My Professional Rules

Time and attention are limited in physics, while the demands on a given physicist can be infinite (meetings, research, teaching, mentoring, outreach, etc.). Here are rules that I intend to live by, and I ask that you respect these rules. They are meant to maximize the things that are important to me while structuring your access to me in a professional manner.
  • Availability
    • I close my door in the morning. I ask that during this time I am not disturbed, as I am focusing on work (except where meetings intervene). This is my one unbroken block of time each day to do this.
    • In the afternoon (1:30 - 6:00), I leave my door open and invite interruptions. Afternoon is your time, so please drop by and chat. You are not interrupting me - I love helping people, and I love discussing physics.
  • Communication
    • I rank personal interaction over the phone, the phone over instant messaging, and  instant messaging over e-mail. Therefore, here is how you should reach me for important issues that require my personal attention:
      • Visit my office
      • Call me on the phone
      • Instant message me (this is reserved for a small group of people)
      • E-mail
    • I have rules for e-mail. They are simple:
      • During the work week (Mon. - Fri.), I will check e-mail once per hour, close to the top of the hour. I will spend 10 minutes converting your e-mail requests into actionable items, and act on them over an appropriate course of time.
      • During the weekend, I will check once per day, and follow the ten-minute rule outlined above.
      • I know that many people expect e-mail to be an instantaneous form of communication. It is, but both you and I need to learn to manage expectations. 
  • Priorities
    • My highest priorities are always the most time-sensitive things on my plate. Barring a clear priority, this is how I rank generic items in my importance list:
      • Mentoring: As the foundation of the field and the next generation of leaders, I believe it's important to set aside time for students and post-docs. In general, I like to make time for class-related issues, general physics questions, research, etc.
      • Service work: if a service task needs immediate attention, it gets it.
      • Research: anything connected to my ongoing research should get as much of my attention as possible during a given hour.
      • Management: if I'm in charge of a group or representing a group, this work is ranked next.