Word cluster

A blog about getting into a writing habit

My name is Francisca Concha-Ramírez and I am a PhD at Leiden Observatory. I do computational astrophysics and I also write a lot, but I want to write better.
This is my personal blog to document my writing up and downs. For my work/CV website, click here.

To learn why I started this blog, and see my writing plan and rules, check out this post.



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10 September 2018

Working away from the office

[ working  life  habits  planning  phd-life  travel  ]

by Francisca Concha-Ramírez

Whew! What a few crazy weeks these have been. In less than two weeks I aced my Dutch 2 test (9/10! :D), traveled to Belgium for a wedding, then flew to the US with my boyfriend, who’s now moved to Princeton. Our studio right now consists only of a inflatable bed, a few boxes, and suitcases laying around, but even so we’re making it feel like home (furniture will hopefully arrive by the end of September). More importantly, after the craziness of the pre- and post- trip couple of days, we’re setting our new routines, which means: I’m back to work!

We do have internet at the new apartment, so technically I could work from here, but I’ve never been a big fan of working from home and much less so when I don’t even have a proper chair to sit on (believe it or not, having to be in bed all day can get uncomfortable). Luckily, right after our arrival I realized we’re only two blocks away from the Princeton Public Library!

The library is very nice and has lots of work and study spaces to which you can access without a library card. Some are just tables on the hallways which can get a bit busy, but there are also designated quiet spaces for people to work without distractions. And they allow you to bring in covered beverages, so coffee is welcome!

I have now been to the library for a couple of days and am very happy with it. It’s silent enough for me to work and focus, and having other people around looking busy also helps me stay on track.

Library My work set-up for today

It has not been easy to go back into work, especially since it’s been so long since I’ve had time to dedicate to my actual PhD projects. Luckily, a few months ago I started using Trello boards, which helped me remember what I was doing (no joke). I’ve been taking it easy and making daily “work plans” on my planner to help me get back on track. Today I started doing real, actual work again, and even if I got stuck with some technical issues, it feels great to return to doing science!

Now, regarding writing… I have scheduled some blocks for this week, but they’re all related to my outreach projects. Since I’m coming back to the technical side of my PhD projects, I decided I will take a break from imposing myself to do work writing blocks for a while. For this week I assigned one block for this blog post, and three blocks for my astronomy outreach blog. I must say, my astronomy blog has been the most benefited by my writing plan. When I started it in 2015 I was doing one post every two weeks, but during 2016 and 2017 the number of posts went down because I would never make time to write. During 2017 I was averaging one post every two months! Now I am back on track with one text post and one podcast episode per month. I am not only writing more, but also organizing myself around writing and planning better posts :)

So, for this week (which, by the way, is week #10 since I started this project!) the plan is:

Week 10 (10-16 September):

I am thinking about doing a “How I work/plan” post soon, inspired by this one in Sweet Tea, Science. I am also thinking, as much as I loved the process of building this blog in jekyll and Github pages, to move it to something that allows for more user interaction… but I’m still undecided.

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