How did your ALD indie event go?

Did you organise an independent Ada Lovelace Day event this year? We’d like to know how it went, and we’d like to share that info with our supporters and sponsors in our next End of Year Report. So we’d be very grateful if you could spend a few minutes completing the form below. If you ran multiple events, we’d be grateful if you could submit the form once for each event.

If you have any photos or videos that you can send us, or any online write-ups or blog posts that you can share, please them email Suw Charman-Anderson. You can also contact Suw with any questions you might have.

And finally, thank you so much for being a part of what makes Ada Lovelace Day such a powerful global movement!

Conquer your procrastination now!

Procrastination is the enemy of productivity, racking up costs in terms of time, money and even happiness. The good news is, there are ways to manage it and get back on track.

The Greek poet Hesiod wrote “Do not put your work off till tomorrow and the day after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn”. That was around two and half thousand years ago, long before the invention of the internet, social media and a hundred other distractions.

These days, approximately one in five adults and half of students are procrastinators. Defined as the voluntary delay of work or activity despite a negative outcome, procrastination costs the average British person 24 days a year.
Is procrastination really a problem?
It would be reassuring to hear ‘no’, but the answer’s a fairly emphatic ‘yes’. While some studies have found procrastination increases creativity or overall productiveness, most find it has a negative impact overall. Alongside wasting considerable amounts of our limited time...

 

 

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i-COMET: Ecologists wanted for March 2020 workshop

female ecologistAda Lovelace Day is collaborating with ecologists from University of York, UK, and DePaul University in Chicago, USA, to study fungi essential to soil health as part of a global collaboration that will also promote inclusivity and the retention of women and minorities in science.

i-COMET, the International Collaboration on Mycorrhizal Ecological Traits, is looking for early career ecologists with an interest in fungal traits related to soil health to design a novel spore trap experiment and a standard operating procedure for identifying mycorrhizal traits. At the end of the workshop, participants will deploy the spore trap in their home country and share data back to the group, creating a data set with global relevance to soil health and with high impact. Very few data sets achieve this reach.

Mycorrhizal fungi are essential to soil health, playing a major role in soil quality, plants nutrient and water uptake, as well as protecting them from pests and pathogens. By investigating the dispersal rates of these spores, we can better understand if and how these fungi spread from area to area – the first step to rebuilding resilience in soils that have degraded due to environmental change, and subsequently strengthening food production and security.

Participants from around the world will attend a week-long workshop from 15th – 21st March 2020, in York, UK, where they will also take part in networking and team building exercises, given training in the suite of digital tools that will be used in the collaboration, as well as in mentoring. The i-COMET team will evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention, through survey and social network analysis, and disseminate what we learn from this to the wider STEM community, so that any group seeking to develop effective communication within diverse groups can use our findings and tools to foster sustainable communications.

Travel and accommodation costs for the workshop will be covered, and we encourage applications from potential participants from all countries. We are particularly keen to hear from women and those from the Global South. Workshop participants and a second group of non-workshop participants will be provided with access to a peer mentoring and knowledge sharing network. We will also be asking a third group of non-workshop participants to complete quarterly surveys as a control group for the study.

For more information visit our website and to apply, please complete the Expression of Interest.

ALD founder, Suw Charman-Anderson, has now become a Visiting Associate at York for the duration of the project and is working with Dr Thorunn Helgason, the project leader, and Dr Pen Holland from York, and Dr Bala Chaudhary from DePaul.

The ‘To Do’ Book Method

For years, Suw Charman-Anderson struggled with an unruly ‘to do’ list, trying all sorts of apps and websites and techniques to try to get it under control. None of them worked, until she stumbled on an innovation that would change everything about her ‘to do’ list. 

In what I am sure is a familiar story for many, my ‘to do’ lists started off as handwritten lists, often on scraps of paper that would be jammed into a notebook. Every item would be crossed off when it was done, and periodically a nearly-finished list would be amalgamated with the scraps of paper into the one new canonical list.

In 2001, when I got my first Palm Pilot, I migrated my ‘to do’ list to it. It felt like progress, but it didn’t make managing my work any easier. As I left the web design world and moved into consultancy, my ‘to do’ lists got more complicated as I juggled multiple projects running alongside each other. Then along came Omnifocus, which was hailed as a breakthrough in our ability to organise mul...

 

 

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In defence of small talk

Small talk, or “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters” as the dictionary has it, has an unfairly bad reputation. For a lot of people, small talk feels awkward or difficult, and for many others it just seems like a total waste of time, especially in a business context. But small talk has an important purpose and learning how to make great small talk will serve you in good stead.

Opportunities for small talk are surprisingly frequent during the work day and, for people who feel comfortable with it, they pass without regard. In the lift, at the beginning of meetings, walking up the stairs, waiting for the kettle to boil when making tea, we’re chatting away to all and sundry about seemingly meaningless things… or we’re suffering in uncomfortable silence, wishing we either knew what to say or could just be left alone. So why do we do it?

Small talk is a form of ‘phatic communication’ – that is communication that has no informational or transactional content ...

 

 

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