I’m Bethany Teachman, Professor of Psychology, and This is How I Work

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I am a Professor of clinical psychology and Director of Clinical Training at the University of Virginia in the Department of Psychology. Our lab investigates cognitive processes that contribute to the development and maintenance of psychopathology, especially anxiety disorders. I am also Director of Project Implicit Mental Health (www.implicitmentalhealth.com), a public web site that allows visitors to complete tasks assessing automatic (i.e., hard to consciously control) associations tied to mental health, and Director of MindTrails (mindtrails.virginia.edu/), a public web site that provides free online cognitive bias modification training to encourage healthier thinking patterns to reduce anxiety and related problems.

Location: Charlottesville, VA
Current Gig: Professor and Director of Clinical Training, and active with various national clinical science organizations (plus wife, and mom to 2 daughters and a dog)
One word/phrase that describes your work style: Tries hard
Current computer/mobile device: Macbook Air & iPhone

What apps/tools/software can you not live without?

I’m pretty low-tech so mainly use the standard Microsoft Office suite (and I personally use SPSS, though analyses for most of our papers are run on R). Hard to imagine not having Dropbox.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

My husband was a cook for a family when he was in college and we decided to steal the idea…

We have someone come to our house on Monday mornings & prepare 3 family size meals & place them in the fridge for us so that when get home from work we have healthy food ready that just needs to be heated up. It was a priority for our family to have healthy dinners together, but neither my husband nor I felt like we wanted to commit time to cooking so this has been a great way to save time.

What’s your workspace set up like?

My partner and I share a home office. The photo shows my half (I generally don’t like clutter but always have pictures of our daughters and their artwork surrounding my offices at home and work).

home office

How do you keep track of things you need to do (any to-do-list apps)?

I prefer an old-fashioned Weekly Organizer/Planner. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction crossing things off my to-do list, and still need to get better at letting go of guilt when I inevitably can’t cross everything off.

Besides your phone or computer, what gadget can’t you live without, and why?

I won’t last more than 5 minutes on the treadmill if I don’t have an iPad to watch a show, though I suppose I should list my toothbrush (technically a more important gadget!).

What everyday thing can you do better than most people? What’s your secret?

I think I am good at surrounding myself with talented people who have great energy and ideas and I am good at motivating others to do their best. I am privileged to work with a wonderful group that regularly challenges me.

What do you listen to while you work?

No music because I am easily distracted – my internal dialogue adds more than enough extra noise!

What are you currently reading?

I’m about to finish Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving, and recently read The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood. I tend to prefer novels because I read lots of non-fiction for work, and want my pleasure reading to be more of an escape. I’m in a book group so this also pushes me to read some genres I wouldn’t otherwise choose, which is fun.

How do you recharge?

Going for a run, cuddling on the couch with my family to watch TV or silly videos, talking to good friends, travel, sleeping in on the weekend, and I used to also do ballet classes though haven’t been doing that recently.

How do you balance your work life and your home/family life?

I think it’s always a struggle but I try to be really clear to myself about what my priorities are and make decisions accordingly. I can (sort-of) function without a lot of sleep, so I stop work by 5:00 pm to have full evenings with my family but then do a fair bit of work after my kids are in bed. For me, that works reasonably well but I realize it wouldn’t work for everyone. In addition to family time on evenings and weekends, I also take occasional time out during weekdays to do kids’ activities (e.g., I meet the school bus every Wednesday afternoon), but then ‘make up’ that time working at night after kids are asleep. I definitely don’t make enough time to relax or get enough sleep, but I feel like the tradeoffs work for me at this phase of my family life and career. I love that academia affords the flexibility to choose when we work to a large extent, so I’m able to enjoy a lot of good family time as well as have a rewarding career.

What’s your sleep routine like?

After I’m finished working, I typically either read the news, check Facebook, or watch part of a show with my husband for a bit, and then I listen to an audiobook in bed. Reading is what ‘turns my brain off’ most effectively.

—–

Bethany Teachman

www.teachman.org

 

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