Friday, January 12, 2007

The Longest First Week of My Life

Okay, that was without a doubt the longest first week of classes of my life. I was on campus everyday. Like an idiot, I thought that tutoring in a center instead of teaching a class would be more conducive to working on the diss. I thought that if I could leave my work at school, then my time would be my time. (As if time worrying about the diss is my time. HA!) What a crock! Instead, it turns out I spent so much time on campus, I feel like I'm always there.

Worse for the diss but very satisfying for my continuing sense of community and intellectual life, I'm assisting in this fascinating course and taking altogether too much time with it. In an attempt to gain control over my time, I'm trying to keep a schedule, using much-ignored laptop scheduling features. In fact, I tend to fill in what I'm doing after I do it, rather than using it to plan. (I don't bother to put in all the time I spend reading other people's blogs or checking and re-checking the damn Wiki. What is that school-I-thought-I-wanted-to-work-at doing? Helllllloooooo? I'm right here!) I think I have to put up parameters around my time, say to myself that I will work for this length of time on the Fascinating Class and no more. Not my strong point, especially when I can ignore the Boring Diss Chapter writing in favor of the Fascinating Class. (This all draws on my complicated theory of counter-irritants. I am the kind of person who will willingly do my dishes when I'm avoiding working on something else. But if there's nothing I'm avoiding, the dishes pile up in my sink until there are no utensils left, like this week. So if I have something I don't want to do for my Fascinating Class, perhaps I can get some diss work done!)

But inspired by Dr. Four Eyes and her posts on working in brief, daily sessions (BDS, which suggests to me some awful bowel dysfunction, but maybe that's me), I've begun not allowing myself to read email or blogs until I freewrite on work matters! Unlike making a schedule or setting an alarm clock, this works. Thanks, Dr. Four Eyes! Without you and that great tidbit, I wouldn't have even begun my ramblings for my proposal to Cool Conference.


Dr. O. said...

I so empathize! I thought once my diss was done it would certainly be easier, but now I always have some revision or another hanging overhead. I stupidly included original research requiring human subjects review in an undergrad prep, so now I have an IRB app -- with 20 co-investigators -- hanging fire. These things always seem like a good idea at the time. Then I have to teach them. I need to hire some reckless grad student to go over my syllabi three weeks before the beginning of classes each term, and slap me.

Earnest English said...

Dr. O: I am a grad student for hire. I can slap! =)

dr four eyes said...

Hey there! Glad the BDS post was useful for you. I'm really getting a lot done with an article revision using that system. If you want to read more about it, check out Robert Boice's book, Advice for New Faculty. Very good resource!

One tiny detail? I'm a woman. (You used the male pronoun in your post.) Thanks!

Earnest English said...

Oooh, I'll check out that book. I WANT to be a new faculty member, so maybe if I just treat myself like one, other people will follow suit and hire me!

Sorry I transformed your gender there. Don't know why I wrote that. Usually I use gender-neutral language. Thanks for the heads-up. I fixed the post.

dr four eyes said...

Yeah, I don't see why Boice's advice wouldn't apply to you at your stage. It targets new faculty, but the teaching and writing advice is absolutely generalizable. When I asked for book recommendations about faculty life last year, Boice's book came highly recommended.

And thanks for the switch back. Don't know why it bothered me, but it did =)