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Revise, Resubmit, Regret

When it comes to R&Rs (or, alternatively, submitting a paper elsewhere after a rejection), I always try to move as fast as possible and not put things off. My reasoning is pretty straightforward: the review process takes lots of time, and can be subject to repeated delays if the editors and reviewers decide to put things off. The only part of the process where I have any control and can minimize the amount of wait-time is how fast I do my revisions. So whenever I have something that needs submitting, it becomes my top priority. One downside of this way of doing things is that I sometimes get "submitter's remorse", and worry that I resubmitted too impulsively, or that I could have done things differently. So, for what it's worth, being the "start things early" type doesn't necessarily mean less stress than waiting until the last minute.

Marcus Arvan

RRR: Interesting point. Here's what I'd suggest in response. There is a big difference between starting early and finishing early. If you start early and finish early, you may submit things impulsively. However, if you start early *and* leave yourself more time to get feedback, then you will be less likely to submit things prematurely.

This, in fact, is what I think is probably the best way to get things done of all. Get started early so you can leave yourself *time* to get things right!


I hate waiting until the last minute, but I have started to do so more often because I've just taken on too many commitments. So far I have only asked for an extension once though, and that was literally for only 3 days. I hope I can somehow keep it up. As for the quality of my work - I have become such an agnostic about these things. It seems regardless of how much work I put into things the same number of people think my work is great vs. the number of people who think it's horrible.


Oh, and if we are literally talking about a gas gage, there is a third option that the picture doesn't mention: You start worrying once 1/8 of the tank is gone and yet do not fill it until you are on the side of the road because, well, you have so much to do!


Can you fix the post. Don't you mean to say that you are such an A? If not, I cannot understand the post.

Marcus Arvan

B: Oops, thanks for catching that - fixed!


I tend to be a type B person with almost everything else regarding work, and that is why I really like deadlines. But with R&Rs I am the complete opposite. Within a few days of getting the review I push everything else aside that I can and crank that out as some as I can, but that probably is due to 1. as someone above stated, this is the one aspect of the publishing process timeline you can control, and 2. I am on the tenure clock and once I get an R&R I feel like I just have a couple more steps to publication and I need it to happen asap. With other things it depends. Sometimes I will miss a conference submission deadline because I put it off too long, but if its high on my list of priorities I will get it done even if its last minute. For me, the creative juices flow when I am under pressure...for better or worse.

A Type B

I've tried to cultivate habits which help me avoid running out of time.

1. Similar to RRR, one of them is to always ask myself not "when is this due?" but "how soon can I get this done?" I simply don't like having things on my plate (there's always enough on it).

2. Another is a strategy (I think) I got from John Perry. Basically, you write up your to-do list and procrastinate by picking off the easiest things on that list.

3. To make (2) work well, you have to structure your list with some foresight. For example, my to-do list typically takes a 2-3 month snapshot of my obligations, so that among the things I'm picking away at are big projects down the line.

4. To make (3) work well, I actually create new intermediary deadlines for myself. For example, when I was a grad student I would sign up for work-in-progress talks about halfway to a conference submission deadline or a due-date for a dissertation chapter. "Write dissertation chapter" (or whatever) isn't an easy task to be picked off a list, but "throw together a slide show" is.

5. Move deadlines up yourself. To use another easy example, when I was a grad student in coursework we typically had all our seminar papers due at the end of the term. Trying to write 3-4 papers at once in the last week or two is hell, so I would do 1-2 of them by a month before the end. Often times I would look for a natural deadline, e.g. by the end of spring break or by such-and-such holiday.

I've found that if you're really good at medium-term planning (say, a 3-month window), you can be pretty crappy at day-to-day time management and efficiency but still get *a lot* of work done and get it done early.

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