Align Your Activities

by | Nov 9, 2016 | academic writing, time management

If you’ve been following my posts, I’ve been encouraging you to do some writing exercises that help you focus on your academic niche and mission (check out how to find your niche, write your one page, and write your one sentence). The goal of these activities is developing your focus so you can publish more. In this post, I’m going to talk about how to align all of your activities so that they support your mission to publish more.

If you’ve done the exercises, you know what your niche is. Now you need to know how to carve it. What I mean by “carving your niche” is establishing yourself as an authority in the niche that you’ve identified.

We establish our authority in academia by making our work public. You can quickly become an authority in your niche through publications, presentations, and external funding awards. But you are actually establishing yourself in your niche with everything you do: the courses you teach, the conferences you attend, the students you mentor, the networks you are a part of.

One of the major problems in academia is that we are pulled to do too many things. Because of this, it is easy to lose focus from our niche. We feel overwhelmed because we no longer have time to do those activities that we know we need to do but that take time and concentration, like writing and reading.

This is where time management comes in. You can’t do everything, even if other people tell you that you have to (department chair I’m looking at you). Some very worthy and potentially interesting projects are going to have to be cut.

Time to deploy your laser focus. Read your ONE SENTENCE (write your in this how-to post). Your goal is to make all of your academic activities support your goal of establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.

Say “no”depending on whether the activity can support your goal. When you are asked to serve on a committee, take on a project, teach a class, or take on a student, check your ONE SENTENCE and ask yourself:

Does this activity help me develop myself as a scholar in my niche? How?

If the answer is “no,” or the “how” is shaky, SAY NO.

If there are activities that you cannot say no to (helloooo world of the junior faculty member), get creative as to how they can be massaged in order to support your goal of carving your niche. For example, if you have to teach two sections of first year composition, theme the content of your course around your niche. Your passion will come out and you will very likely learn something from your students!

Best (just kidding–that sounds SO academic ;)),



How to Handle Stress, Anxiety, and Overwhelm in Academia

How to Handle Stress, Anxiety, and Overwhelm in Academia

How do you feel when you get to work in the morning? When you look at your to-do list, do you feel completely overwhelmed? Have you ever felt the beginnings of a panic attack when you think about the amount of stuff you have to do? For most of us, the answer is “yes.”...

Are you Making These Three Writing Mistakes?

Are you Making These Three Writing Mistakes?

Are you making these three writing mistakes? Academic women are a diverse and electrifying group. I truly get so much energy from interacting with you all, both in and out of my own field of study. But the more academic women I get to know, the more I realize that...

Five Myths about Getting Writing Done

Five Myths about Getting Writing Done

As you close your laptop on turning in grades, set up your email auto-responder so that students know you are unreachable and dream about all those projects that you’re going to finish over the break, it might be time for a little reality check. Let me guess: you have...

Stay current in Academic Publishing

Subscribe to our newsletter:

In the Pipeline

writing tips, publishing trends, reading recomendations, free workshops

In The Pipeline Newsletter


Your Writing Roadmap®

All career stages

12-week online program

Navigate helps tenure track womxn and nonbinary professors double their publishing output in a year by implementing 10 essential time and project management/productivity systems with weekly support/ accountability of coaching and peers.


Design Your Dossier


6-month coaching program

Amplify teaches early career scholars a process for securing promotion by developing publication-focused strategies, boundaries, and priorities in a peer- and coach-supported small group.


Your Mid-career Uplevel


6-month coaching program

Elevate helps midcareer scholars identify and make a plan to reach the next big milestone in their career by identifying and working in their zone of genius with the support of coaching and peers.


Scholar's Voice Retreats

All career stages

Virtual (full-day/6 hours) or In Person (2 Days)

Scholar's Voice Faculty Retreats is a professional development experience designed to inspire womxn and nonbinary faculty with the mindset and strategy to take control of their time by centering their writing and publishing.

Send me Writer's Retreat updates by email!

Send me Writer's Retreat updates by email!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get Your Cheat Sheet!

Get the PDF Cheat Sheet right to your inbox!

Check your email to find your cheat sheet!

Skip to content
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.