Help, I’m buried under grants and I can’t get up!

I’m up to my neck in grants. All different flavors. I’ve got my multicolored sticky notes out and I’m annotating the paper copies. I know that seems insane, but it is so. My colleagues (affectionately) assure me that I’m going to get heckled at study section about that rainbow of sticky notes sticking out of the side of each proposal.

Last time I reviewed I went paperless boldly. And while initially I was enthralled by the high-techness of it all- in the end I confess I didn’t love it.  I can’t look at two non-contiguous pages on my iPAD simultaneously, and there is something unsatisfying about putting notes on that turn into little icons once I move on. I want to be able to see them all open and color coded. I want to be able to look at a figure on page 27 and text page 45 at the same time. I want to be able to attach the citations that I need to the back of the grant and carry them around me.

So this time I’m doing all that on paper. This time I’m going to kill some trees. Just a few- I only printed out the research plan portions.. and everything else, all those Biosketches and equipment pages I’ll look at on the electronic copy. Maybe I’ll have to accept that going all in- either all-paper or the all-electronic  just isn’t going to work for me, and settle for some hybrid version with quiet acceptance.



6 thoughts on “Help, I’m buried under grants and I can’t get up!

  1. Paper? That’s just adorable!

    Seriously, though, I agree that having the ability to hold it in you hand, whether it’s a grant proposal, a patent, a literature article, whatever, and be able to leaf back and forth among the pages hasn’t yet been duplicated in an electronic format. And trust me, I’m no Luddite. I’ve got gadgets up the — I mean, I have a lot of them.

    Good luck trying to get out from under all of that!

  2. Paperless?! Not for me, either. I tried it with my graduate fellowship, I tried it with my thesis, and I recently tried it with this F32 I’m writing. Flipping through pages and burying oneself in a stack of papers is so much more efficient for me than trying to remember what folder a particular .pdf is in and how it’s labeled and then having to scroll around and find the appropriate icon marking the important paragraph that gave me that great idea for an awesome experiment. Could it be that I am destined to be laughed at by future students, like that one graduate prof I had who still used a projector instead of Powerpoint??!! Perhaps.

  3. I can’t critically read anything on computer screens. I’ve tried – editing with the review function in Word/Pages, reading papers on the interwebz, reviewing grants on my MacBook. But it never works as well as printing the damned thing out and taking to it with a pen. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about the white page and blue scribbles I can’t live without.

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