the grid

the grid

Friday 17 November 2017

Week 11: Clear the decks

I'm about to hand over final marks and jump on the plan for a big family adventure. This is our first overseas travel with the kids, so cross fingers and wish me luck!

In preparation for getting ready, I've been frantically trying to tick off tasks to be done: some of that has involved completing (or letting things go), in other cases it's been finding the right people to take up tasks and add more than I could anyway. I've even had to move my office plants out to where someone else can keep them watered. Clearing the decks has been literal as well as metaphorical, and rather cathartic.

What would you like off your deck this week?

Amstr (brought over)
-catch up on MF goal (3000 words)
-submit to 5-7 agents
-menu plan/grocery shop
-get hallway cleaned; schedule some time for dreaded house project

Contingent Cassandra
--move a bit (walk at least 1x, weights at least 1x)
--get the most fragile bulbs in the ground
--get the #$@! course description done
--get 2nd book order done
--Make substantial progress on pedagogy project grant application

Dame Eleanor Hull
1) Self: daily exercise and stretching, enough sleep, work on at least 2 languages, do the necessary cooking so I can eat safely.
2) Research: 7 hours on main project, focusing on product. 3 hours on translation.3) Teaching: grade undergrads' tp3, grads' kw2.4) House/Life: pay bills, prep for Thanksgiving travel.5) Remember my session goals: Live with uncertainty and work the process.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Finish strategic plan (TRQ)
Finish group article (TRQ)
Plan presentation for the end of the month.
Keep up with NaNo.
Sew one stocking together; pin the second one.
Tai Chi for ten minutes a day -- before work.
Reply to other comments.

Good Enough Woman
checked in, no new goals

heu mihi
1. To 37k on novel.
2. Run x 3.
3. Prepare for and give a little presentation on Wednesday.
4. Ch. 2 of dissertation, for real
5. Meditate x 3, FOR REAL. Maybe shouting at myself will help.


1 30 minutes writing/research every day
2 write and submit Signature abstract
3 set up interview with blog post contact
4 revisit Pink Research to see if it’s a viable project

1) keep up the good practices around evenings-and-mornings, and get off my phone earlier
2) look over where GallimaufreyReviewPaper is up to, and email an update to everyone to check in
3) Take one small BlackSummerProjectPaper action
4) make hopefully final edits to GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted
5) Spend an hour on ProblemChild3's text, and make contact with FormerPDF to divide up the work on the figures that needs doing.
6) enjoy NaNoWriMo
7) stay a week ahead on class stuff

1. Finish marking big assignment
2. Apply for supplementary role
3. Make initial enquiries about science communication activity
4. Writing for 30 mins each day
5. 2 hours of research

1. Send off review
2. Work on R & R,
3. Write two more letters of rec
4. Expenses from conference
5. Walk three times
6. Continue not bringing iPad to bed/ disconnect from social media

1. Try to finish draft of F32 paper
2. Submit IRB
3. Really work on the PTSD intro this time
4. More work on the review 


  1. And checking in before I'm offline for a while.

    Goals for this week (may also hold over for next if I can't get wifi)
    - do Couch to 5K run 3 x each week
    - complete draft of upcoming conference paper
    - remeber to breathe, slow down, and enjoy the journey

    1. How long is your trip? Good luck! I hope it goes smoothly and that you all have a lot of fun.

  2. Hope you have an enjoyable and easy journey, enjoy the trip!

  3. Oh for goodness sake! I've done something to the cookies on my computer and it's taken me 10 minutes just to post a comment. Stupid computer stuff, that's what I'd like to clear the decks of! Failing that, marking. I've got a wee pile glowering at me from the corner and I'd like it off my planet.

    The above may foreshadow how the last week went!

    Last week
    1. Finish marking big assignment - nearly, just the feedback to finish
    2. Apply for supplementary role - applied, now have to prep for interview/presentation
    3. Make initial enquiries about science communication activity - thought about it some more
    4. Writing for 30 mins each day - nope
    5. 2 hours of research - nope

    It was an icky week really, too tired/fatigued to do many substantial things, particularly by the end of the week.

    This week:
    1. finish marking
    2. science comm activity planning
    3. finish planning and run outreach event
    4. tackle ethics forms for two projects
    5. email collaborators for other project

    1. I'm sorry you had an icky week. I hope you're feeling better and that it's nothing serious.

      Good luck with finishing that wee stack of marking so that you can get to the other TLQ items.

      Are you doing much knitting?

    2. Thanks, feeling a bit better. Fatigue is a 'long term side effect' of all the treatment and sometimes it gets the better of me.

      I've been knitting a shawl, I have some American yarn (Quince) and a nice pattern. It's the most complex pattern I've followed but I'm getting the hang of it.

    3. I can certainly imagine that the fatigue would linger for a long time. Well, I hope you have some time for rest in your near future.

      Impressed that you are digging into complex patterns. I haven't picked up my needles in a LONG time. Happy knitting to you!

  4. Topic: I want to clear the decks of as many things that involve colleagues as I can. It sounds curmudgeonly now that I type it out, but I yearn to set my own timetable, especially for the holiday season. Of course, I realize that I have external time constraints--the grant work is due at the end of June, and the sabbatical will be time-limited as well, but I am the mistress of my own fate in those ventures.

    Last week’s goals:
    Finish strategic plan (TRQ)
    Yes. Can I ask why some people want to wordsmith in a meeting? I’ll be more than happy to compile suggestions and edit the document, if I can just avoid sitting around arguing over the most felicitous phrase. *runs screaming into the night*
    Finish group article (TRQ)
    Yes. Another tortuous session, with the happy difference that I am allowed to do the final editing, all by myself. *offers thanks to the grammar gods*
    Plan presentation for the end of the month.
    Yes. I have worked with my co-presenter, and all is set.
    Keep up with NaNo.
    Yes. Amazingly, I am still on track to finish by November 30th. I will have this coming Thursday and Friday off, so I hope to get slightly ahead those days.
    Sew one stocking together; pin the second one.
    Only have pinned them both.
    Tai Chi for ten minutes a day -- before work.
    Three out of five days.
    Reply to other comments.
    Only two.

    Analysis: The strategic plan and group article took so much longer than necessary. Perhaps I trained too long to be a humanist, because I do not enjoy group projects. I would far rather trust that everyone else will be on the same timetable and get their parts to me so that I can gather everyone else’s parts, write my own, and be the one to give the overarching editorial voice. Instead one participant, higher in the hierarchy than the rest of us, ignored the article for eighteen months as data aged and the rest of us moved on. Now the zombie corpse has been resurrected, long after any of us are enthusiastic about it.

    NaNo is going well. I am still free-writing about the characters, the conflict, the antagonists of family and society, and so on. I’m having a blast, and am not worrying about whether every last word will end up in the finished piece.

    I do not yet have a good spot for my sewing machine in the communal study/craft room. I decided not to sew by hand, so I am waiting for tomorrow night’s “Free Sew” evening at my local public library, where sewing machines are available for use.

    Both Tai Chi and responding to comments suffer from my “I’ll do it later,” syndrome. I need to take a carpe diem attitude and exercise or respond when I first think of it.

    Next week’s goals:
    Write Faculty Council report. (TRQ)
    Sew Christmas stockings.
    Plan Thanksgiving for myself and sons.
    Get to 50K words on NaNo--for the win.
    Tai Chi ten minutes a day.
    Leave more comments than last week.
    Clear my half of the study.

    For all celebrating American Thanksgiving this week, have a lovely week and a lovely long weekend. For all those not celebrating, may you have several other things to celebrate this week. Excelsior, everyone!

    1. Oh, I hear you on the group editing nonsense! There's a big committee in my department that I suspect I'll end up on in the next few years, and it seems that this is their main task. I am filled with trepidation and loathing.

      Your NaNo page inspired me to write a (rather crappy) synopsis on mine today. Glad that the writing is going well!

    2. This sounds like a great week!

  5. Hurrah for clearing the decks! I have a huge list of things I hope to do this week, knowing that some of them simply won’t get done. If I could focus on teaching responsibilities and get caught up there, I would feel much better heading into the end of the semester. Mostly it’s the burden of self-criticism about being a bad teacher because I don’t grade and return papers and exams promptly. I will try to stay on task there.

    Last week:
    1 30 minutes writing/research every day: not quite
    2 write and submit Signature abstract: yes
    3 set up interview with blog post contact: yes
    4 revisit Pink research to see if it’s a viable project: no

    I’m not sure about that Pink project. It seems like something relevant in the bigger world and likely to be publishable but I’m not sure I’m really all that interested in it. I decided to give this year to reading and getting some grounding (lit review) in two sub-areas that interest me, but I am not there yet and feel the itch to be writing. Why does reading and learning not feel productive?

    We have the whole week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, but then only two weeks of classes when we return to campus. It’s a strange time in terms of figuring out what I want to work on, since there are no pressing deadlines or projects. There is the grading to manage, and also:

    This week:
    1 30 minutes writing/research every day
    2 send query letter about February article
    3 try to live an orderly life, in whatever ways that manifests
    4 track time this week

  6. Clearing the decks: I have a lot of drafts and final papers that will be coming in after Thanksgiving, so I'd like to clear off a few stray papers (that came in late) and some quizzes and study questions--stragglers that I have neglected in the face of grading that was more pressing. It would also be good to clear out stuff in the garage, but I don't know that I'll get there.

    Well, I guess I forgot to post goals last week! That's probably why my daily writing went by the wayside. Nevertheless, here are a few TLQ things that I did:

    1) Had a fun one-on-one outing with my son.
    2) Got my big stacks of grading done earlier than I thought I would.
    3) Had to walking/jogging sessions.
    4) Made a nice dinner for siblings-in-law
    5) Helped my daughter and her friend study for a "middle ages" test.

    No real academic work, but valuable TLQ, all the same.

    I work through Wednesday of this week, but my kids have the whole week, which leads to some interesting juggling. After Wednesday afternoon, it will be difficult to get much done, but I'll need to try.

    This week:
    1) Grade two stacks of drafts.
    2) Get the evals done.
    3) Three walks/jogs (could sub one other outdoor activity).
    4) Prep for writing club.
    5) Read chapter/article draft.
    6) Be present for the family despite the need to do the above.
    7) Prepare Christmas presents for shipping.

  7. Well, one thing that I would really like off my deck--that dissertation--has lost its urgency; the defense will be in early January, about a month later than originally planned, so how about if I just not work on it for a while? :)

    The other thing that I want off my deck is class prep. So I'm going to work on that some this week, which we have off for Thanksgiving.

    Last week:
    1. To 37k on novel. DONE with a vengeance.
    2. Run x 3. DONE
    3. Prepare for and give a little presentation on Wednesday. DONE--this actually required almost 0 prep and wasn't really a presentation, as it turned out, so that was nice.
    4. Ch. 2 of dissertation, for real. STARTED.
    5. Meditate x 3, FOR REAL. Maybe shouting at myself will help.
    Shouting didn't help. I did it once. So that's something?

    This week:
    1. To 51,500 words of the novel (including the 8300 written in October)
    2. Read SGGK in full; prep day 1 of teaching it (and ideally day 2--I've taught it in a different context a million times, so this shouldn't be too hard. The challenge is that a lot of my students have read it before, too).
    3. Prep for first two days of new book
    4. Meditate x 3. Just keeping it on here.
    5. Run x 3.

    1. I love SGGK.

      And if shouting at yourself to meditate works, maybe you can market and brand the approach as a new method.

  8. I've been trying to clear the decks of these damned revisions for months, now, and I just am not managing it. I don't know what's wrong with me. Well, I do, but it just sounds like whining. I have managed to get more work done in worse circumstances, in the past. The problems: trying and failing to get the house on the market; problems sleeping due to on-going problem with back/hip pain (muscular in origin, at least, not a disk); my dad has been ill, now recovering, but will have to move out of his house, and though other family have been great about stepping up, this has meant quite a lot more communication with them than usual. Dealing with family is always fraught, for me, and I'm now keenly aware that my dad is entering a new phase of his life. I feel like I ought to be working my butt off to get things squared away so that, if necessary, I can drop everything to go out there; instead, I am doing a nice impression of a rabbit in the headlights.

    How I did:
    1) Self: daily exercise and stretching, enough sleep, work on at least 2 languages, do the necessary cooking so I can eat safely. MORE OR LESS. Keeping up fairly well here, though slacking a bit on exercise due to colder weather.
    2) Research: 7 hours on main project, focusing on product. 3 hours on translation. UM. Maybe 3 hours on main, 1 on translation, and 2 on the Other Revisions. So I'm doing something. It's just slow, and I feel stupid.
    3) Teaching: grade undergrads' tp3, grads' kw2. YES (as of today).
    4) House/Life: pay bills (YES), prep for Thanksgiving travel (SOME; must pack in the morning).
    5) Remember my session goals: Live with uncertainty and work the process. YES. Very grumpily, but yes.

    So, I'm doing more than I feel like I am. But it's all like pulling teeth, and I spend a lot of time on self-soothing activities like reading Jane Austen fan-fic.

    New goals: I will spend most of this week with family, and I plan not to try to do any real work during that time; I'll keep up with languages because they're soothing.
    1) Self: daily exercise and stretching, enough sleep, work on at least 2 languages, do the necessary cooking so I can eat safely.
    2) Others: be kind to everybody even if they don't deserve it; maintain detachment (maybe I'll start sitting again while I'm there).
    3) Remember my session goals: Live with uncertainty and work the process.

    1. I'm sorry about your father. Dealing with parental stuff brings out both the best and worst in sibling worlds. (And my sibs are basically great, but each has one thing that drives me nuts.)

      Enjoy your week!

  9. Clearing the decks? There's not a chance. What's doable? The pile of paper & bills on my desk? the book review that needs 30 minutes to finish? the R & R that I plan to complete tomorrow? The four sets of letters that I have to do? The 87 job applications to read? Sigh.

    Goals from last week:
    1. Send off review - NO (forgot it, just didn't do it)
    2. Work on R & R, YES - mapped out response on draft
    3. Write two more letters of rec NO
    4. Expenses from conference YES
    5. Walk three times NO
    6. Continue not bringing iPad to bed/ disconnect from social media NO

    Analysis: I'll start with the exercise because I think that shapes a lot: I have gone into my winter hibernation mode, where it's VERY difficult to get out of bed. Add to that a night with almost no sleep, and I've been very tired too. And no days without obligations.

    This week is hard, because it's a holiday; I'm driving my mother 300 miles, we'll be staying with my brother & almost 4 year old twins, and Thursday is a holiday. Also, I cook for my brother & SIL. So any work I get done there will be first thing in the morning before the kids get up, or at night.

    Deck clearing (tomorrow)
    1. Deal with at least some of the paper
    2. Finish the book review, email journal for guidelines I've lost
    3. Try to complete R & R, except maybe the footnote fixing.

    4. Exercise - especially over the weekend (walk tomorrow, walk/go to gym when down south
    5. Try to start another book
    6. Send off one set of letters; write another