Nearly finishing my PhD thesis (hopefully), I have started planning my post-doc phase. After some playing around with Apple’s Pages and being inspired by a Pentax Lenses Roadmap, I used InDesign to create a sheet, where I wrote down the studies I have planned, the papers I want to write, the products I want to create, etc.
InDesign works extremely well for this — I have used layers for the different aspects of the page, e.g., for Arrows, Year Text, Year Dates (the yellow highlighting), Non-Year-Results-Text, Background Text, Lines, Time Passed, Background Year, and Page Color. Locking parts of the Layers allows me to quickly change some aspects without interfering with others. Swatches are used for the colors, allowing quick color modifications. Additionally, there are paragraph styles for Studies, Journal Publications, Other Publications, Product/Material Creation, Teaching, and External Input. The terra incognita part came when I was trying to state that I cannot plan what to do in that time frame without knowing the results of the first one or two years. After all, research requires flexibility.
I like the result — it’s a best-of-all-cases-I-am-never-ill-and-always-work-100%-with-full-concentration-and-have-nothing-else-to-do (= virtually impossible), but at least I know now what I want to do.
Below is a template screenshot that has most of the entries removed and the content replaced by placeholder texts (no need to announce my plans if I do not know yet whether I can really pursue and achieve them). If you are interested in the InDesign template file, write me a comment.
Template Screenshot for 5 Research Topics, three years (1 vertical bar = 1 month), indication of time passed (black shadow on first month), non-plannable area (terra incognita), aspired results. Yellow highlighting signifies duration, entries on the three years are color coded for Studies, Journal Publication, Material Creation, External Input, etc. Red Arrows signify dependencies (origin must be reached for target of the arrows to be possible). Write me a comment (or eMail) if you want to have the InDesign template.
Update: Looking at it four years later, I think it was overly detailed and optimistic. And the feedback I got to it was … not only worthless, but damaging. If you plan your post-doc career, look for a mentor first. A good one.