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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Week 9: How's It Going?

Egads! Week 9? We're well over halfway through this iteration (which ends, I think, on April 1--is that right, humming42?). Anyway, it seems like a good time just to ask how things are going this time around.

If you want to go back and check on your session goals, here's the link to that post: Week 0. Goals are in the comments. I'm not going to post them all here because we'll be doing that anyway for the final check-in, and perhaps you don't want to go back to your goals--maybe you've changed your goals (in which case, feel free to talk about it!), or would prefer to just reflect on how you're feeling about this session so far. Have you learned anything about your own work habits? Are you sick of your projects? Dreaming about something new? Muse, vent, rant, reflect away!

Last week's goals:

1) Prep next 3 weeks of teaching
2) Spend time planning and doing accounting for grants

Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; get a massage.
2. Teaching: grade one set of papers; finish a writing assignment; prep something interesting for lower-div class.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; finish last MMP revisions and send that off.
4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; paint back stairs; do one other house thing.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:
1. Two hours x 5 on the sabbatical.
2. Walk 2.0 miles a day.
3. Three hours x 4 on the grant.
4. One hour x 4 on the novel.
5. Some craft project for one hour per day.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Make mammogram and ultrasound appointments.
2) Make oil change appointment (thanks for the reminder DEH!).
3) Pay taxes?
4) Read 2 SF stories.
5) Write 15 minutes, 5x. (Any kind of writing)
6) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
7) Do minor tailoring for daughter's dress for the dance (by Thursday at the latest!)

heu mihi:
1. Finish revising novel
2. 30 minutes of writing x 5. Tasks, in order of priority: (1) finish conference paper, (2) revise Silence, (3) plan for Wonder
3. Misc: Read grad document and prepare for meeting; apply for teaching thing; CC proposals; follow up on admin tasks
4. Meditate some amount
5. Grade all the things
6. Yoga x 2 and running x 3

1 LRP abstract on Thursday
2 Presentation on Friday
3 Daily recherche
4 Set actual deadlines for March (so I don’t spend spring break just reading novels)

1. Finish a good draft of keynote
2. Read dissertation draft chapter
3. Walk twice? 
4. Work on 7 hours of sleep


  1. Time flies when you're . . . really busy. I have some thoughts about being halfway through, but first, results from last week, and a paragraph of analysis.

    How I did:
    1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; get a massage. MOSTLY, YES, YES, YES.
    2. Teaching: grade one set of papers; finish a writing assignment; prep something interesting for lower-div class. NO, NO, YES.
    3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; finish last MMP revisions and send that off. YES, NO, YES.
    4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; paint back stairs; do one other house thing. NO, YES, NO.

    I’m slacking (or having trouble keeping up) in a few areas. I skipped a couple of weeks in my research spreadsheet, and caught up today, with reference to my calendar and personal journal, though the calendar is another thing that I haven’t been keeping up with well, along with stretching and translation work. Last week there two days when I didn’t stretch at all, though I think there was a day when I stretched twice. I’m back to translation today.

    Looking at the spreadsheet against the personal journal, it becomes clear that in the last couple of weeks, a few things were going on: time, headspace, and energy went to the medical/dental appointments and associated anxiety (though I *knew* the odds were strongly against any real problems, I am highly strung enough not to be able to *feel* what I know); when I was free of that, I had a few days of feeling grumpy about having to go back to the MMP yet again; and once I was done with that and had a day to celebrate, I was copied on a brewing fight between my brothers about my father’s care, which again occupied more mental real estate than I would say it deserved. I put a lot of energy into managing emotion. I am not a Vulcan. However, I can’t stand to be a drama queen getting hysterical about things that haven’t happened yet and aren’t likely to happen, or things I can do nothing about. (I was exposed to a whole lot of that from my mother.)

    The other problem is the one several of us have, about transitions. As long as I can focus on hitting my daily goal on One Main Thing, which right now needs to be translation, I can make excellent progress with that. I can even make some progress on other things, including research, if those are non-urgent and can be done just because I feel like it or as productive procrastination. As soon as something else (MMP revisions) becomes urgent, it also becomes a bigger deal than it really is, and it’s hard to put down the main thing and get into the other thing.

    Combining the personal/family stuff with the transition problem explains why my spreadsheet has a lot of empty spots in the last couple of weeks. However, taking the TLQ approach more broadly, I can see that I was making other significant progress here in self-care and house stuff.

    As for those student papers, I’m claiming that I waited for a student granted an extension to get the paper in . . . but it’s now been a week and I’m not going to wait any longer. I want those things done before spring break starts on Friday. (Goals in my next post.)

    1. Transitions, especially coupled with anxiety about an upcoming task or event, zap so much of my concentration and good use of time. I really struggle with this. Maybe meditation would be helpful with this? It seems heu mihi is pretty good at it. She's been able to get a lot done even in the days before a trip or birthday party for her son. I'd like to be able to do that.

  2. Paragraph, she says. TL;DR, I was doing other things than research.

    Goals for this week:
    Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, find something fun to read over spring break.
    Research: finish and upload a chunk; possibly toy with something else.
    Teaching: grade a set of papers, finish an assignment, do some post-break planning.
    House/Life stuff: clear necessary areas for more repairs that are happening this week; tax prep; final de-cluttering of house.

    In theory, photography will happen next week. Since I haven't been getting much done (except the back stairs!), I think we may need some of the break for the final round of de-cluttering. But I can dream.

  3. Finally, thoughts about session goals now that we're more than halfway through:
    Looking back at session goals, I had forgotten that I wanted to be caught up with the team by April. I’ve been thinking May, and at this point I can do May, but April is completely unrealistic. I’d still like to get to that other set of revisions, but that also may be unrealistic. I’m doing well on languages (totally slacking on Latin, because we’re reading medieval Latin, often things I’ve read before, and it’s easy enough that I don’t need to prep! Woooot!). I have not tackled anything to do with the application for full prof, and while I think I should get observed this spring, as I have one class with excellent chemistry that would make me look good, I do not want to deal with another writing project (that is, the application itself) right now. Too much else going on.

    Teaching is going more or less as planned, and I’m doing great on the self care. While I’ve still not dealt with taxes, I’m getting to the point where I’m really itchy about not having done them, so that will likely happen soon, and at worst, I’ll hand over documents to the accountant and we’ll file an extension. The house is a bigger energy sink. I sure hope we’ll get it listed soon. Keeping it show-able with us and three cats in it will be another headache, but I’d rather that than remain in this not-yet-there state that we’ve been in for a couple of years now. At the moment, I am leaving my dad to my brothers, who are physically nearer and don’t listen to me very well anyway (and I am grateful not to be an only child; it would be awful to have to manage all the stuff that they’re doing, plus my own life). I’m hoping not to have to do anything much about that until at least after the semester ends.

    Despite feeling that I'm making heavy weather of things, I'm fairly impressed with how much I have done in the first two months of this year.

    1. Session goals, especially at the beginning of the calendar year, are often optimistic and bold, which I think they should be. Diligence is seldom applied when it is not needed, especially with so many things tugging at you all the time. Good to look back and feel some satisfaction with those goals.

  4. Hi! This is an apt theme to reappear on... it really isn't going in any meaningful sense though.

    Basically this year is "went to conference, picked up conference crud, sick for just over 6 weeks, problems with teaching and colleagues, and now we're starting week 3 of industrial action which means a mix of strikes and working to contract and basically nothing is getting done".


    Goals for this week:
    1) spend 20 minutes a day on housework
    2) read a novel
    3) stop constantly checking my work email on strike days as I'm not answering it so there is no point checking...

    1. Your goals for this week sound just right. And for what it's worth, from looking at your blog, it seems like you've been doing a lot!

    2. I really can't fathom what it is like to be on strike, but I see quite a few people on Twitter really struggling with the conflicts it creates. I completely agree with GEW and would encourage maybe engaging in some ridiculously fulfilling self care as well!

    3. Good luck with the strike. Like humming42, I keep reading about struggles and wishing well for folks. And being glad I don't have to do it. (But wishing it were legal for me to do it at the same time.)

  5. I have finally made the very obvious discovery that 30 minutes of writing, ideally first thing (difficult when I have an early class and am not able to get up extra early for whatever reason) actually makes my paper-writing move forward at quite an acceptable clip.

    I know, everyone already knew this. In fact, I kind of feel like I had this revelation a year or two ago. But apparently I need to keep being reminded.

    So I do seem to be making good progress on my work-related goals. Life-related (meditation and crafting) are more mixed. But that's okay, for now. It's been a Winter of Illness at this house, and one can't do everything. Still: I *would* like to occasionally prioritize pleasurable activities! I should start doing that.

    Last week:
    1. Finish revising novel - DONE
    2. 30 minutes of writing x 5. Tasks, in order of priority: (1) finish conference paper, (2) revise Silence, (3) plan for Wonder - DONE. Got 1 and 2 mostly done!
    3. Misc: Read grad document and prepare for meeting; apply for teaching thing; CC proposals; follow up on admin tasks - DONE!!!
    4. Meditate some amount - ONCE. Last-minute (and very pleasant) visit from my dad one night, followed by self-pity attending my cold (see below), put this one on the block.
    5. Grade all the things - SOME: Did the easier/shorter stuff. Embarking on the big pile today (Monday).
    6. Yoga x 2 and running x 3 - NO, because I got a freaking cold on Wednesday, which is still hanging out with me and making exercise unappealing at best.

    This week:
    1. Exercise as much as I reasonably can given state of health; don't feel guilty if I can't make my prepaid yoga quotient for the month.
    2. Prep query materials for novel
    3. Write 30 mins x 5: 1) polish and send off conference paper; 2) plan Wonder
    4. Meditate some amount
    5. Grade the rest of the things; other misc. pre-break teaching prep (get together a prompt and two readings)
    6. Read something to do with Time & Space

    1. Finished revising novel?! How cool is that! Doing that writing in addition to some serious academic writing is mighty.

      I've done some work with time and space, although with my humanities orientation, there are many things I don't readily understand from more scientific perspectives.

    2. Well, it wasn't my first time revising it! It was sort of a clear-up tour.

      And mine is definitely a humanities approach to Time and Space...if the project even ends up going in that direction. I'm actually interested in pilgrimage, and concepts of time and space in pilgrim narratives, but I haven't figured out whether I can find any appropriate source material yet!

  6. So sorry to hear you are sick AGAIN. Not fair. I hope it goes away quickly.

    BTW, regarding that morning writing. Do you do it at home?

    1. Depends. And when I teach at 8:30, I only do it first thing if I get up at 5:30...which I haven't done in a few weeks.

      I *like* it when I get up early and write at home first thing, but, if I don't, I try to get it in as early as possible (if not absolutely first) when I get to the office.

    2. I bow to your early rising!

  7. Last week's goals:
    1) Make mammogram and ultrasound appointments. DONE.
    2) Make oil change appointment (thanks for the reminder DEH!). DONE.
    3) Pay taxes? NOT DONE. (And meant DO taxes, not PAY taxes--I hope.)
    4) Read 2 SF stories. DONE.
    5) Write 15 minutes, 5x. (Any kind of writing). SORT OF: 3x, but at least 75 minutes total.
    6) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x. YES, NO.
    7) Do minor tailoring for daughter's dress for the dance (by Thursday at the latest!). DONE

    It was a pretty good week. We're waiting on one doc for taxes, so instead of doing them, I cleaned out my car and a bit of the garage. As for the SF stories, I read three stories by Ken Liu and oh my goodness they were so good.

    Session Goals:
    1) Develop chapter four of PhD thesis into an article. I'm calling this project "Jenny." Have only barely touched this with one re-read with some cuts in mind.
    2) Read three SF/F novels and five SF/F short stories (to continue prep for Spring 2019 science fiction class). Doing very well with this. It's the easy, fun thing that is also necessary.
    3) Develop four new family-dinner recipes that are plant- and fiber-heavy. Frankly, I kind of forgot about this one, but I've been upping the fiber, using whole wheat pasta for spaghetti and lasagna, and using whole wheat flour for banana bread (which actually makes the best banana bread ever).
    4) Walk 45min, 3x per week. Occasional swimming and yoga. Not enough walking. No swimming or yoga yet.
    5) Clean out my stuff in the garage left over from summer re-organizing. I've started. I did some this weekend.
    6) Tidy work office. Yes. I've been doing some re-arranging, and now it's time to finish tidying (e.g., get the books and files off of the floor) and put the art on the walls.
    7) Finish outfitting home office/studio/witch hut.Mostly done. Just need to put up the art. Maybe get an area rug or side table.

    I think I'll keep the goals as they are. I'm still wavering on the article. This week, I started writing some fiction and was thinking of setting the article aside, but then I saw that a defunct journal is coming back into print, and it might be a great place for me to try to place the article, so I'm not going to give up on that yet.

    This week:
    1) Don't stress about being away from the kids while husband and I are at a weekend faculty retreat. They are big kids and will be fine.
    2) Write 90 minutes, one way or another.
    3) Walk 2x. Yoga 1x.
    4) Tidy campus office, 30 minutes.
    5) Read three SF stories.

    I feel like I should add something else, but I think I'll leave it at this because I have the retreat and a fair amount of grading. The mammogram and ultrasound appts are next week, as is the oil change so I don't have to list them for this week.

    1. To clarify: We're not leaving the kids at home alone! They will be with grandparents! I just worry about everybody (kids and the grandparents) being happy throughout the weekend.

    2. I expect kids and grandparents will appropriately spoil each other with you away. My son and his girlfriend are going to visit my parents next week (introducing the gf and her son) and I worry about everyone getting along and having a good visit. I hear you there.

      I hope Jenny develops and finds a happy home. I had one of those nice fits come up this morning, where a project that have been researching and building files on but not writing might have a good home too.

  8. Wow...yes...we end on April 1. I had no idea how close that is until you mentioned it, heu mihi. A good time indeed to look back on session goals and see what might need tending. I really have not accomplished any of my session goals but I am not unhappy since I’ve spent these weeks trying to figure out what projects I do and don’t want to pursue. Not that I really have any clear decisions made.

    Last week:
    1 LRP abstract on Thursday: done
    2 Presentation on Friday: done
    3 Daily recherche: some
    4 Set actual deadlines for March (so I don’t spend spring break just reading novels): not done

    This week:
    1 Prepare Thursday presentation
    2 Set deadlines / create research plan
    3 Grade as much as possible before spring break

  9. Well, gosh, I thought I'd posted my goal for the week last week. Here it was. Easy to remember, because just ONE thing fit the upper left quadrant:

    1. Organize British Library notes.

    And, just because I thought I'd posted it, I FINALLY did it today! I'm really happy about that, too.

    I seem especially discombolulated this semester. I think it's partly teaching one big night class on Monday nights. It's always a struggle getting prepped and grading stuff for it. (It's a senior seminar, so there's always grading of presentations and such to do.)

    And then there's the union stuff. I still haven't figured out the last treasurer's bookkeeping problems totally. (I don't think he embezzled or anything like that, just wasn't good at writing things down.)

    And I'm also having a good part of the interior of my house painted, starting today. So I've done the prep stuff of moving things out of those rooms that need to be moved (books, so that bookcases can be moved away from walls, stuff like that), and taking all the switch plates and such off...

    So, for this week:

    1. Figure out the union books for this month.
    2. Keep working on vibrato, shifting, double stops (violin). The current piece I'm working on only has double stops necessary, and it's always hard to keep working on the less urgent stuff a bit at a time while trying to work on the current piece.

    Right now, I'm very happy to have organized my library notes!

    Nothing else is upper left quadrant right now: it's all either urgent and important or not.

    1. Brava for getting the Big Thing done!

      I can't imagine having the house painted in the middle of the semester. I'm lucky to get organized enough to drop off the recycling (I live in a small town that can't afford curbside recycling). I hope the results will be outstanding.

    2. I really want it to be done by the beginning of summer so that I can enjoy the new colors and focus on my sabbatical project and enjoying the warmer weather.

      So far, I'm really happy with the colors!

  10. How am I doing? Well. . . I think OK, but I keep feeling like I get derailed from things by crises (real or imagined) at work. Some of my colleagues do not behave well. I know I'm not a saint, but . . .

    Goals from last week:
    1. Finish a good draft of keynote DONE (it still needs work, but it's a good draft, and it can't get too much longer.)
    2. Read dissertation draft chapter NO
    3. Walk twice? Yes, I htink
    4. Work on 7 hours of sleep Managed it once.

    Analysis: As I noted, people behaving badly, and trying not to get riled up about it. I also had a guest in town Monday. But the good thing about the keynote is that in the process of writing it, I wrote my way back to a project I put on the back burner 8 years ago. So I'm pleased.

    In other news, I have been reading more, and finally finished reading The Slow Professor. I've also been limiting my social media at bedtime - another long term goal. So that's good.

    I'm traveling this week (arrived in Paris this AM). Unfortunately, two trial runs of the keynote were cancelled because of the industrial action that JaneB mentioned. (I'd arranged my current trip around them, but of course I wouldn't cross the picket line.)

    Goals for this week:
    (These are limited, because I'm traveling, and won't have time for much.)
    1. Start working on images to go with keynote
    2. Do at least one read/edit of keynote, now that I know how it ends.
    3. Keep reading
    4. Try to catch up on sleep (from being VERY jet-lagged)

    My travels include a bunch of things related to my scholarship, so it's not a non-work week. But the "deliverables" (to use a horrible corporate speak word) are not very visible.

    As for Session Goals: I'm about to start work on my short project that I outlined earlier, and the last week of the session I think I'll take time to work on that.

    1. Wishing you an excellent trip and keynote too.

    2. Have a great trip, and brava for not crossing the picket line!