Jill's recent posts about being head of the department resonates powerfully with me. It was in 1991 I came to Volda and got a brand new two-year study dropped in my lap, together with the promise of an office and some vague hints about how to find a place to live. The first years 10 minutes of research to write a blog post would have felt like a waste of precious time, as I was patting, kicking and bludgeoning the study into shape.
I did it though.
Then I wrote a book that gave me "tenure" (Norwegian system isn't quite comparable).
Then I came out on top for two scholarships for my Ph D.
Then I turned my back on administration, and immediately lost one very important habit I had gotten in the 7 previous years of administration and teaching. I stopped keeping a to-do journal.
I have a new one now, right in front of me. It contains a list of stupid little things, the things that slip your mind, but are very important to the daily grind. "Send a list of exam dates to the department admin. Reply to the letter from the student administration. Remember: short note on plans for developing the information study for the next meeting." If a task makes it into that book, it gets done, and being able to strike tasks out is very satisfying.
Sometimes I walk into the office and end up staring at the book, aware there's something I need to write into it, but I just can't remember what it is. Normally what ever that was comes back to bite later, so I remember, eventually.