the grid

the grid

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Week 6: Us versus The Bad Guys


Where there is story, there is conflict...as we were told in our first lessons about narrative. Inspired by last week’s discussion of Brainfog and other Bad Guys, it’s time to look at that part of our adventures. The bad guys may change from one chapter to another, one story to another, especially as we learn methods for defeating them. Who/what are the bad guys in your current adventure? How are they causing you undue troubles? What skills might we use (or offer to others) in these conquests? 

I hope last week was kind to you and there are good things to report.

Contingent Cassandra 
--At least 1 walk, 1 stretch session, and 1 weight-lifting session, preferably on 3 different days.  
--Follow up on editorial and peer reviews for curricular project (both my own and those assigned to others), especially my own editorial review of contribution by colleague who will soon be on maternity leave.  
--Make progress on second individual contribution to curricular project  
--Continue morning writing on weekdays I'm at home (1 day on individual contribution, 1 day on reflection for FLC) 
--Talk to colleague about possible conference-presentation proposal on curricular project 
--Take a day off (Saturday?)  
--aim to be in bed by 9 p.m. each night (even if reading) 

Dame Eleanor Hull 
Health: the usual sleep, stretch, exercise, eat safely.  
Research: work on conference paper 1; keep up with language work; ILL one or more books; more translation style checking.
Teaching: Grade the full set of upper-div class's first papers.  
Admin: semesterly form; re-do new form.
Life Stuff: more dull tasks (pick any three). Cook something new. 

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell 
Write 500 words a day.  
Draw one picture this week. 
Write and post a snippet of the novella. 
Knit half an hour a day.  

Good Enough Woman 
1) 1.5 hours on conference paper. 
2) 1.5 hours on novel. 
3) Exercise x2.
4) Take son on outing. 
5) Pay bills. 

heu mihi 
1. Weekly accounting 
2. Exercise x4, research x5, language x5, sit x5. 
3. 2500 words of that stupid novel which I now hate. 
4. Forget P. Instead, finish ch. 5 revisions and start on ch. 4--address structural issues. 
5. Malory through p. 400!!!! 

humming42 (carried over) 
1 submit February essay 
2 submit one book review 
3 submit article review 

JaneB 
1) Teaching: get prep for Scary New Lab Class done, prepare for the following week, mark small set of essays. Set the first half of the exam questions for the new module. Start to enter resit exam questions for first year module. 
2) self-care: do something not-work every evening other than stare at the phone, go to bed early on work nights, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, refined sugar free week.  
3) research: Hopefully finish new runs for ProblemChild2 and start analysis. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray. Finish draft of grant idea for circulation to collaborators. 
4) making stuff and being creative: finish test swatch. Look for rest of yarn for colourwork block, start that.  
5) domestic chaos reduction. Complete removal of christmas detritus from living room. Catch up with washing up. Hoover things. 

KJHaxton 
1. Mark coursework 
2. Majorly plan outreach event 
3. Submit ethics 
4. Make serious progress on Albatross edits 
5. Complete sustainability draft 
6. Followup from outreach meeting 

oceangirl101 
1. Prep lab for class 
2. Grad student meetings x 3 
3. R and R- continue 
4. Start conference paper 
5. Figures for book- meet with figure drafter 
6. Gym x 3 
7. Fun x 2 

Susan 
1. Write book review 
2. Catch up on emails (get down 100 in my inbox) 
3. Read ILL book that needs to be returned. 
4. Start walking again 
5. Keep up good sleep schedule, going to bed at 10 PM or soon after 

waffles 
1. Finish up the research strategy, aims, and candidate statements and send them in 
2. Collapse 
3. Attend the 20+ hour K workshop that our school is hosting (and that we are "encouraged" to attend) which is the weirdest timing ever bc it starts the day my K is due. On the final day, I have to tell the other postdocs what it was like applying for a K. So that is also fun. Humblebrag postdoc will be on the panel with me. That should be fun. He once announced at a meeting that I needed more training than he does and that he had to "dumb [himself] down" in his application to "make it look like [he needed] training still." UGH. I really had better get a better score than him on my k!!! 
4. Try to work on JAMA paper if I have any bandwidth. 
5. Interview possible undergrad workers. 
6. Regroup about all of my projects and set new priorities and goals. 

32 comments:

  1. This may end up being a several-part check-in, since I have a church event to go to in about 1/2 an hour, but let me at least make a start.

    last week's goals and progress:
    --At least 1 walk, 1 stretch session, and 1 weight-lifting session, preferably on 3 different days. [1 walk]
    --Follow up on editorial and peer reviews for curricular project (both my own and those assigned to others), especially my own editorial review of contribution by colleague who will soon be on maternity leave. [did review of pregnant colleague's contribution; took stock of where things stand otherwise]
    --Make progress on second individual contribution to curricular project [no]
    --Continue morning writing on weekdays I'm at home (1 day on individual contribution, 1 day on reflection for FLC) [yes]
    --Talk to colleague about possible conference-presentation proposal on curricular project [yes]
    --Take a day off (Saturday?) [no]
    --aim to be in bed by 9 p.m. each night (even if reading)[never truly at 9; mixed on 9:30/10:00]

    By the end of the week, I got to the point where I feel like I have a slightly better handle on things, but that's partly because I really tried to leave Saturday free from a day off, and ended up using it to get closer to caught up instead. At least I actually got some things done, rather than spending the day spending way too long getting way too little done but not really taking the day off, either, which happens all too easily when I'm tired.

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    1. Which brings me to the topic. I'm a bit leery of the us vs. them approach (too much of that going on in general in the U.S. lately, though there are also some very really evils to combat, at least from my perspective), but I'm more comfortable with it when the villains are embodied concepts rather than people (even though people really do behave very, very badly sometimes).

      So I give you the Overwhelm Monster, which tends to take up a great deal of brain space (sort of like a computer program which suddenly decides to hog all available memory), and also has the funhouse-mirror quality of making tasks seem larger than they really are (but/and can be fed by the discovery/reminder that some tasks really do take as long as they do). Just getting something, anything, done sometimes helps, but not entirely, especially if there really are way too many tasks (especially smaller tasks or sub-tasks) to prioritize and try to do, and each small task requires a transition to the brainspace related to a different smaller project. Panicky emails from students who didn't fully read instructions, or who seem to require reassurance that they read them correctly (sometimes for real -- do they really not have to finish the semester-long project by Thursday -- and sometimes a bit belligerently -- I couldn't possibly be asking them to finish this huge project by Thurs., could I?), don't help.

      Somewhere in there, I think there's an exception to the general rule that breaking big projects into smaller steps makes them manageable, which I *do* accept, for both me and my students; I think it only works so well for either of us when we have a manageable number of larger projects -- perhaps because doing such small steps effectively still requires getting oneself re-oriented to the larger project, and each transition of that sort takes time and energy.

      I'm realizing that I find working on a single project for an hour or two or three at the beginning of the day, before looking at email or doing anything else that moves me into dealing with multiple small steps on multiple small projects, helpful. That approach won't always be possible (my teaching doesn't generally involve that kind of work, and research/writing isn't actually part of my job), but it's good to know. I also need to be aware that entering the panicky cacophony of my inbox after that sort of focused session can be doubly hard, and need to figure out how to manage that transition so as to not feel the calm, and the productivity that goes with it, utterly swept away within 5 minutes.

      I suspect more walks would/will also help. Scheduling those can be tricky, especially if the morning concentrated-work session goes a bit longer than planned, and/or catching up on all the emails and small tasks immediately afterward drags (walking first thing also works in most seasons but (a) not this one, and (b) I can only do one thing first thing, at least while I'm teaching, so it's writing *or* walk. Days when I can do both, in either order, without dealing with little tasks in between, are great, but those come mostly when I'm not teaching, and there aren't a lot of periods during the year when that's true).

      The best I think I can do at this point is to try to match tasks and times of day better, aiming for longer periods of calm, in hopes that will, over time, make it easier to deal with the thousand-tasks moment. Sleep also helps, as does exercise, as does listing all the little tasks in times of calm so then I just have to do what I told myself to do when I'm feeling overwhelmed. The student questions, problems, etc., are probably the hardest, because I can't schedule those, or even always anticipate them (though the ability to do so is one reason I don't revise approaches and materials as much as I might).

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    2. Goals for the coming week:
      --At least 1 walk, 1 stretch session, and 1 weight-lifting session, preferably on 3 different days.
      --continue editorial & peer review followup (group email and individual emails as necessary
      --Finish second individual contribution to curricular project
      --Do at least one more editorial review for curricular project
      --Continue morning writing on weekdays I'm at home (probably mostly individual contribution; possibly some FLC work and/or question-brainstorming)
      --Plan/schedule/perhaps begin work on proposal for curricular project conference poster
      --Take a day off
      --aim for lights out no later than 9:30 each night (with wind-down reading beginning at 8:00 if at all possible)

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    3. I apologize for the insensitivity in the Us versus Them concept--I too am worn down by the constant antagonism and inability to cooperate that surrounds us.

      The Overwhelm Monster is one I know too well, and I appreciate your thoughts on how to cope with it.

      Delete
    4. The Overwhelm Monster is real. It's a helpful concept, because I often need to distinguish between the monster from the reality of many different tasks. And I am SO with your on the transitions!

      Delete
  2. Villains - many, embodied concepts like Imposter Syndrome and Burnout and Overwhelm and Cultural Conditioning and possible-ADHD-which-no-one-will-test-for-in-adults-here and Intraversion/Flow-preference in a job/world which favours Extraversion/Pre-planned-packed-schedule types. Brain Bugges (which look like the giant cricket-like demons from Chirault when manifesting as villains). Other People, Doubt, Self-Sabotage. LackOfAManual for how one is supposed to acheive ones goals. It's already 9pm and I have an early class tomorrow and way too much work for the week so I will come back to this another day in hopes of getting a reasonable amount of time in bed, at least lying in the dark with my eyes shut listening to a podcast I've heard before if not actually sleeping.

    goals for last week:
    1) Teaching: get prep for Scary New Lab Class done, prepare for the following week, mark small set of essays. Set the first half of the exam questions for the new module. Start to enter resit exam questions for first year module. NO, NEARLY, 3 done (only arrived Friday), NO, NO. Ugh
    2) self-care: do something not-work every evening other than stare at the phone, go to bed early on work nights, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, refined sugar free week. MAYBE - if watching Agents of Shield/Parks and Rec episodes instead of just noodling around counts? I think it does - I don't have a TV, and my laptop is an antique, so the phone is the only way I really have to stream visual media like shows, and shows involve a different sort of escapism and distraction than games/twitter which feels healthier and more like a change. MOSTLY, YES, YES until today when I ate a good-ingredients-type nut-bar then realised later that there was a small amount of refined sugar in the chewy stuff holding the nuts together. And I did a Social Thing last night (colleague/friends are in my general area for fieldwork - they invited me to come hang out for an evening - we ordered a takeaway Indian feast and talked non-stop for several hours, very nice)
    3) research: Hopefully finish new runs for ProblemChild2 and start analysis. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray. Finish draft of grant idea for circulation to collaborators. YES, NO, NO - used my writing time to deal with GiantConference stuff instead - session convenors have to write reports on all of the abstracts submitted to their sessions, which is sort of reserach related so went into that time slot
    4) making stuff and being creative: finish test swatch. Look for rest of yarn for colourwork block, start that.NO but continued with it, NO
    5) domestic chaos reduction. Complete removal of christmas detritus from living room. Catch up with washing up. Hoover things. a little progress, NO, some things

    Not the best of weeks, not the worst of weeks. So much teaching prep to do for next week though...


    Next week's goals
    1) Teaching: get prep for Scary New Lab Class done, prepare for next week, finish marking small set of essays. Set the first half of the exam questions for the new module. Start to enter resit exam questions for first year module.
    2) self-care: do something not-work every evening other than stare at the phone, go to bed early on work nights, drink 1.5-2 l of water a day and focus on hitting >5 fruit and veg portions a day, refined sugar free week. [boring, but listing them seems to keep them in mind...]
    3) research: Continue ProblemChild2 analysis. Start model runs for FlatProject. Reply to difficult email about Gallimaufray. Finish draft of grant idea for circulation to collaborators.
    4) making stuff and being creative: finish test swatch. Look for rest of yarn for colourwork block, start that.
    5) domestic chaos reduction: Complete removal of christmas detritus from living room. Catch up with washing up. Hoover things.

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    1. Your list of villains is the intro to the manual for coping that is the LackofaManual--naming them helps so much.

      I hope teaching prep smooths out. I have a new prep this semester that is really time consuming, in part because it's in a research area I don't often get to teach. Trying not to be Perfectionist and to ward off Imposter Syndrome at the same makes for absurdity.

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  3. I'm not facing a whole lot of true villains, but I do feel like all kinds of people and obstacles keep jumping out at me or standing in my way as I try to make my journey. It's like pushing through a crowd, or not being finished fighting one wild animal before another one jumps out at me. It's just incessant.

    Last week's goals:
    1) 1.5 hours on conference paper. NO.
    2) 1.5 hours on novel. NO.
    3) Exercise x2. NO.
    4) Take son on outing. YES.
    5) Pay bills. NO.

    Well, you can see how the week went. It's been all grading, prep, and service. More than 40 hours worth. I really should track hours as heu mihi has done.

    This week:
    This week will be more of the same, and next Saturday is, once again, the annual journey to daughter's StageFest competition, a trip and competition done all in one day even though it's four hours each way to get there (we leave at 4:30am and get back around 10:00pm), and I will spend the day judging the events and co-piloting a vehicle. I'm tired just thinking about it. Also, with more mock trial this week, and Valentine prep, I'm just . . . it's a lot. Today is Sunday, and I've put in at least six solid hours of work, and it's now 1:45 am. Tomorrow will probably be a late night, too. It's hard to imagine having much TLQ time, but I can't throw in the towel. So:

    1) 1 hour on conference paper
    2) 1 hour on novel
    3) 1 hour on self-evaluation and CV (I'm being evaluated this semester)
    4) Exercise 2x
    5) Pay bills
    6) Float like mist for StageFest and don't let the intensity spill over into all of the other days.
    7) Plan Friday carefully so that I have relaxation time and work time. Plan Sunday so that relaxation and recovery will dominate.
    8) Be ready to help daughter with baking for V-Day if necessary. Do something new for dessert on Friday night. Maybe chocolate pie?
    9) Finish the scarf for MIL if I can (Husband goes to see her on Thursday)
    10) Keep up with DE training class (OMG it's so much work)

    I hope you all have a good week! Happy Valentine's Day.

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    1. So much floating like mist! May it carry you through all of the things that tug you in different directions.

      Delete
  4. Bad guys of the moment include old health issues rearing their ugly heads, general lack of concentration and tiredness from grieving, and incessantly being asked to do more service. Saying no is always hard to do but worked well last week and will this next one. I am trying to get as much sleep as I can, and to do non-TV watching relaxing things like puzzles and baths and light exercise. I also have to extricate myself from some social commitments as due to the facial nerve flare up I need to take it easy this week. I give my conference paper next Sunday- its close by so easy travel but I am worried with the facial pain that it might be hard.

    Last week
    1. Prep lab for class Y
    2. Grad student meetings x 3 Y
    3. R and R- continue Y but did not complete
    4. Start conference paper Y
    5. Figures for book- meet with figure drafter N
    6. Gym x 3 N x 2
    7. Fun x 2 Y

    This week
    1. finish conference paper, go to conference next wknd
    2. grading and prep for lab
    3. meet with figure drafter for book
    4. R and R if there is time
    5. Light exercise x 2
    6. Sleep and rest and relax to reduce pain

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    1. I keep thinking about the incessant requests for service and how difficult it is to say no. There are layers of things there, about collegiality, about resentment if you say no, about expectations, about entitlement, about gender...I hope you can set the boundaries you need to.

      Also hoping the nerve pain settles so you can present at the conference and enjoy it.

      Delete
  5. ust sent the final bits if my NIH K to our grants manager - will peruse the final pdf and then we are submitting it today!

    1. Finish up the research strategy, aims, and candidate statements and send them in - DONE
    2. Collapse - DONE
    3. Attend the 20+ hour K workshop that our school is hosting - DONE 
    4. Try to work on JAMA paper if I have any bandwidth.  - NOT DONE
    5. Interview possible undergrad workers. - DONE
    6. Regroup about all of my projects and set new priorities and goals. - DOING NOW!

    This week
    1. Revisit JAMA peds paper
    2. Revise presentation for Thursday (for the UN NGO)
    3. Poster for global health conference
    4. Respond to diss chair's email



    So, #4 is likely one of the bad guys in my musical. My dissertation was rough. One of my committee members (a long time mentor) was the only one who didn't want to just approve it - and somehow got her way so that I had to make revisions before it was approved. This was super stressful and rough because I didn't get to be called "doctor" right after my defense, and couldn't really celebrate. It is also a not insignificant portion of the variance in my imposter syndrome.

    Brain fog is also definitely a villain. I have figured out the perfect thing to have for lunch on the days I go into school to help my brain (quinoa with basically a greek salad on it - filling, low carbs, tasty). When I work from home, brain fog is less of an issue - brain fog in an open work environment usually means I head home, unless I have a super mindless task I can focus on.

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    1. The NIH K has been submitted. Now we start the daily checking of my eRA commons account to figure out exactly when it will get reviewed. Ugh.

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    2. Congratulations on submitting the K. Fingers crossed for you!

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    3. Congrats indeed! I hope you have a little breathing room now that you've managed all of that, although the waiting can be so difficult to manage.

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  6. Like Contingent Cassandra, I'm not very into the villains thing in general. So I'm going to be sneaky and say that my bad guys are all within--and are, annoyingly, the flip side of my (work-related) virtues: determination and self-discipline oh-so-easily slide into joyless taskmasterish rigidity; productivity/mastery of my to-do list generates impatience and irritability. These things don't actually stop my work--I get a lot done, despite the fact that I can't seem to work more than 32 hours in a week (bear in mind that "work" doesn't include many things on my list, like writing that novel or exercising or sitting; also that childcare, commuting, eating, showering, reading a blog here and there, etc. don't count). But they are, I think, my monsters--the things that get in the way of my leading a happier and calmer life.

    But if I *didn't* do All The Things, then I wouldn't be happy and calm either, would I?

    Such is my dilemma.

    Last week:
    1. Weekly accounting: 27.6 hours, 33% R, 65% T, 2% S
    2. Exercise x4 -DONE, research x5 -DONE, language x5 -DONE, sit x5 -x4.
    3. 2500 words of that stupid novel which I now hate. DONE
    4. Forget P. Instead, finish ch. 5 revisions [DONE] and start on ch. 4--address structural issues -STARTED
    5. Malory through p. 400!!!! DONE

    This week:
    1. Weekly accounting:
    2. Exercise x3 + walk X2, write x5, language x5, sit x5.
    3. 2500 words of the novel that is becoming less stupid because I’m getting close to the end.
    4. First-round revisions to ch. 4; to-do list for bigger deal stuff.
    5. Malory through p. 500.
    6. Try to combat the demons by knitting some and writing in my journal at least three times.

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    1. Our strengths ARE our weaknesses. And vice versa.

      Delete
    2. Yay on getting through p. 400 on Malory! How much more is there?!

      The binaries of our virtues and our difficulties definitely resonates--especially the taskmaster for me.

      Delete
  7. Like CC and Heu Mihi, I'm not sure I have villains in my world, unless the proliferation of systems we need to navigate constitutes a villain. But I am frustrated by a bunch of nice but conflict averse men in leadership roles: conflict aversion tends to lead to prevarication or outright dishonesty. Also people who don't do their jobs well. And as I was reading the entries above,I realized that some of my "virtues" at work are not good for me: I want to be helpful, so I've ended up in a position where I am providing support to two people who got paid positions that I applied for, but I'm doing it for free. Grr. Going forward I want to find ways to say no, but I find it very hard.

    Goals for this week:
    1. Write book review DONE
    2. Catch up on emails (get down 100 in my inbox) NO
    3. Read ILL book that needs to be returned. No, will do tomorrow
    4. Start walking again NO
    5. Keep up good sleep schedule, going to bed at 10 PM or soon after YES

    Well, I really crashed last week. Whatever I had hit me on Monday afternoon, and I've been exhausted since. This has not been helped by having had furnace troubles (no heat since Friday, though it may be working now (she hopes).

    It's hard for me to think through the week ahead, because in the 27 hours starting at 5 tomorrow I have 9 hours of meetings and two hours of teaching, and the Overwhelm Monster is all over me in making sure I'm ready for the teaching and one meeting that requires significant preparation. (This is just a weird concatenation of events, but when I looked at my calendar I was paralyzed.)

    Goals for this week:
    1. Survive Wednesday,
    2. Do ILL book
    3. Get rid of 100 emails
    4. Go back to collaborative essay for at least 4 hours
    5. Get tax stuff prepared
    6. Start grading student papers
    7. WALK 3 times
    8. Keep up good sleeping
    9. Do something nice/fun for the long weekend.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. SAying no is really hard - especially as a female, one risks being seen as a sore loser therefore not suitable for future posts if you DON'T help out. At least that's my experience...

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    2. Well, I've realized I'm not suitable for future posts in any case, so I'm trying to disconnect. Not going to work for this year, when I'm crazy over-committed, but next year. . .

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    3. I tried to say No last week but I couldn't. Really couldn't. It was a thing that had to be done and only I + chair could realistically do it (so we did--luckily chair did a lot). It's so much harder than it seems like it should be!

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    4. Some weeks just seem to have no room for TLQ, even though we often end up feeling bad for not "making" time even when there is none. I know there's a lot of encouragement to devote "just 10 minutes" to your research or creative work or whatever needs doing, but clearing that space in your head is not always possible. I'm working on trying to get past my obsessive relationship with "productivity" and to just "do and be" instead. Meetings have a way of multiplying like tribbles (please excuse the Star Trek reference)--they don't stay self-contained. Even if a meeting doesn't generate more work, we seldom set aside time to detox from them. I hope the week is giving you space for that.

      Delete
  8. The Overwhelm Monster lives under my bed. In fact, he is a constant companion, following me around the house, trying to climb on my lap any time I sit down, and jumping around excitedly when I pick up my keys (walkies? car ride? such great opportunities to threaten me, oh boy oh boy). It has got to the point where he's more of a nuisance than a terror, but I do wish I could just put him out in the yard to run around and work off some of his excess energy.

    Here he is now. Yes, yes, who's a fine big monster then? Go lie in your monster bed for awhile and then we can go walkies and you can tell me all about all the interesting smells of More Things To Do. I'll have to come back later to report/plan.

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    1. I love this! You are such a great writer of these fantasy constructs. I think the Overwhelm monster looks like a particularly floofy Old English Sheepdog in full coat, and is probably loudly rainbow coloured for extra sensory overload. And may have little tinkly ornaments in its fur...

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    2. This is great -- though sometimes the Overwhelm Monster is an energetic puppy, jumping up all over me. I want him to grow up to sleep in front of the fire...

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    3. JaneB, yes, more or less, though the teeth (and breath) are far worse. He sheds all over everything, not only rainbow coloured but also with little velcro-like hooky things so it's impossible to get the hair off unless you pick at it one thread at a time, and is much given to eating things he should not and then vomiting them in the most inconvenient possible place at the worst possible time, giving you extra work. But of all this, the weight is the worse. He just climbs on and weighs me down, somehow clinging to all my limbs at once (Old English Sloth?).

      Delete
  9. Oh, yes. When I have trouble sleeping (which is, thankfully, not often), I think of Distraction as a troop of monkeys cavorting in the space that is my mind. I shuffle them off to a side room where they can go jump around on their play gyms and make a lot of noise, outside of my consciousness. Overwhelm might be monkeys too, but I know the persistence of your Overwhelm Monster is a way bigger obstacle than the monkeys tend to be.

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  10. I’ve had a tough time getting things done lately. Overwhelm and overwork are teaming up, and I seem to have forgotten the song that lulls them to sleep. So,

    The last two weeks:
    1 Submit February essay: YES
    2 Submit one book review: YES
    3 Submit article review: NO

    This week:
    1 Submit book review
    2 Submit article review
    3 Submit other article review
    4 Post to reading group
    5 Promotion for big conference
    6 Confirm date for small conference

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  11. It is rather therapeutic to embody and describe the Overwhelm Monster (and thanks to Contingent Cassandra for naming him). The real problem for me with the bad guys is that my most difficult ones are internal, and I don't mean the moral/ intellectual/ emotional internal ones like Anxiety and Self-Doubt, but the physical ones: insomnia, fibromyalgia, and IBS, my gut's refusal to process foods it used to handle fine. It's discouraging. It's not healthy to think of one's innards as the enemy, but they are certainly among those things that keep standing in my way, as GEW puts it. The Winter Sinus Whines are another internal obstacle.

    How I did:
    Health: the usual sleep, stretch, exercise, eat safely. NOT SO GOOD.
    Research: work on conference paper 1; keep up with language work; ILL one or more books; more translation style checking. NO, YES, NO, NO.
    Teaching: Grade the full set of upper-div class's first papers. YES (completed Tuesday night this week).
    Admin: semesterly form; re-do new form. NO, YES.
    Life Stuff: more dull tasks (pick any three). Cook something new. YES (very small tasks); YES.

    Ugh. Last week started out really well, then went downhill on the health front. It looks like I can't manage curry spices any more; they're not FODMAPs, just irritants. A teaspoon or so of a curry, as a condiment, appears to be acceptable, but not sauce-y amounts. So sleep and exercise all went by the wayside for a bit, along with energy and motivation. However, besides the spinach-based curry, my other New Cooking had a happier outcome: a flourless chocolate cake (well, cupcakes) for Sir John's birthday. I forgot to compensate for using unsweetened rather than bittersweet chocolate, so it's a good thing we both like very dark chocolate.

    Furthermore, the conference was cancelled; I have never before heard of this happening, and it's just as well considering all the other things I'm working on. But since I don't like change, I was still a little annoyed about the change of plans!

    I am pleased with having finished a set of papers within nine days of receiving them. I even started them the very day after they came in, hoping to turn them around in a week or less. Considering that sometimes I have papers a week before I even start, this was a huge blow against the Overwhelm Monster, although he's circling back around with threats about research, and I have another class's papers coming in tomorrow night.

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    1. This week's goals:
      Health: return to regular exercise, stretching, sleep schedule.
      Research: keep up with language work; more translation style checking; edit introduction based on new editorial comments.
      Teaching: prep; look at new set of papers on Saturday.
      Admin: semesterly form; committee questions.
      Life Stuff: more dull tasks (pick any three).

      I keep reminding myself that it will not always be February, and sometime it will be possible to walk outside again, which will make exercise easier.

      Oh, another external monster: House Maintenance. She is a Bitch On Wheels, huge, covered in flaking plaster, with multiple limbs made out of downspouts, laths, water pipes, etc., and tentacles of electrical cords and bits of duct tape, which come loose and wrap around the unwary, pinioning them (perhaps for later consumption).

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