So Top Left Quadrant is at the end of a session. Many academics are in their last month or even weeks of the semester. They can see the finish line and are sprinting toward it. I envy all of you. I hate being on the quarter system. I have a couple more months to go. MONTHS, I tell you. (And miles to go before I sleep.)
Top Left Quadrant, for those of you not familiar, is a weekly accountability check-in for session and weekly goals. I love it. I look forward to checking in on the weekends. It really helps keep me focused on MY goals (for research, health, all those things that are so easy to forget about in the heat of teaching). So, with my apologies to readers who find this deadly dull, I'm going to be TLQing here on my blog until I can convince other TLQers to start up a new session!
Last week was just terrible terrible because almost every moment of each day was scheduled with a meeting, either with students or colleagues. (The meetings with colleagues are definitely more challenging than the meetings with students, but for me being so overscheduled is very stressful. Some days, I had to be "on" for 7 hours straight. It's a wonder I didn't run screaming for the hills. Scratch that -- I still might.) Most days this week should be better because I have fewer meetings with colleagues, though a still crazy number of meetings with students. Cross your fingers. And toes. And eyes.
Research has been going okay. I manage to do 3x a week on my Secondary Field Project, though it's less clear that it leads to the monthly goal of 2y because I don't have any time to look through the 3x work to make sure it's leading to 2y. Addressing that means making the time for that, but I'm not sure that's a good idea because I'm not sure I really have any more extra time that I can use without stressing myself out from lack of "me" time. (I love my project, but it actually is challenging at an emotional level, so I don't think of it as "me" time. "Me" time is watching Poirot or movies I've seen a million times or reading fun books. I need that time too.) Perhaps it's better to just wait for the summer and then go back. (My big lesson from the last TLQ session was that I need to have goals that are reasonable during teaching time. For example, I've bought several books on managing stress and anxiety, but I do need to commit to engaging in those exercises just like I'd commit to an exercise plan. Those kinds of commitments to create new habits take a ton of my energy; I've noticed in the past that when I commit to working out, it takes a lot of my daily energy to make sure that I get that done. I can't just slip it into my regular schedule. Those big changes are best worked on during non-teaching time. Perhaps getting the 3x in each week for my Secondary Field Project is just as much as I can do. And that's okay. My hope is that setting more reasonable goals for change will reduce my stress as well.)
This Week's Goals
1. Research: 3x on Secondary Field Project. There are a bunch of other research things I want to do (scary stuff associated with Forsythia, a little project; sabbatical application; other supportive activities on Secondary Field Project), but this week is likely to be difficult so how about just one task associated with any of the other research-related areas?
2. Health: Eating well (which means remembering to eat in the face of all those damn appointments and making sure I consume healthy fare instead of lattes and donuts), taking my supplements, and moderating emotions are ever my goals. I also need to take care of an injury I'm trying to recover from. If I don't make some considerable effort here, I'm bitchy to all. Moderating emotions and moving like water are very important here to keeping some lines between work and family as well.
3. Family: I've learned to really focus here. While there are tons of things I'd like to do on the family front, I can't. It's SO hard on me to have to come home and drive some home project forward immediately. I know because I do it everyday. My big goal here is to keep on top of Spirited's therapy exercises. It used to not be my responsibility to keep on top of this, but family morale on this got very low and so I took over. It's a giant pain in the ass, honestly. Part of me resents this a bit but I have to admit that for a long time, I mostly checked out of the therapy stuff because I wasn't the one taking Spirited to his regular appointment. Now, for the good of all (i.e., so Absurdist Husband gets some time off from Spirited and I get some focused time with Spirited), I take Spirited to his regular appointment. It does make sense for the person who knows most about them to lead the exercises. Absurdist Husband does a lot, so I can't fault him. It's just a bad situation. I've pretty much held off on adding anything else to our family plate (like continuing music lessons or swimming or Cub Scouts for Spirited) until this therapy is done. So keep on top of therapy is the main goal here. Making sure to have some nice family time is another goal. Passover's coming, so that's another big thing that will be happening later in the week.
4. Gardening: Water the outside plants. I hope to start some tomato seeds indoors as well. I really just need to get out there every day because it's so calming. And we're finally having some decent weather!
5. Work: Now TLQ is not really for work but supposed to be about all those other things we lose track of because of work. But I include work because projecting the week's work and dealing with it well is fundamental to my other goals, including health and family. There are many ways to get work done. I can be grumpy about it, wait to the last minute, and then torture my family with my need to get it all done right this very second. Or I can think about it ahead of time, figure out what I'm going to need to do, and schedule and do it with the least amount of stress possible to myself and the family. In short, I'm a reforming procrastinator who used to use stress to get stuff done. This approach works a lot better for people with lots more energy than I have or fewer responsibilities overall. I have been so much better about planning out reasonable amounts and approaches but it takes constant vigilance. On Friday, I'll be collecting grading from all classes. I'll need to turn around the smaller, but more intense, stack by the following Wednesday, which means working on that next Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. The other two stacks would be great to turn around by the following Friday, though I don't know if that's realistic. But none of that is this week. This week, I need to get ahead in my reading, catch up on some email and spreadsheet work, and revise a big report before the onslaught of grading comes in on Friday.
So I hope everyone has a lovely week. I may blog the insanity throughout the week since I'm trying not to torture Absurdist Husband with tales of work woe and stupidity. And there's always plenty of that around. Complaining about it is necessary as we all know.
Move like water, all!