Sunday, September 12, 2004

Accounts and Accountability

If you were to map the messiness of my office in relation to my level of job satisfaction, you would get a U-curve. Stacks of paper and clippings mount in haphazard piles when I am at my most depressed. But then same thing tends to happens (albeit with piles stacked at right angles) when I am feeling happy and productive.

In the (rare) in-between times, my desk is clean.

Task #1: Clean upstairs. Reduce chaos on desk.

I've been lucky to get two classes of really lovely students this semester. I like them. I like what we're working on together. Ergo, time spent on class prep automatically expands to fill whatever time remains between now and our next class. Stop that, and prep instead during Monday's morning hours. (Given the new, blink-and-you-miss-it, 55-minute class period, I always have plenty of material left over anyway.)

Task #2: Assess status of class prep. Allot one hour today for re-visiting the assigned reading, but do nothing else until tomorrow a.m.

The class I'm auditing happens Tuesday morning. I am on campus from 9 in the morning until 9:30 at night on Mondays. Ergo, Tuesday morning homework has to be finished today. Remember to keep focus on 2nd project's January deadline and be practical about all else. I am not taking this class for any sort of credit, which means (though it pains me) it must be triaged. Three hours max.

Task #3: Winnow list of articles from yesterday. Choose one and write up study flaws.

Task #4: Write up one-page proposal for my own study.

Task #5: Finish assigned reading.

Task #6: Email prof. with request (nay, tactful demand) to perform "group project" alone.

Always it is last. I'm talking, of course, about my own writing. But I've committed to sharing a polished article to colleagues by mid-October. For that to be possible, I'm going to have to do a little bit of work on it each and every day. (Even on hectic Mondays.) We'll start slowly today.

Task #7: Devote one hour (minimum) to revision project.

How hard could it be to nudge letter writers and send them an application overview? That's the easy part. More daunting is the need to send them copies of my job letter. Just make a start on that latter task, okay?

Task #8: Draw up nudge note and application overview.

Task #9: 30 minutes rumination/freewrite on job letter outline.

The stuff that really eats the day away:
• Unscheduled reading, or the random picking up (usually at mealtimes) of the Harper's, the New Yorker, or whatever other delicious article my best friend, Greta, has recently photocopied for me. Am trying to keep this urge in check. Never mind that I read a magazine cover to cover yesterday...
• My general absent-mindedness, or tendency to float through an afternoon without direction.
• Long phone calls from people that I love. (Can't do much about that, can I?)
• Uhm, blogging.... (but such a pleasure).

Other assorted tasks for today:
Reply to email from Yahoo account that I do not check regularly enough
9 p.m. "date" with Adam. (We're going to watch premiere of "Jack and Bobby.") (show was interesting, but not enough to make us tune in again)

There's the starting bell. (No guns in this race, please.) And, she's off!


At 3:03 PM, Blogger New Kid on the Hallway said...

I do the exact same thing, of expanding course prep to fill the time I allow for it. And putting the writing/research last. My goal for the semester has been to work on this, but I'm really bad at it. Let me know if you come up with any good solutions!


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