A Gift to Yourself

In an interview, David Allen, the creator of “Getting Things Done”, described a Year End Review that will motivate and inspire you for the year ahead.

First, bring closure and acknowledgement for the past year. By yourself, or together with your partner, make a list of all your accomplishments. It’s likely you’ll find that your perspective has changed—which can be enlightening and satisfying. Also, ask yourself what has been left unfinished.

Second, take some time to clean a space in your house. David compares the effect to “discovering the fresh breeze that blows through your brain when you clean a drawer in your desk.” He adds, “Cleaning a space gives you a place to make those New Years ideas and new directions and new habits come from a much more natural and organic place.” Reserve a day, or even half a day, to clean and let the creativity flow.

When that is done, block some time and ask yourself, what do you want to be true next year? What does that look like? What do you want less of than last year, and what do you want more of?

Does your vision for 2019 include more socializing and networking? Professional development? Fun and adventure? A gift to yourself? Then write on the top of your list, “Book travel for ISC/SCI Conference in Ottawa, May 24-25”. You can visit the conference page here.

Conflicting Views

View of Tete Carre in Nice (not the Canadian War Museum)

Have you ever indexed a scholarly book with views that you disagree with? It would have felt good to ignore the offending paragraphs or put quotes around the headings you dislike. But you did the right thing and treated the material with same unbiased analysis that you gave to the rest of the book. The author has the right to his views, and you have the duty to index them.

It might be a comfort to know that your index exposes content that could be re-examined by future scholarship. As historian David Bercuson said, “No serious scholar…should be saved from the age-old processes of historical review, revision and re-writing to reflect more recent research when it is more accurate.”

The scholars Bercuson was referring to are authors as well as museum staff, and the topic was the exhibit on the Combined Offensive of World War II at the Canadian War Museum.

After the new building opened in 2005, war veterans complained loudly about a panel text which they believed portrayed the Allied bombing of German cities as “terror bombing and akin to war crime.” The museum stood by its words. The fight escalated with both sides bringing in historians to weight in. When the conflict was over, the museum director had been forced out and the panel text was revised, almost by committee.

Four years later, Bercuson, who was pressed into consulting on the exhibit, wrote about his experience and his evaluation of the text. It’s a fascinating look at how historians work and think about scholarship.

The Canadian War Museum is both a history museum and a place for reflection and contemplation. You can visit the museum when you come to Ottawa for the ISC/SCI Conference May 24-25, 2019.