Here's what I need to do:

I need to come up with a list of calls for papers for conferences related to my research area. This provides me with an incentive to write.

I need to sit down with Mark Chignell, my research supervisor, to review my research plan and the calls for papers and to break my plan down into smaller milestones. This gives me a concrete action plan. Then I can schedule next actions.

If I can break it down into really small milestones in the beginning, then I'll get a better sense of how much work I can accomplish. I would like to be done with my research before Christmas, so that I can relax without having to coordinate with IBM. Ideally I would also have it all practically written up, just waiting to be translated into "scholarly writing". I can use my internal blog and podcast to think things through.

So here's a coarse sketch of a potential schedule:

Ideally, I'd like to commit the equivalent of two to three days of focused work each week for the rest of August, which leaves me time to prepare for the future and build other competencies. I remember that a former roommate of mine concentrated on her research and studies, and ended up without job offers because she hadn't done enough networking or exploration. I'd like to finish my master's with a good background in research into social computing, but I also want to be ready to be useful to small or large businesses.

I'll take classes from September to December. I'm planning to take two courses and audit a few more to expand my mind. I need to take one more MIE course, and the CS course on requirements engineering has been highly recommended. October or November can be my main data gathering month.

So: August is for reading papers, gathering background information, and learning as much as I can about the theoretical framework and how to measure the effects of an intervention. September is for analyzing the collaboration technologies against the framework chosen, and selecting a factor to modify. I may need to code a fair bit—the actual intervention plus the instrumentation I need to measure the change, so I'll probably use October to set up the experiment. I'll run the experiment in November, and work on polishing my writing in December.

My Christmas break will be a *real* break. I don't want to do IBM-related things then, aside from perhaps an evangelism talk or two at IBM Philippines. ;) I want to reconnect with family and friends, make new friends, and develop business opportunities.

Then I can come back to Canada, finish writing up my paper, have my committee review it (although I hope they'll be involved at each step), and revise it as needed. Once I finish that, there might not be that much point in going for an internship instead of a proper job, so I'll probably start looking for leads in January and aim to finish in April. Although I'd like to be able to bridge worlds and that probably means finding a good place to work in North America, it won't be a huge tragedy if I don't manage to get a good job offer lined up. There's much for me to do in the Philippines, and I might come back and join Exist or QSR or something like that. Besides, the Philippines has its perks. ;)

Yes, I could've done this earlier, but it was also important for me to immerse myself in the culture and to form ties with people who can help me find out how to go about doing this. =)

Yup, definitely sounds like a plan.

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