiency dividend and spend it on pleasurable things like eating ice cream with kids, but maybe, I don't know, what's the winter, like toasted cheese sandwiches. I don't 

Jason: know. Ah, yeah.

Yeah. We don't 

Inger: encourage poor eating habits, 

Jason: right? But even if it's just like, if you've, if you're lucky enough to have a house that's got like an open fire or something like that, it's just like knock off early, sit down, you know, lounge out in front of that open fire and just feel the toasty goodness.

Inger: Yeah. Yeah. Just let, let it seep into your bones. Anyway. Yeah. I'm about to go to the Northern winter. So that's front of mind for me. I packed all my junk. Here it's quite cold. Um, so what do you think? Do you, should he go for that admin role, Jason, your thoughts, please? Should you be a manager in the organization?

Jason: It's the pressures are different. They, they very much are. And, and that will take a little while to get used to. So if you did decide that you're going to jump to the professional role from the outside, it looks easy. Like stuff gets done. There's a whole, there's a whole bunch of people who've got really specific skill sets and they're kind of all.

Arranged in such a way as to help the university to move the way through, right? So you've got change managers and you've got project managers and you've got excel wizards and you've got people who do timetabling You've got they've all got these kind of hyper specific skills And the the trick is to kind of put them together in such a way that the university works, right?

So from the outside that doesn't look like it's too much of a hard puzzle to solve But of course it is so once you get once you leave Being an academic and dealing with all of the systems and processes and all of the unique things that you are required to know and understand and do as an academic in order to make the teaching and research side of it work and all of that is it's geared in such a way I don't want to say this is geared in such a way that Um, Um, it's, it's supposed to support the academic to be able to do that work.

It doesn't always get implemented that way, and it doesn't always feel like that. But the purpose of these things are there's a system that you log into in order to be able to do a thing that can help you to do your job more efficiently so that you can become a better researcher or a better teacher.

And they're all kind of pointed at you as an academic. whEn you move into a professional role, you're thinking about all of these things in a, in a, like in a much more different way. So you have to think about how all these systems and processes all hang together and what the final outcome is. Uh, and then you have to manage a whole bunch of people who have all got very specific skills in order to be able to make these things work in the way in which the university thinks it wants it to make these things work, right?

There's a whole lot of change management that goes along with that. And there's a whole lot of people management that goes along with that. The kind of set up that you've got with role descriptions, you have to go along and you have to put major change processes in place and you have to, you know, recast those roles and redescribe those roles and then, you know, offer people the opportunity to reapply for those roles, if that's what you want to do.

And there's, you know, there's a whole lot of, there's a whole lot of legal stuff around all of that. And like, so it's not. Easy. The skillset that you require is vastly different on the other side of the fence. However, having said that it's a space that I've met some amazingly wonderful people and I really do enjoy working in that.

In that particular space, the the way in which you can reach out and this is across, you know, different universities, um, I've worked in professional spaces and, uh, not just at La Trobe, but also, uh, RMIT to be able to reach out to some of these people and sort of say, Hey, I've got this problem that I really need to try and solve.

And, and they're like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's get together. And you have a lot of meetings, but you get there and they're all in, right? Like everybody's in to try and make the thing work better. The things that you would probably really want to consider around that, the more senior, the role, the longer you'll work and the responsibilities higher and that's, you know, that's fair enough.

It's the same in kind of academia as well. By the time you get to become a professor, you're in charge of a whole bunch of other people. Yes. Um, a whole bunch of other people and their careers and research and all that sort of, you've got teams and all that sort of stuff. You don't have to move very far up a professional hierarchy really, before you start to get people working for you. If you don't like working with people or managing people, think really carefully about whether or not you want to pick up a professional role unless you want to do a professional role, that's very, very specific and very, very skills based and, um, and that you don't want to sort of move into a management space.

Around that and then all of the stuff that, uh, that you hear about managers in, you know, corporate everything that all applies in academia as well. Right. You get good ones, you get bad ones. And you know, I've experienced the whole gamut. around all of that. Me too. Yeah. And you know, some of the, and the lessons that you learn are as part of that, of having to navigate your way through that can sometimes be pretty painful.

I will not provide, I will not give you advice about whether or not you should jump the fence. I can say I'm Reflecting on my own career I'm glad that I did. I sometimes wake up in the mornings and I get, you know, quite nostalgic about my time as an academic, as an academic, as an academic, as an academic.

I, nearly every day I miss teaching. , You know, , and I think, , \ , I was thinking about it afterwards, um, Inga, you know, where we, we sat together with that presentation that you did, you know, like I kind of, I snapped back, like you asked a 

Inger: couple of questions. You're really good at it. Like you went straight to like bang and I was like, Oh yeah, he's right.

And then like, you know, I'm just saying you are good at it. I can see why you miss it. 

Jason: Yeah. Yeah. And I just, I really enjoyed, I really enjoyed that, but you know, the other parts of being an academic, I did not enjoy, um, as much. 

Inger: So I think you've got to love research and not everyone does. The job is 90 percent teaching and admin and stuff for most people. But the research gets this inflated importance in terms of your career progression and people feel a lot of stress over it and there's targets and there's metrics and it takes all the joy out of research. And I reckon a lot more people would enjoy it and probably be more productive if we weren't so hot on measuring every fucking thing about like, we're going to go into evening on the reg.

On the reg unplugged and I could get my rant on, maybe I should stop, but you know, I also had to say like picking up on what you said there, I work in a sort of hybrid space, I suppose. Like some people with my role are on a high level professional executive appointment like yours is Jason. And some people, very few people are actually academics.

I insisted on staying academic when I took this role. And so I don't have a department. I don't have that interdepartmental kind of jostling for money and. Um, power and, um, you know, I, so I hear a lot of those stories from my fellow academics and I've never really experienced that side of academia, but I can say just sitting on this side, it's it, that professional side is I think more deeply collegial by nature.

It's default collegial, like we've got a job to do. How do we pull together? I love teamwork. You know, I love that feeling of being with other people and. And I really, I think a lot of academics are really lonely. 

Jason: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I can't count the number of times I walked into, um, as an academic, walked into the building in the morning, sat in my little cubicle office space all day, did my thing, trucked out there.

Afterwards, at the end of the day, didn't see anyone. You know, like that's, if you're an outgoing person, that's, that's tricky, you can't do that for too long. Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I would absolutely agree with your assessment about professional stuff being deeply collegial. I've always found them incredibly helpful and I've always, you know, tried to be helpful in response, right?

Yeah. Yeah. Because that's how, that's how you get things done. 

Inger: I think I am helpful enough that I get the complaints about academics and people forget that I'm an academic. And then I'm like, so, hey, I'm an academic thing. Yeah. But you're not one of them, Inga. And I was like, oh, okay. Thanks. Like, okay. But I can kind of understand it.

I can see it from both sides. I can see the frustrations building up from both sides. It's like when the chief stew and the cook start fighting on below deck.

Jason: It very much is, yes, of course. That's 

Inger: all I've been doing for the last five days while sick, is all I can manage is to watch Below Deck. Boy, have I watched a lot, like, and re watched, re watched some as well, oh my god, I'm a sad addict. Do you feel up to any, thank you for that letter, Kevin, and we enjoyed our little repartee, a little CC to each other.

There's one, I want to just read this number four here because it's so short. Um, it's like Turinger, 4th of November, subject left academia, but keeping on the reg in the body of the email was just thanks to you and Jason for all you do. And then Kirsten Brown Donovan, so she, Kirsten, I witnessed your friend.

You've left academia keeping us the best part of it. Yeah. 

Jason: Wow. 

Inger: That's awesome. Thanks for keeping us. We appreciate you. 

Jason: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I wish you all the best in your post academia life, whatever that is, whatever that is. 

Inger: Absolutely. And I'm sure it's going to be great. You know, everyone I know who's left has just come back and they've found something that's really cool.

Like really, really good friend of mine who's been after an academic career, I must say like he's been pursuing it hard for 15 or 20 years, Jason. Like, you know, always sort of being on the outer, a very long time to do the PhD for various reasons, lots of casual work, blah, blah, blah. Finally finishes PhD, gets the dream job.

We're all going, wow, look at that job he just got, amazing job. Um, six months in, when this is fucked, I hate everything about this, I hate my boss, I hate, is this the life I've, you know, like that. Actually, I've got to give him credit, like, went through a kind of three month, very quick grieving process and was like, I'm out, what's next?

And applied for 50 jobs. He sat down one day and applied for 50 jobs. Like, does nothing by halves, this friend of mine, who I'm not going to name. Scored a great, great job. Started last week. Congratulations, mate. Really glad, happy for you. Oh, the salary, because he was on a level B in Australia, which is about, I don't know, it's about 74, 000.

In Australia, that's pretty entry level money. And he's immediately doubled his salary. And he's like, Oh, and it's half the work. Like I go there and it's like, this is easy. And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And he's like, I could live, like, I'm now on a good wage, having fun in the hometown. Good for you. Anyway, we salute you on the way out Kirsten.

Yeah. Do it. Do it. Do you feel up to any of these? 

Jason: Do you think? We still, we still, we still accept letters. So Kirsten, Kirsten, come back to us in 12 months time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let us know how, what it's like on the outside. Yeah, yeah. Is it like, are any, are any of the tips and tricks that we, uh, that we've been providing it on the reg, are they helpful in the post academic world?

Uh, I 

Inger: think I'm around the mailbag. What do you think? Do we do any more of these? Cause 

Jason: now we're unstructured and unfocused 

Inger: at this point. I think, I think we'd like, we've really trespassed on your ability to listen to us, crap on to each other, unplugged, you know, MTV unplugged version of us. 

Jason: The last time we recorded it in the evening, we said we'd never record in the evening again.

And look at 

Inger: us now. Yeah, I think we've been having good chat, but I think you're right. And we're going to skip everything else. and we're going to go straight to outro. We're going to do any two minute tips. Do you want to do that at all? Or do you want to, like, what do Um, I I like this free forming.

Like, we're just picking the bits we want to do. 

Jason: I, I do want to talk about my, two minute tip 

Inger: just at the moment. I looked at all that. I'm like, I kind of get it, but I don't really, so I really, um, I'm here for it. Intro us in Jason. 

Jason: Okay. So Obsidian World, for those of 

Inger: you, are we going to do the intro for two minute tips?

It's like where the wheels are falling off. This is terrible, isn't it? You think that we're an unprofessional pod, like most of the time, right? Like, I think we're fairly loosey goosey, but like, when you compare it to this, this, we are like, normally, like, we're so on top of our game, Jason. 

Jason: What was that, um, what was that, uh, Below Decks episode where the, the deckie, he was like Brazilian or Portuguese or something like that, and he was just terrible.

I don't know if you've seen his video. Oh, there's been 

Inger: so many terrible ones, though. 

Jason: Yeah. And he got fired, right? Like, and he was just, he was really, really bad. Like the rules were don't do this thing. Like don't take photographs of the guests, the charter guests and all that. So he's taking photographs.


Inger: don't kiss the charter guests 

Jason: and everything. And he's kissing the charter guests and all the rest of it. So he breaks, he breaks all the rules and he gets sacked. Right. Um, and, but in that. The exit interview that they have as he, as he's got, he goes, you know, but the advantage of being so terrible is that it sets the bar really low so that you can improve from there.

And I'm like, I sometimes feel a little bit like this episode tonight, is that bar setting episode. You could 

Inger: change that we're having Christmas drinks, right? Because, right. Like, we're going to put this one out mid December, but people will be having Christmas drinks. And I might just put a warning in the show, like, in the, like didactic, like have a few eggnogs.

Yes. Just turn us on and then start yelling at your phone, like get it together, Ingrid and Jason. Never record at nine o'clock in the evening again or whatever fucking time it is right now.

Okay, intro us in Jason, at least try and be a little bit professional.

Jason: This next segment Inga, is our two minute, she says, forgetting the cough mute. I've 

Inger: been pretty good up till now though, you have to 

Jason: admit it. No, yeah, yeah, it's been good. It's pretty funny to actually watch you try and actually cough your lungs up. But it's in silent, like silent movie and I'm like, every time you do that, I'm like, Ooh, 

Inger: is she still breathing?

Is she just, that's it. 

Jason: Am I going to have to just continue this whole thing by myself at the end? All right. Two minute tips. There's some editing for you to do. Um. Two minute tips. This segment is in honor of David Allen and his classic getting things done book. Allen argues that if a task will take less than two minutes to complete, you should do it then and there, because it'll take longer than two minutes to capture it in your task system, to schedule time to do it, mark it as complete.

All the yada, yada, yada that you do with tasks that take longer than two minutes. Anyway, we just really. We kind of riff on that a little bit and we just use this as an opportunity to talk about things that we think are going to help you and that we found help us. Some of these are a little bit longer than two minutes.

Um, other podcasts would do this at the start, but we leave it right to the end as a treat. So welcome. We're in the, we're in the final. Countdown to the end of this particular episode. Thank God says everybody, um, my two minutes here, I found a plug in for, uh, Obsidian. 

Inger: Now did you get this from the field guide by McSparky?

This is a different one than the one he uses in that. No, 

Jason: it's the same one. It's just that I found it before I saw the McSparky field guide lesson on it. Yeah. So he has a 

Inger: lesson. If you have the field guide and you listen to what Jason's saying, bearing in mind, it's past 9pm now. That we would, you know, if you want like the, the easy version, watch that in the field guide.

Yeah. We should, we should get some. Are 

Jason: you, are you saying I'm not as good as Max Barkey? No, I'm just, 

Inger: I'm just like, Jason, I witness, I celebrate and support you, go. Right. Just giving people a backup. 

Jason: Okay. Thanks. Um. Um, most of my work is, , project based and so it lends itself to the use of, Kanban boards, , as a way of being able to manage individual tasks 

Inger: within the project.

Do you want to just quickly Kanban board is with my perfect answer hat 

Jason: on? So a Kanban board is a way of being able to track tasks along their various stages of development. So. For example, a typical Kanban board would have five columns so if you're going to start a project, for example, and you brain dump, all of the tasks that are going to be required

in that particular project and you put them on sticky notes, you would put those sticky notes in the backlog column. So they're kind of unstructured, all these notes in there and like you, and you kind of, yep, I'm going to get to them. We're going to do those tasks as part of this project. , your next column over would be a ready column.

So that would be where. You would look at all of your tasks and you would say, okay, which ones are kind of we're staging them ready to, to get ready to do something with them. And so you would pull them out of your backlog. Um, column and put them in your ready column. Now, my advice here is not to have too many in the ready column at any one time.

You want to start to limit, and we've talked about this before. Yeah. You want to limit your work in progress and we'll get work in progress in a second. But you want to also limit your ready column. You don't want to have, you don't want to open those loops in your head. If you know what I mean, keep them, keep them all in the backlog.

Like, you know, they're there, they're nice and safe. You're going to get to them eventually. So you just, you kind of stage the next one. So you're going to work the next column over would be your work in progress column. So you would move your sticky note from ready where it's like, yep, I've got all the things I need to do to do this task.

Going to put work in progress column. And that's when you work on that particular task. So your work in progress column. Acts as your, I'm doing this right now. So on this day, I'm working on this task and if it's not in the work in progress column, you don't work on it. So even though you might want to work on the, on the sexy, funny task, that's back in your backlog somewhere else.

Cause it's interesting. It's not in the work in progress column, so you don't work on it. You only work on it once it gets to that work in progress column and that. Column is really useful to limit the amount of tasks, any one, any set of tasks that you've got going at any particular time, um, because you're going to have to manage your time.

And it, it helps you to just stay on target. I'm focusing on this particular thing. I have another column, which is my waiting for column. And this is when I have got a task, but I've had to hand it off or something, a bit of it off to someone else for something for input. So I might have a bit where I'm waiting for Inga to do a thing.

And until she does her thing, I can't kind of progress this. Task anywhere forward. So it'll kind of sit there or just park there until anger comes back with her, with her input. And then when she comes back, I then move it back into the work in progress and process the task out. And the final column is the delivered column or the done column or the shipped.

Column depending on how you want to call it. And this is when, once you've worked on your particular task, it's done, you get the satisfaction of tearing the sticky note off, slap it in the done column and get that kind of little endorphin rush, right? And it's done. The advantage of a Kanban board is that if it's an actual physical board on a wall, somewhere, other people can see the work they can see at what stage works at, they can see what you're doing, you know, really quick, easy way to get a sense of how the project is progressing.

And it's just an awesome, it's an awesome way to kind of manage projects. Inga's talked about, she does this with her team. She's got boards in, in built into her team's site. So they manage all of their sort of stuff through that. 

Inger: It's Microsoft Planner plugin, right?

Planner. Microsoft Planner. And you can see it as a list, but I prefer to see it as the columns. We don't run them like, you've got, you did a very nice description of them as one of the nicest descriptions. I've heard actually, and I wrote a little note down when you said that, I thought, Ooh, it'd be good.

I've been thinking about what's a giveaway we can give away at induction. I thought we could make a, we could make a Kanban sort of board that has posted note and then just have some stuff down the bottom. People could put it on their wall. I thought, that's good. Like those columns are really good. I really loved the waiting for, I've never used it in that traditional method.

I've used it in hella 50 different ways, but not the actual. Straightforward and actually, you know, the sometimes original is best. 

Jason: There's a book I will recommend later, um, we'll add it into the show notes, which is the I think it's look I'll put it into the show notes, which is one that I read that taught me how to use these Kanban boards.

It'll be a couple of hundred pages long and it's got lots of examples of how to use them. And it talks. at quite some depth about how all this works. You get the whole history of Kanban boards. Oh, 

Inger: I love that. I want to download that. You've forgotten the name of it. So I can't. Yeah. I'll dig it up and I'll let you know, 

Jason: I'll send you a, I'll send you a note, but, um, and we'll stick it in the show notes, but that's an excellent, that's an excellent book.

Because it describes the, the basic one, which I've just described then. And then it's got other, more advanced versions of this with swim lanes and all sorts of stuff going on. I love that, I 

Inger: love that kind of notary, yeah. 

Jason: Yeah, it's deep notary, it's good. Yeah, it rings our bells. Yeah. You can have physical Kanban boards, of course.

Um, but we're working in obsidian land, so we've got digital and I've got a plugin for that. So I have been using my Kanban boards. I've been spinning up Kanban boards that are significant projects at work. So not my day to day work. That's an omni focus, right? But it's when, okay, I'm getting into re registration project, like for the next four hours, I'm going to be working on that.

Or for the next four hours, I'm going to be working on this other project that I've got going around online exams, or, you know, like, I'm just going to work on this particular project. So where it's a significant thing, there's a deliverable against it, and it's tied back to career success and all that sort of stuff, you know, you're worth in the organization.

I have a Kanban board for that. Um, What I like about the Obsidian one is that you write a card, so like a little post it note, but that doesn't generate a note, right? So it 

Inger: stays as like a little object 

Jason: on Yep, a little object, and it never turns up inside your it never turns up inside your notes down the list in your file structure.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what you can do is you can click on the title and you can right click and you can make a note out of it. So it will create a new note and then it will create that into your library, your, your note library. Yeah. So, which is really good. So it gives the. It takes whatever you've written on the title of the card, it takes that and that makes that the title of the night.

, which is really good because that's when you can start to put all your other bits and pieces around it and all that sort of stuff. And it's like with the plan of the Microsoft planner one, you, you've got comments and all that sort of stuff that you can add to it. This is your own way of being able to add your own notes and do all that sort of stuff.

To it really, really, really helpful. So. But what it does is it kicks those notes into your normal library makes them, you know, like then you have to go and structure them and do all sorts of stuff. So my two minute tip, if you're going to use Kanban boards and you're going to use them for projects is that you have folders for the relevant project.

You create a folder where you pre pinned a little emoji house. So the title of the, the title of the folder has a little emoji house. Uh, the title of the note has a little emoji house and then the title of the project and in that particular note, you put all of the details about the project, what you're going to do, who's on the project, all of the kind of the craft that supports the particular project.

And then you can just click back to that whenever you need to. Right. And by having the little house emoji at the front, you can identify it quickly in your list. 

Inger: Which is a Tiago Forte tip from Para, by the way. Ah, excellent. Yeah. He's big on emojis in file titles and stuff like that. And it does work cause your eye.

He's theory is that we're sort of our visual field is designed to kind of sort patterns. You think about like hunter gatherers would sit there and like have to sort out the garlic bulbs that weren't rotten from the ones that were rotten. Like our visual system is actually really geared well for things like gardening and picking food out of salads and things like that.

Like that's, and so that you're mobilizing that ability. Anyway, I'm going to not nerd on that right now, but that's, that's a good technique is to put an emoji in there and the same sort of emoji so you know what, 

Jason: what's what. So you know what it is. The other advantage of this is that obsidian sorts by alphabetical order.

Yeah. So if you put a, if you've got a folder, let's call it the Inga project and your top note in that is house slash Inga project. Yeah. And then it's got all the details about the Inga project in there. That, that emoji will go straight to the top of the list. Do you know what I mean? Like a number word, yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. So if you've got a, if you've got another note, a, a, a, a, a, a dash Inga or something like that, it would appear underneath the one that's got the house in it. Yeah. Yeah. So the emojis, they, they, they get promoted. When you create a Kanban board, you get to name your Kanban board. And what I do is I name it the Inga project, but I put a little highway symbol at the top at the front of it.

And that distinguishes it in your index list down the side as a Kanban board versus. A just a normal note. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So when you are scanning down, you can go, oh, okay. I'm in the Inga project folder. This is my home note. The next one down is the Kanban board. Yeah. Where you've got a, where you do all your kind of work with your cards and all the rest of it.

Yeah. And, and then your notes that get generated when you create a note in that particular Kanban board. So, you know how I said before, you click on the title of the note, uh, you click on the title of the card, you can create a note. You default all of the notes in that particular Kanban board to turn up in that folder for that project.

So in the Inga folder. Yeah. So what you, what you end up with is the Inga project folder. Inside that you get a note, which has got a house and the Inga project as its title. And it's got all the details about what the project is and what you're going to do and all the rest of it.

The next one down is a little highway emoji symbol with the Inga project next to it. Yeah. As in work highway. That's it. All the things that are on your work highway. Yeah. Um, is the next one down. So you've got. The metadata, then you've got your working space and then underneath that will be all of the notes that you generate from your Kanban board, um, as you go.

And it just keeps it all together. I love that 

Inger: idea because it would be very much like the way that I organize my writing is usually in Excel tables. So I've got, you know, column for this column for that column for that. I'm already thinking how. A kanban board in Obsidian could be a really good way of organizing writing, because what I'm struggling with at the moment is, well I'm not struggling, I'm writing like a crazy woman because Obsidian is such a great tool for writing, but it's getting, it's getting messily disorganized, whereas if it was organized through a kanban board there's a To go and visit and access all those things without necessarily looking for it alphabetically all the time.

Cause alphabetically doesn't always make sense. What you want to do is go, what am I working on at the moment? And I love that idea of like keeping the work in progress and keeping the ready, um, quite sort of light. So you, it forces you to focus down on a few things rather. Then engage in structured procrastination, Jason, you know, have the things you're meant to do, but you have a big list of things that you're not meant to do.

And the naughty parts of you goes and does the things you're not meant to do, which make you productive anyway. But that doesn't always work to actually get a project delivered. So I'm going to try setting that up for writing and I'll report back. Cause I think it's actually a similar kind of workflow problem.

Jason: Yeah. So I've seen one of your Excel spreadsheets with all of the reading that you need to do. These are all the journal articles, right? Oh yes. I sent you 

Inger: that 

Jason: one. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so each of those journal articles could become a card in your backlog. 

Inger: Oh yeah. Oh, I love that. Yes. So for people who don't know, I did a Mind the Gap in the literature and I'll put the link in the show notes where I detail how I used Excel spreadsheet to sort of organize the reading before I even get it into Zotero.

So this would be a better way to do it because then you've got the notes and the, yeah. 

Jason: So if you, you just have the title of, I don't know, whichever way your brain works, right? Is it author or title as the card title. And then you would create a note from that card title. Yeah. And it would probably be reading notes or quotes or something like that.

And then everything related to that particular article would stay in that folder. 

Inger: Yeah. I like this idea of the Kanban being the way that you give a project structure rather than try and just force it into like, Different types of, , folders inside. Like I've, I've got something that isn't working for me right now.

So I'm going to try this and hopefully it will work. By the way, Melissa Kasten, who I mentioned at the start, Professor Melissa Kasten, she introduced me to, she said, Oh, Inga, I don't know about Obsidian. She's been dancing around it. Another ex Evernote fan and Evernote looks like it's fully getting insidified now.

Like they're changing all the plans and everything. So everyone knows they have to move, but they're all like, Oh, where do I go? It's like the Exodus from Twitter, but much quieter and less complaining. Um, and so she was like, looked at Obsidian and I will admit this about Obsidian. Like it's so customizable that it can be a bit blank slate ish when you get there and you're like, how do I even.

really start, which is where the McSparky's field guide is really great because it helps you give it some structure. But she looked at and showed me capacities, which like Notion, like Obsidian, they're all working on the same sort of relational database type of idea. And I did lose an afternoon to exploring capacities.

And it looks like a more set up version of Obsidian and not quite as opaque as I find Notion. So I think it's a nice middle ground, but again, it's a subscription service. And again, it's in the cloud. And again, I think with notes though, you can actually bring down onto your hard drive though. So I think that is one of the differences.

Don't quote me on that. I got too caught up in the interface, but the interface is very nice. But I think in the end, a lot of the people I've talked to, they've sort of danced around different things and they've come back to Obsidian. It's robust. It's got a developer community around it. And actually Melissa wrote to me recently and said, you know how I was really into capacities and I was really excited about it.

I have to fold it back to old fashioned index cards. And I was like, go for you, go girl, I recognize you. And I. Celebrate your index card. Actually, one of the boot campers brought her index card and it was a big double decker. She had a couple of double decker ones and she was like, this helps me, don't judge me.

And I'm like, I'm not judging, whatever gets you through the nights. Like you used to be able to actually tell who was the PhD student in the library by the fact that they carried Index card boxes because they bloody work. So, and you've got one, you, you love your index cards. Yeah. 

Jason: Yeah. I've got a pile of index cards sitting on my desk right now.

We almost 

Inger: did a whole like on the reg episode about Kanban boards then, which probably we could have just done as a whole episode, but it was 

Jason: good. It's, um, it's bloody good. I'm just saying I'm just saying it is. And I haven't seen that Max Barkey, uh, lesson. I did see it in the list of lessons after I'd started playing with this thing.

Inger: It's got wonderful clarity and you can put to do lists on Kanban boards and a lot of people manage themselves. Ah, okay. Not, it's like an, an omni focus replacement to put to do lists in a Kanban board in, and then use YAML, yet another markup language, to pull all the to do. I've got one of those sort of, anyway, I could look, anyway, I could see how people would use Kanban boards.

To do, and YAML, which is the sort of coding language to make a sort of poor man's OmniFocus, but I'm not poor, Jason. 

Jason: No, and 

Inger: obsidian, and I love, I fucking love obsidian, and you take it from my dead cold hands. Yeah. 

Jason: OmniFocus is awesome. Um, uh, you know, I could talk all night about, um, but I am at the moment, I am rethinking my Bujo OmniFocus Obsidian interface.

Like you got, you do, you do have to juggle them 

Inger: a little bit. You do. You do. But I mean, I, I find Bujo just, I just downgrade, I know you have a much more central in your life, but for me, it's much more like a support player. And it works and, and like OmniFocus is the main game in tasks and Obsidian is the main game in everything else, everything else, pretty much that's my workspace.

And that was the missing thing for me, like that flexible, big work desk. Like you imagine your digital place is like a artist studio and an artist studio will always have a big workbench. Like Obsidian's my workbench. I should blog that. 

Jason: Yeah. You should. Do that. I should. That'd be an awesome blog post.

Inger: Yeah. Um. Hey. We should go. It's late. We should go. It's bloody late. 

Jason: Bloody 

Inger: late. It's late. It's not been up all week. Cause you know, the only thing about being sick is you get your rest. Yeah. Yeah. 

Jason: It's good, but like not the sick rest. Um, I see we've got a couple of, uh, we've got a couple of reviews. We love reviews.

We do. We're going to hold them over for 2024. We'll keep them off. Oh my 

Inger: God. Are we? Cause they're two good ones. Yeah. You're right. We should hold them over. We'll tease. We're teasing you. Keep sending us some more. Cause we've got some, some stuff left in our mailbag here, but like we could do a mailbag episode at the start of the year.

If you just like over Christmas time, like, Hey, you're Jason. How do you do this? Yeah, yeah. Should I go to Byron Gray for, and rent a holiday house? And the answer to that is yes, you know, but if you do want any like question answers, should I eat the Christmas pudding? The answer is also yes. You know, like we'll just answer yes to everything.

So, you know, send us something, speak pipe or email or whatever over the Christmas. 

Jason: And if you've got a little bit of downtime and, and you're, you're feeling, you're feeling generous over Christmas, drop us a five star review on Apple podcasts. 

Inger: That would be, you know, if you want to give us a Christmas present.

That is what we want, scroll down now, click five stars. You don't have to write a review. You can do that without writing a review or you can feel real generous, dial up the eggnog and write us 

Jason: a review. Um, please, , write to us, uh, send us a speak pipe, leave us a review.

We'd love to hear from you. We're wishing you all the very best over the, uh, Christmas festive break. In, in Australia, we actually get, we get about a week, 10 days, something like that, where we actually, the universities are all closed down and we all scurry off to the beach. Which is lovely if you're in the Northern climes as our good friend, Kevin is, I hope you're bundled up and nice and warm and toasty.

Yeah. And 

Inger: you can talk to us in the meantime, there's over the page there. 

Jason: You can find us on blue sky. Um, Inga's at Thesis Whisperer and I'm at Dr. JD. Inga is sadly addicted to threads, so you can also find her there as Thesis Whisperer. All the best. I talk 

Inger: to a lot of our listeners on threads, Jason.

I'm just saying. 

Jason: Yeah, yeah. Okay. I, I, I. You know, I, I, I delegate to you all responsibility for threads. You're like, knock, knock yourself out. Have a great time. If you want to send us an email, you can, you can find Inga's work mail on the about page of thesiswhisperer. com. Yeah. Thank you all. 

Inger: Uh, have a great day.

Jason: And we look forward to reconnecting with everyone in 

Inger: 2024. Yeah, we will. Happy New Year. Happy Christmas. Happy days of not Christmas if you don't celebrate, just, you know, take the time, have a break. Yeah. See 

Jason: ya, Inga. See ya. See ya, Jess.