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.
- 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
- 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
rank personal interaction over the phone, the phone over instant
messaging, and instant messaging over e-mail. Therefore, here
how you should reach me for important issues that require my personal
- Visit my office
- Call me on the phone
- Instant message me (this is reserved for a small group
- I have rules for e-mail. They are simple:
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.
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
- 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
- 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,
- 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.