the grid

the grid

Friday 23 September 2016

Week Two: Hold the Space

This session prompt is a bit shorter than usual - sick kid and solo parenting weekend. Many of us are in a busy period right now. How can we hold a space to be present and inentional for ourselves, and where applicable, for those around us?


allan wilson
exercise 3x, and not work.

Contingent Cassandra
come up with session goals. 

1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1
2) Data organization for Paper 1
3) Finish and perfect Major Conference Talk for next week

Dame Eleanor Hull
For next week: since I just submitted an article and my sabbatical report, and promptly came down with the respiratory crud that's making its way around my department, I want to rest on my laurels for a few days. My plan is to spend the weekend reading novels on the couch, and probably stay home on Monday, and then see if I'm well enough to tackle the rest of the week. So I guess this week's theme is "rest and recover," and if I regain some energy mid-week, I'll come back and add some more specific tasks related to my session goals.

Earnest English
Gardening: move forward on blueberry project

Writing: 5 sessions

Health: start going to bed earlier; take supplements

Mental health: meditate 1x this week; move like water; pay some attention to checking in and trying to relax

Cooking: one meal this week

Planning: spend a couple hours updating calendar and figuring things out

Spirited!: work with him to get him back on track

Work: spend a couple hours putting syllabi together instead of waiting until next week and panicking; spend minimal time on worry

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Write recommendation letter (TLQ now, but will become TRQ if I’m not careful)
Write commentary ½ hour times 5
Organize files for book ½ hour times 5
Walk the dog ½ hour times 3

Good Enough Woman
1) Finish the PhD thesis by Wednesday.
2) Print, Bind, and Mail the thesis by Thursday (or Friday if I have some technical difficulties)
3) Try not to cancel more than one day of teaching.

1 Finish references and final edits for chapters 2, 3, and 4
2 Write to JB and JW for photo permissions
3 Look through personal digital photos for decent shots
4 Read 50 pages of a review book 

It's the last week before students return. I have a schools outreach thing to do, multiple meetings to attend (some of which will be stressful), and a gadzillion things on my list. My email count is already soaring... however, these are the things in the TLQ that I would like to aim for.
1) self-care - sleep, eat, back to the gym maybe twice (I've been travelling or recovering from an injured ankle for a month, enough excuses - and as I've hardly been in the office, my office-chair-aggravated back problems are currently much reduced, and keeping moving will definitely help that to last)
2) half an hour a day/2.5 hours over the week on the immediate list - Problem Child, article refereeing. Nowhere near what's needed, but realistically possible, and more than nothing.
3) take ten minutes every day at work to file stuff or tidy stuff or just sharpen pencils, to keep my space MINE.
4) take ten minutes every day for tiny pieces of chaos reduction, domestic maintainance, or crochet - something about things not words, and which feels like an achievement (even if it's just loading or unloading the dishwasher).
5) practice observing other people with detached kindness... (Oh look the funny man is shouting again, he's going red, how interesting, he must have had a bad morning already)

1. Writing experiment one - diarised time on two days of the week for reading then writing
2. Investigate stand-sit desk thingy
3. make daily to do lists

KJ Haxton
1. revise scary research tool, project information sheet and consent form and get it ready for printing
2. edit house research tool 1 and get it ready for printing
3. make headway in teaching prep.

1. Finish paper for October conference and post by Thursday.
2. Organize things for trip to lovely research library next weekend: which footnotes can I easily check there?
3. Finish reading novel I started when on vacation in August.
4. Walk one day.

1. Make edits to religion paper
2. Write LOI
3. Outline lit review for intersection manuscript
4. Survive the first US presidential debate! :)


  1. I have rested. I stayed home Tuesday as well as Monday. I did a few necessary prep things and taught on Thursday. But I am still not well. I am also angry because I am not getting a course release that I thought I was going to have. There is nothing I can do to change that. I'm sure being furious is bad for my immune system.

    Goals for next week:
    1. Sort out a translation-related thing.
    2. Review 500 lines of translation.
    3. Put in 8 hours on R&R #1 (tasks: review paper, review feedback, review my notes, start revising paper by entering comments etc in the margins of my printout).
    4. Grade/comment all the current low-stakes things.
    5. Do a financial thing I've been putting off.
    6. Make 2 phone calls for estimates on house repairs.
    7. Self-care: daily exercise and yoga; meditate 3x.

    TRQ: course description for course I didn't think I would have. Expense report for trip I didn't think I'd get any money for (I guess that's a good thing that happened this week, but I'd rather have the course release. Yes, I'm sulking).

    Topic: I'm trying to channel the anger to create distance between me and work. I will do my job, but they're not getting any extra from me. I'm going to be looking after myself and making sure I take the time I need to be healthy. This is tricky because while I love my research and do it both for myself and to impress my larger scholarly community, it also gets me points at work and right now I really don't want to please anybody at work so in the last day or so I've been not-working out of pique. Nose, face, spite. I can't say I recommend anger as a way to hold space for yourself, but it's where I am at present.

    1. Rest some more!!! Sometimes well-timed anger is a useful reminder of where our priorities should be!

    2. You speak my truth here. In addition to the spiral of research that is rewarding personally and connected to the larger scholarly community (since my institution doesn't support or deserve it), I struggle with wanting to give the minimum to teaching vs. giving the best for the students who are really committed to their education. So many boundaries, so many blurred lines.

      You have every right to sulk and be disappointed.

    3. More enraging bureaucracy this morning. I may be in flames by noon.

    4. Ah, so sorry to hear this latest, as well as the earlier causes for anger. I think this bureaucratic nonsense of not following through on promises because it doesn't fit the "needs" of the corporation (oh, I mean university) is sheer crap. I'm still smarting from my "Oh, I changed my mind" fun last fall. We should NOT be seen as at-will employees, but all too often we are. Sorry business all around!

      My DH reminds me that I give people power over me when they upset me longer than they should (um, like a year later), but it is so hard to let it go!

    5. It's a double bind, really. They don't deserve to hang out rent-free in my head, but not being angry is more than human nature can manage (over here, anyway). And since there is nothing I can do about the situation, there's nothing constructive to do with the anger. If I were healthier I would have burned some of it off at the gym, but though I am better today, it will take a little longer to work back up to full work-out strength. So I'm trying to just sit with the anger. I'd rather be angry than depressed, which is something I've done with anger in the past. This time, it's not me, it's them.

    6. When they do something scuzzy, it's good to live with the anger for a bit. But then I have to say, I can't let them rule my life. Hope you can get back to the gym -- it does help. As does time.

    7. Ugh. I'm sorry. For better or for worse, I don't have the research-based dilemmas, but trying to figure out how to be fair to both my students and myself given the less-than-ideal conditions in which I teach (and the less-than-ideal conditions in which many of my students are trying to get an education) is a constant struggle.

  2. This last week is making me call for a complete DO-OVER of the first TLQ session... I got sick, and then had to go camping with an elementary school class in the rain for two days. Then I left for my conference where I'm enjoying my hotel room and the peace and quiet to an obscene degree :)

    1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1 ONE PARAGRAPH DONE... SAD...
    2) Data organization for Paper 1 NOT DONE
    3) Finish and perfect Major Conference Talk for next week DONE!

    I don't get back till halfway through this week, so I'm going to stick with the two goals from last week.

    1) Introduction, Literature review and previous work section for Paper 1
    2) Data organization for Paper 1

    Topic: I don't know! I know I'm always present for the kid, so I guess that counts, but that is not really planned, it is more instinct. Holding space will have to be something to think about... As soon as the rush is over? Reminds me of a post-it my Mom used to have on her desk that said: "As soon as the rush is over, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. I owe it to myself and nobody is going to deprive me of it!"
    I don't think think she ever had one :)

    1. Is the rush ever over? I think that the same way people say you can't wait for the right time to get married or to have a child, you can't wait for the right time for self-care. My aunt (I am her mini-me) had that quote on a plaque in her kitchen, so many warm memories for me there.

    2. I agree with humming42, the rush is never over. I tend to remind myself of the airplane safety instructions to put one's oxygen mask on first. The nervous wreck me is no use to anyone, not even myself!

      I understand the instinctual being there for the child, but being there for yourself is equally vital.

    3. I, too, remember that saying (though I don't think it was in our home; my mother had "children learn what they live" on a tea towel, instead. That one's good, but maybe a bit too demanding, especially of mothers; one could, however, add some lines about children seeing adults taking care of themselves, and learning to do the same). I think the whole point of the nervous-breakdown passage is, indeed, that the rush is never over (so one might as well have the breakdown, or at least take a break, *now*).

  3. This week was hard - Tuesday I had both counselling AND a meeting with Incoming to go over my Occupational Health report (and be lectured, with great intentions, about my Negativity and Bad Attitude, again), Thursday was the schools thing which was a very long and hard day (the day before one of the other speakers had to drop out and I had to pull together a version of her talk which I could give, I had to get up at 5-30am (2 hours earlier than the already painful-to-my-medicated-self norm), it was a very long drive both ways in a hire car with colleagues I feel I need to be professional around (& I got the back of the hire car both ways, having the shortest legs), on the way back we saw the very-soon-after-math of a big smash-up on the motorway and had to drive through the resultant bad traffic, and I spilled hot tea on my lap at the school and then managed to tear the inner thigh of my trousers - I don't think anyone saw, but in covering it up the torn piece rolled and rubbed where my thighs are fattest (and was no doubt made worse in this by being tea-soaked) creating a long open sore on one inner thigh so I was walking like John Wayne for a couple of days (it's healing fine, at least) and feeling like the fattest, most incompetent and self-abusing person in the history of forever), and on that same day we got the news that a colleague died (cancer - we knew they were sick, but most people had no idea HOW sick). And all the usual things, like not having a complete timetable, and paperwork, and stuff. So I'm upset, having trouble focusing, and stressed!

    last week's goals:
    1) self-care - sleep not enough, but not too bad, eat good until Thursday evening, when I Totally Lost It - and am not feeling so great in consequence, back to the gym maybe twice no - inertia and then the thigh 'wound'
    2) half an hour a day/2.5 hours over the week on the immediate list - Problem Child, article refereeing. I did about 3-4 hours yesterday. Escapism, but I'll take it!
    3) take ten minutes every day at work to file stuff or tidy stuff or just sharpen pencils, to keep my space MINE. Monday to Wednesday, yes
    4) take ten minutes every day for tiny pieces of chaos reduction, domestic maintainance, or crochet - something about things not words, and which feels like an achievement (even if it's just loading or unloading the dishwasher). Monday to Wednesday, yes, and Thursday I did a decent chunk of crocheting before succumbing to face-stuffing
    5) practice observing other people with detached kindness... I don't know & I don't much care

    1. For this week:
      1) be kind to my colleagues, and to myself. Do not get annoyed by platitudes - focus on the real feeling they mask. Write a nice letter of condolence to Colleague's Spouse
      2) self care. Take vitamins and Echinaceae, sleep, eat better, move a little more. Make an appointment to meet the Man At The Gym when I get back from the residential trip.
      3) half an hour a day, or 2.5 hours over the week, on researchish stuff - I HAVE to do two refereeing tasks and edit/polish an encyclopedia entry for the 30th, but I'm calling this TLQ anyway, just because.
      4) crochet, tidy, clean, 10 minutes of SOMETHING most days

      How can we hold a space to be present and inentional for ourselves, and where applicable, for those around us?

      With great difficulty! I'm not good at this, but I think I am good at keeping trying again to do it. It matters, it's all tied up with acting deliberately, with being grounded or rooted or otherwise steady in one's progress, aware of one's own drummer, not being tossed around. But it's very hard. I actually envy people with children/spouses because for me it seems like being properly present with other people (especially small children) is easier than doing it for myself by myself, and see in many of my friends the sort of instinctual drive Daisy talks about which makes it happen, but I know that's "grass is greener" syndrome in some ways.

    2. You've had a really rough week.

      I like the idea of focusing on the real feeling under platitudes. It works for administrative snakes as well as well-meaning people who don't know what to say.

    3. You have had a bad week. It truly irritates me to hear about your being lectured--I have been treated to those "you're not being a team player" lectures, and they infuriate me.

      I hope this week is better. I do like your trying to mine the platitudes for the real feelings.

    4. There *may* be a context in which lecturing someone about their "attitude" makes sense, but, if so, I can't bring one to mind. It seems to me that such lectures are usually an indication that the person doing the lecturing, despite holding more power, by some measure, than the person being lectured, is feeling powerless to change the situation in any constructive way, and pretty discouraged/negative themselves, and, unable to vent their frustrations at those above them in the hierarchy, has decided to vent at subordinates (or sometimes equals) in a way that shifts the blame to them.

      It can also, I think, be a sign of a dreamer/big ideas person (the type who often seeks out a managerial post of some sort) feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day details that go into the implementation (or not) of the dream (or unwilling to grapple with those details, and resentful of those who do, and so realize all the practical ramifications of big-picture changes/decisions).

      Whatever the reasons, it's not good behavior, and not good management, because it saps the energy of those on the receiving end of the lectures.

  4. I find myself talking the talk about holding a space but realize that I don’t do the best job of it for myself. I’ve been in this “when I finish the book manuscript” space for so long that I feel like no other space is possible until then. Not the best strategy because I end up procrastinating.

    The goals I set for this week are the simple, straightforward things I needed to for rpb and book reviews, and I would not have done them if I were not accountable here. So thank you, TLQ friends.

    Last week:
    1 Finish references and final edits for chapters 2, 3, and 4: yes
    2 Write to JB and JW for photo permissions: yes
    3 Look through personal digital photos for decent shots: yes
    4 Read 50 pages of a review book: maybe 20

    This week:
    1 Ungloomy is due in a week so I expect that will occupy most of my time
    2 Finish book one for book review
    3 Final read through for rpb chapter 5

    1. Good job on the goals, and I echo your thanks for the accountability of the group. I would do much more binge watching and needlework, which are benign, and whining and feeling sorry for myself, which are not, if I didn't have this group.

  5. The week in review:
    Exercise 3x - yes. A small victory in the chaos.

    The rise of angriness as part of our discussion here interests me, as I too have been angry this week. One of the ways I am trying to 'hold my space' is to choose when I work, and hence remove myself from work officially during weekends. Last weekend I was required to complete a piece of work at extremely short notice (ie I got the request on Saturday morning, by text message) before travelling for a conference on Sunday. I was wild. And tired. I did not hold my space. In the interests of being a 'team player' at work, I did what was asked. I also did not do an especially good conference presentation as I did not have time to prepare. I do not consider this request to be fair or reasonable - I want to signal that this is NOT OK. But the question is, how best to do this. I am contemplating asking for a pay rise. If, apparently, I am the only person in our whole company who has this skill, then I think I should be at a higher pay rate. I am ranting because I am so pissed off about it all. This feels like one of those straws that breaks the camel's back. I felt backed into a corner. So, yes, I need to find ways to hold my space, or have my colleagues or managers recognise that there is indeed an issue with the demands of this job. Arggh.

    Goals this week:
    1. Exercise 4x. This is a priority for me, and as things remain chaotic, I am holding on to this for dear life as part of my 'space'.
    2. Redo paper 1 for resubmission.
    3. Read a novel or similar for 20 mins a day as part of my calming strategy.
    4. Work out a strategy for discussing the above issue with my manager.
    allan wilson

    1. Exercise makes everything better. For me, anyway. I hope it helps you as well.

    2. Oh, jeez. They learn on Saturday that an emergency task has to be done? Really? I hope you find a way to deal with that with your manager.

    3. Ugh. The only thing I can think of (and I don't claim to be good at all at this sort of thing) is to point out that the request was especially difficult because you'd blocked out the time to prepare for the conference (without saying that you felt the conference presentation suffered for it; that's always the tricky part, and one with which I *am* familiar from arguments about the effect of class load and other working conditions on the effectiveness of teaching). Maybe a "I managed, but is there a way we can avoid this happening again?" type approach?

  6. I've been hogging up a lot of space for my PhD-seeking self, but certainly not for other parts of myself or for anyone else. This session will be about re-calibrating. I think I'm going to take a page out of Earnest English's book, and create weekly goals for different categories.

    Last week's goals:
    1) Finish the PhD thesis by Wednesday.
    2) Print, Bind, and Mail the thesis by Thursday (or Friday if I have some technical difficulties)
    3) Try not to cancel more than one day of teaching.

    I FINISHED IT ALL ON FRIDAY AND MAILED IT OFF! And I only cancelled one day of teaching. The printing, binding, mailing was extremely nerve-wracking, but it's gone, and I'm trying not to stress about the mistakes that I know are there. I don't know when the viva will be, so I'm just trying to stay calm and just focus on planning what to do for now (rather than worrying about what's happening on the examiners' end).

    This week I have some real TRQ as I get caught up with my classes and grading. Not sure I'll have much TLQ time, but, I'll try . . .

    1. Health: Exercise 2x (already swam once).
    2. Home: pay bills, check on credit card security breach
    3. Research: chapter or article 1x
    4. Read a chapter of the Slow Professor.
    5. Family and friends: Enjoy camping for nieces b-day next weekend, try to make time to see a movie with a friend

    Draft of Session goals (I'll go back in put this in the first week, too, at some point).

    1. Health-Exercise more regularly. 3x a week with walking, swimming, and yoga in the mix. More veggies for the whole family.
    2. Home--Get bills, and passwords, and Powerschool, etc. under control. Help kids with various things that are important to them.
    3. Research--Submit conference proposal by October deadline. Submit one article. Read 1-2 articles/chapters each week (to stay fresh and ready for the viva).
    4. Finish the Slow Professor, and choose various principles and practices for weekly goals (from time-to-time).
    5. Family and Friends--various weekly goals as I try to be intentional about doing things for family and friends that will really help them or make them happy.

    1. CONGRATULATIONS ON FINISHING THE THESIS!!!!!!! I hope you can celebrate that milestone!!!!!

    2. Hearty congratulations! Do you get to go the UK for the viva, or does it happen on Skype these days? Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment! You have done something that will STAY DONE.

    3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! That is HUGE!!!!!

    4. Hip Hip Hooray! Sure there are mistakes. And in two weeks you can find them. But it's done.

      And I've got your session goals noted.

    5. Many many congratulations. Fantastic on getting the thesis finished! aw

    6. Thanks everybody! Not just for these congratulations, but also for supporting me throughout this process.

      And DEH, I think I'll probably have to go to the UK for the viva. I asked the post-graduate coordinator about Skype, but he said that people tend to still like to do the viva face-to-face. My fantasy is that my examiners will read the thesis and say, "This thesis is great! And, therefore, Skype is just fine!" But I doubt that will happen. So I'll probably be going. It will be an expensive disruption, but, at the same time, since I chose to attend a school in the UK, I can't complain too much about having to go there to finish things up.

      Funny story: After I emailed my department to let them know when the bound copies would arrive, and to send my electronic copy, my newish secondary supervisor sent me the chapter feedback she said she's send two weeks ago. Yes, she sent me feedback after I submitted my final draft. I won't be reading her comments and corrections for a few weeks. On the upside, she said that, overall, the draft was very good.

    7. Late to the party but - YAY!!! Congratulations!

    8. Another late but hearty Congratulations!!!

      And a "hah" on the even-later-to-the-party secondary supervisor. At some point you've just gotta keep moving.

      Is the viva definitely the end of the process at your institution, or might they ask for additional revisions (this seems to differ at U.S. institutions; mine was one where nearly everybody gets a handshake and a "congratulations, Dr. ---" after a few nervewracking minutes in the hall after the defense, but I know a reasonable number of people who had revisions to do after the defense. Usually binding pre-defense means the defense is the final step; hope that's the case for you.

    9. CC, the defense likely will not be the final step. It's very common to get corrections, so the question is whether or not I have to do *minor* corrections, which vary in terms of how "minor" they, but they still constitute a "pass" (although I don't think I'd be a "Dr." yet until the corrections were made and confirmed). I could also be sent back to do major corrections. This is more problematic and does not indicate that I've passed (I don't think). I could also fail, and be given the opportunity to resubmit in a year (or so), starting all over again with new examiners. I don't think I will fail.

      Either way, I'm probably not finished with the document.

  7. Last week:
    1. Make edits to religion paper - DONE
    2. Write LOI - DRAFTED
    3. Outline lit review for intersection manuscript - NOT DONE - I worked on the analyses for an aging paper instead
    4. Survive the first US presidential debate! :) - TONIGHT!

    Last week was a rough one for me, and I was totally MIA at my postdoc. I worked from home all week because a ton of things hit me at once (anniversary of my dad's death, computer died, injured myself and could barely walk and some rough relationship stuff). I think that likely pissed off mentors of the 50% of my postdoc about which I am not enthused. Best mentor in the world didn't know I didn't come in because we wouldn't have seen each other last week anyway. So, I'm pretty nervous about the reactions and the consequences. I'm really unhappy in that part of my postdoc, but both mentors were instrumental in my finishing my PhD, so I really don't want to burn any bridges. So, I guess I can try to be intentional and present with them and explain what was/has been going on. I tend to be (not unlike Hillary Clinton) pathologically private, so being up front about struggles and concerns is hard for me.

    This week:
    1. Figure out what to do about LOI (I can't be PI and the faculty member I asked to be PI is being weird about it).
    2. Write blurb
    3. Analytic plan
    4. Read some articles in the suicide literature and come up with project ideas
    5. Write outline for intersection paper

    1. Sorry you had a rough week. Can you just say "A ton of things hit me at once and I really needed to work from home so I could deal with them"? Good luck with the meting/explanations, anyway. I totally get the wanting to be private.

    2. Sorry about your week. And I've just survived the debate, so I hope you did too. Twitter kept me sane.

    3. Thank you Susan and Dame Eleanor for the support! I met with my mentor today, and she seemed pretty happy with me, so that is a huge relief! Diss advisor seems pretty annoyed with me though. That said, I'm thinking it wasn't a great idea to keep working with my diss mentor as a postdoc. Sometimes it is time to move onto other things. I meet with world's best mentor later this week - I'm pretty excited for that, but feel a press to make massive headway on projects tomorrow before we meet.

      Susan - Surviving the debate prolly should have been our only goal for the week!

    4. Late sympathies for the rough week (and another congratulations -- to us all -- for surviving the debate. May we now survive the election, and the 4 years that follow.) It sounds like you made progress, and created the conditions in which you could make progress, which is a win in my book. And yes, brief explanations may be necessary, though a combination of physical injury and the need to focus on deadlines in a space conducive to that seems like a pretty good reason for working at home. It also sounds like the major goal with diss advisor should, probably, be "not burning bridges"/transitioning to a former-colleagues relationship as soon as possible (though of course some of that is probably out of your control; hence one reason for bridge-maintaining).

  8. Topic: How can we hold a space to be present and intentional for ourselves, and where applicable, for those around us?

    Great question. Most of the time I feel I have more control over my time than I did when I was teaching full-time, but I realize that I am deluding myself sometimes. I am expected to keep a calendar online, which allows me to block out time for planning, writing, and the like. However, there is also the expectation that I should be available at the drop of a hat, since I am never doing anything “important” during those times. After quelling the temptation to put “conferring with Provost” on my calendar, I merely put a room number, which works better. I have had the empty office I was using for writing taken away (again--this is the second time this year!) for a visiting academic, so I am haunting empty carrels on the upper floors.

    As for holding space for personal things--such as children and significant others--except for conferences held on the weekends and that sort of thing, I am not expected to work on the weekends, although there is a creeping corporate culture that rewards those who work beyond the traditional workday and come in on weekends. My Dean was praising a colleague about her working an 11-hour day, which strikes me as so corporate, and so contrary to an academic institution. Ah well.

    Last week’s goals:
    Write recommendation letter (TLQ now, but will become TRQ if I’m not careful). YES
    Write commentary ½ hour times 5 YES
    Organize files for book ½ hour times 5 YES
    Walk the dog ½ hour times 3 Only 2 times

    I turned in the recommendation letter four days early, which made me feel very virtuous. I also managed to write first thing upon getting to the office all five weekdays. I would like to get my half of the home office set up, but I find that all the Sturm und Drang swirling about at the office just exhausts me by the end of the day. I find myself doing crafts and reading, and not much else beyond the necessary cleanup to keep my house from being a fascinating midden pile in a few centuries.

    All the iterative and slightly changed versions of the dissertation/book are now merged. I now need to figure out what to excise and expand. Except for a day when No. 2 Son walked the dog in the rain for me, I did get out with her. She is pretty good on the lead, even when we see deer and other wildlife, but she freaks out when she sees another dog. I cannot figure that out. She used to live with a dog, but she still acts like she’s never seen one before.

    Like GEW, I really like Earnest English’s breaking of goals into topics, but as I am running somewhat behind in reporting, I will wait on that classification project.

    Next week’s goals:
    Plan and schedule doctors’ appointments
    Write commentary 1 hour x 5
    Walk the dog ½ hour x 4

    Move like water, float like mist, everyone. Have a great week!

    1. I'm reading yes, yes, yes, and 2 out of 3 on your goals. That's great!

    2. Thanks Elizabeth Anne for this post- I particularly like the idea of blocking out writing time in my calendar, which at this point is probably exactly what I need to do as I am swamped by meetings - and when I read your comment about the creepiness of corporate culture being rewarded, I felt like shouting yes! How apt! What a great turn of phrase to describe what goes on. Thanks for making me smile about this insidiousness. aw

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  10. Holding space for ourselves, being intentional. I'm not good at this, and am too haphazard. I do try to cut off work at a certain point (early tonight because I decided to do my civic duty and watch an intelligent woman on stage with an ignorant bully). But I also respond to far too many emails at the weekend, and try to keep up with what other people need. Not ideal. I am trying to create some boundaries this semester, but the challenge is for me, not for others.

    Last week's goals:
    1. Finish paper for October conference and post by Thursday. DONE on Thursday, but not posted till Saturday

    2. Organize things for trip to lovely research library next weekend: which footnotes can I easily check there?
    Done, but last minute, poorly organized.
    3. Finish reading novel I started when on vacation in August.
    4. Walk one day.
    No, but went to the gym two mornings while visiting my brother.

    Reflection: it always takes more time to go somewhere than I expect. But I got there, and had lunch with a colleague who was loving my book ms. So that was good. I checked the absolutely vital footnotes, and a few others. Then I enjoyed a weekend as "Auntie Susan", helping my brother with his twin 2 1/2 year olds while my sister-in-law was away. So it wasn't restful, but certainly a break!

    Goals for next week:
    1. Finish assessment stuff and personnel stuff that is long overdue (TRQ, but must be done)
    2. Check one chapter of footnotes
    3. Return to book I need to review
    4. Walk one time.

    1. That does sound like a good break (though, yes, not restful -- 2.5-year-olds are not easy, though they certainly aren't boring). I've got an odd 10-day-or-so period of mostly travel in about a month (two back to back trips with 1 home/teaching day in between), and I need to think about how best to make them a time to think about some long-term projects, and generally regroup. This is a good reminder to start working toward that goal, especially in terms of taking as little grading as possible with me.

  11. It's now official: I've reached the end of being able to put off really getting back to work in a serious way. (Don't hate me -- I work well into June for that privilege.) I need to get things done while taking good care of myself. I think that means really checking in with myself regularly and trying to relax. That's pretty intentional, right? That's what I need to think about this week. Can I try to feel grounded? Do I need a mantra to say to feel grounded?

    Last Week's Goals

    Gardening: move forward on blueberry project: NO
    Writing: 5 sessions: YES
    Health: start going to bed earlier; take supplements: SOMEWHAT but I get a free pass on this because I went to the dentist and it hurt for the weekend after, so I get a gold star
    Mental health: meditate 1x this week; move like water; pay some attention to checking in and trying to relax: FAIL, just fail. I didn't meditate and ended up seething angry at one point over nothing. Total waste of energy. (On the other hand, maybe it was like an emotional hot flash. Hmm.)
    Cooking: one meal this week: YES! Happy on this front.
    Planning: spend a couple hours updating calendar and figuring things out: SORT OF. I got focused on planning and then having the perfect calendar and then ordered a new calendar and it's not come yet. Stupid.
    Spirited!: work with him to get him back on track: NAILED IT
    Work: spend a couple hours putting syllabi together instead of waiting until next week and panicking; spend minimal time on worry: DIDN'T WORK ON SYLLABI though I did spend minimal time on worry

    So now I have work to do.

    This Week's Goals

    Work: Syllabi done and into printing, Blackboard uploaded, first week prepped, make most unpleasant phone call, write service letter, schedule meeting, begin to write up document, minimal time on drama, email service obligation
    Gardening: move forward on blueberry project
    Writing: 3 sessions
    Health: start going to bed earlier; take supplements
    Mental health: meditate 1x this week; move like water; pay some attention to checking in and trying to relax
    Cooking: one meal this week
    Planning: give self enough time to get things done; try to get organized
    Spirited!: onward

    Move like water, float like mist, plod like a grounded turtle, everyone!

  12. Very late checkin here, but I'll claim part of holding my space has been deliberately choosing to stay off the computer at home in the evening.

    Anyway, last week
    1. Writing experiment one - diarised time on two days of the week for reading then writing. Did one day - had an article lined up. Read, took notes, ut in ILL request for a further resource coming, even updated Endnotes. Next day np. What I've learnt is morning is good, but it needs to be set up before hand to have a reasonable chunk and limited potential to self-sabotage.
    2. Investigate stand-sit desk thingy. DONE - bought and installed and using it (only short standing periods as I get used to it). Really happy I put this on my list - standing in the shop I thought about delaying but then realised how good it would feel to report back as done - and so did it!
    3. make daily to do lists - not so much.

    Not much left of this week, so I'll Keep the scope small:
    1. Make visible progress in the garden.
    2. Value sleep

  13. Very quick, very late check-in to say that the goal for the week now mostly past is the same as for the preceding one:

    --come up with session goals

    (I'm making progress, really!).

    1. Topic: the one bit of time that I'm generally pretty good at holding for myself and tending my relationships with others is Sunday morning (and sometimes Sunday afternoon when my small Bible study/support group at church meets). Partly out of obligation (to other humans more than God; I sing in the choir), and partly out of habit, I nearly always go to church on Sunday morning, and I almost always spend some time catching up with one or more other members afterward. I did miss two weeks in a row at the beginning of this term, both because I'd stayed up late the night before: in one case to do something for my brother's birthday, in one case because I was working on syllabi, due Monday. That was probably diagnostic of how the term was going to begin.

      And I think the above holds a clue to one thing I could do to hold a bit more time for myself, especially now as I'm feeling just a bit more caught up with the term (though definitely not fully there yet): I need to do a better job of detaching from work (and the internet more generally) in the evenings, and following a bedtime routine that leads to a more regular bedtime. Unfortunately, that requires being enough on top of things that I'm not staying up trying to finish one more thing that I really do owe my students, and the whole get-a-bit-ahead-to-stay-on-schedule thing is a bit too close kin to the "when the rush is over I'm going to have a nervous breakdown" quote mentioned above (which, I realize, resonates with me in part because I'm reasonably good at coping with emergencies, even relatively long-running ones, but tend to pay the price afterward). Nevertheless, I could apply a stricter "do I really have to do this now?" standard.

      In the longer term, this is also an argument for trying to take summers off from teaching again (which I feel curiously guilty about, even though I know it's a good idea). It's not so much that I used to get so much done during the summer, as that having both time off and time to do some household chores, self-care, reading, research, and class prep over the summer made for more, and more productive, time during the school year. So I guess that's my longer-term holding/making time for myself goal (and I will *not* feel guilty about it!)

    2. Hmm. I hadn't thought of the time I've kept for Church, but that's definitely time I block out. And we usually go out for breakfast afterwards, so it's a bit sociable.