the grid

the grid

Saturday, 6 October 2018

September-December: Week Five

Last week at the writer's conference I went to, one writer said that she writes first thing every morning because then the rest of the day already feels like "a win." It wasn't the first time I'd heard this general idea, but I'm not sure I'd heard it exactly that way. Or, if I had, I found it more provoking that I have in the past. So now I'm thinking about what this might mean for me and whether or not I'm willing to make some changes.

What about all of you? What could you do first thing in the morning that would make the rest of the day feel like a win? Do you already do this? Is it feasible to create this time if you use some of the fencing or force fields we talked about last week?

I hope you all have a lot of "wins" this week and that you recover from the recent news cycles, regardless of what part of the world you're in.


Bardiac
This week is it for the revision!

Daisy
1) Work on one section of Northern Paper (better name than New paper…)
2) Check on former grad student and help if stuck
3) Make one new figure for Norther Paper
4) One completed data set for co-authored study, plus associated figures now TRQ unfortunately
5) Lingering service tasks for national organization for upcoming meeting now TRQ unfortunately

DEH
1. Health: go to bed by 10:30 every night, stretch daily, walk or cardio daily, weights 3x.
2. Research: make plan, write 2000 words; keep up with languages.
3. Teaching: grade two more things. Figure out what else I ought to be doing. Read a lot.
4. Life Stuff: lump bills and form together and do it all at once. Rip out more oregano. Plan another trip to see my dad.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Get through lithotripsy and recovery.
Pull together realistic plans for the last three weeks of the sabbatical.
Write for 2 hours for 4 days.

GEW
1) Tailor my daughter's dress for the dance.
2) Take son on an outing? If not this week, then next.
3) Write 15 minutes, 6 days. Figure out writing schedule (a.k.a. build fencing).
4) Keep a steading pace on grading, 6-10 essays per day, depending on day.
5) Get rid of one more thing/pile in the garage.
6) Hang pictures in office.
7) Read chapter of SF or c18 crit.
8) Start funding request docs.

heu mihi
1. Student stuff: read chapter; prep questions; rec letter
2. Write x 5, language x 5, sit x 5, exercise x 5
3. Schedule WtW event
4. Block purple sweater

humming42
1 edit submitted book review
2 set up reading group
3 research for online presentation
4 find recommended sources for R&R

JaneB
1) finish last of the deFurballing of the house and hoover ready for when Fluffball is ready to expand his range
2) do late refereeing
3) do straightforward research thing for FocusedWomand
4) clear off my desk at work.
5) type up the patterns for the first two squares of the blanket. Either work on the next design, or start on a re-knit of the one I just did.
6) no refined sugar, make sure I drink enough fluids, and take a minute's standing break every 45-60 minutes of desk time.
7) coffee shop with pen, notebook and fancy coffee!


oceangirl101
1. Meetings with Mom doctors to figure out when to transition to real hospice
2. Research- take notes on readings for book, organize Ch 6 and Ch 3 if have the head space for it
3. Send emails to get replacement teacher the help he needs
3. Read diss chapter of graduate student and make comments
4. Exercise 5 x 
5. Get Mom's tv moved into bedroom

Plant Girl
1. WORK ON CHAPTER EDITS 
2. Send in two more job applications and a fellowship application
3. Enjoy time with family this weekend
4. Get in some FL work, 4X ideally

Waffles
1. Two reviews I am tardy on - held over
2. Mentee’s methods and results - held over
3. Finish analyses and results for asthma paper - held over
4. Work on aim 1 discussion then send to co-author - held over
5. PTSD analyses write up


43 comments:

  1. I didn't finish the revision. But I did finish my other big task, turning in my promotion portfolio.

    This week:

    1. Practice a LOT for orchestra rehearsal and lesson. (We didn't have an orchestra rehearsal this past week, but the week before, I was BY FAR the weakest player. I'm so much a beginner, in many ways, but good practice should mean that I can learn these parts.

    And for my lesson, if I do well, I get to move onto the next piece.

    (I went to a violin store early this week and got a new set up to try to help keep my shoulder from hurting. It helps a lot, so that I can play for more than 15-20 minutes without pain.)

    2. Revisions.

    3. Regular exercise, stretching.

    This past week was rough. I hope everyone has a better week this week. I know I'll be doing some get out the vote type activities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hurrah on submitting your portfolio!I'm turning in mine on Friday this week. Wondering why I set other goals when I really have just one job, again. But this one is non-negotiable.

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    2. Hooray for the portfolio submission! And also hooray for improved comfort while practicing. It's really important to get those things sorted out.

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  2. Another difficult week. Gah! So fed up right now with work and with myself...

    On the topic, I used to be a morning person, but something changed about the time I started taking anti-depressants - it might be the meds, it might be part of a depressive mental illness, it might be stress messing up sleep patterns, who knows, but I take a LONG time to get going in the morning now, and I also find it very hard to wind down and go to sleep at a decent hour - I like my brain best between about 10pm and 4am, and that seems to be prime writing time. BUT in order to park easily on campus I need to get there before 9am on the 4-5 days a week I have to be there, and I need 8-9 hours of sleep and take at least 90 minutes for even the most stripped down of mornings just because things like kettles and socks are very difficult and challenging in the morning. It's very annoying! Finding good writing time for me is more about walls against everything else and Bugge Spray - and right now the not exactly effective new systems at work are making the walls hard to build as they keep undermining them...

    last week's goals:
    1) finish last of the deFurballing of the house and hoover ready for when Fluffball is ready to expand his range oops, no. Fluffball does not seem that interested in expanding his range yet...
    2) do late refereeing uh, no
    3) do straightforward research thing for FocusedWoman no
    4) clear off my desk at work. no
    5) type up the patterns for the first two squares of the blanket. Either work on the next design, or start on a re-knit of the one I just did. no
    6) no refined sugar, make sure I drink enough fluids, and take a minute's standing break every 45-60 minutes of desk time. could have been worse, not always, two days
    7) coffee shop with pen, notebook and fancy coffee! no. Stayed in bed with novels most of yesterday. it helped... a bit

    analysis:
    I spent most of the week dealing with paperwork problems and people and... stuff. I don't even know really despite my "done list". So much pointless stuff - or rather, stuff that was never an academic's job but now is. Ah, paperwork :-(

    this week's list:
    1) finish last of the deFurballing of the house and hoover ready for when Fluffball is ready to expand his range
    2) do late refereeing
    3) do straightforward research thing for FocusedWomand
    4) clear off my desk at work.
    5) type up the patterns for the first two squares of the blanket. Either work on the next design, or start on a re-knit of the one I just did.
    6) no refined sugar, make sure I drink enough fluids, and take a minute's standing break every 45-60 minutes of desk time.
    7) coffee shop with pen, notebook and fancy coffee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to keep a "done list," because I have no idea where most of my time has been going for the last couple of weeks. "All The Things" seem to be still there, undone, and I'm not sure if I've been frittering or putting out fires or reading useful things without taking notes. Probably all of the above. Cat knows I panic when there are Too Many Things and go do comfort reading or stress-baking instead of doing Things.

      I imagine it's been hard to accept the changes when you know you used to be a morning person. At the least, it would require a whole new set of strategies.

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    2. So glad you had time in bed with novels if you couldn't get the the coffee shop, but I'm still cheering for you to get to the coffee shop.

      Don't we wish we could make everyone else work around our own natural rhythms.

      DEH, last week, I found myself including "other accomplishments" when I checked in to account for some of the extra things I did in face of some of the other things I didn't. I think I'll do that when I have done some TLQ that I didn't put on the to-do list.

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    3. I like my done list, it is helpful - in making me understand where my time goes, even if it doesn't help me actually make better use of it (because really there are a lot of not-great choices - the usual conflict between not just TRQ and TLQ, but the different parts of the role, the obligation to students etc.)

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  3. My problem is that I want to do *everything* first thing in the morning, but I also want to sleep, and I also have a six-year-old, which means that, if I don't get up before he does, I more or less lose my chance.

    When I run, I like to do it very early (daylight permitting--we're entering the Dark Zone right now) because a) my body prefers it, b) the traffic is light, and c) I don't give myself time to think about it. But when I did NaNo last year, I really loved it when I got up early (in the dark dark, given the time of year) and got in 1500 words or so before I needed to get ready for the day. And there was a time when I meditated first thing, but that was Pre-Child, so quite a long while ago.

    I think that, with the coming darkness and the coming of November (and I do have a novel I want to write), I may go to first-thing writing soon. Not yet. Soon.

    Last week:
    1. Student stuff: read chapter; prep questions; rec letter - Done
    2. Write x 5, language x 5, sit x 5, exercise x 5 - Writing yes, language yes, sit only x2, exercise x4. I think I need to acknowledge that Wednesday runs are just not guaranteed. Sitting got lost in the chaos of going away for the weekend. How does a two-day trip wind up taking over the entire week??
    3. Schedule WtW event - Done
    4. Block purple sweater - Done

    This week:
    1. Submit Wonder
    2. Write x 5, language x 4, sit x 5, exercise x 4
    3. Evaluate grant proposal
    4. Finish reading diss for Impatience; figure out next steps

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly---that early time is the best for everything, so how do we choose?

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    2. There was a brief period during the PhD that I got up early enough to do an hour of reading before the kids go up. I don't think I ever wrote that early, and I'm not sure I have. I would love to do NaNo, but I tend to be a night owl, and, I also like to sleep. I'm just really not sure that I could ever make early mornings a habit (unless 7:00 counted as early and I didn't have to get kids ready for school).

      I hope your purple sweater is lovely and comfy! (What kind of yarn did you use?)

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  4. So another week when I’m not sure what I did because I certainly didn’t achieve my goals!
    1. Two reviews I am tardy on - COMPLETED ONE
    2. Mentee’s methods and results - NOPE
    3. Finish analyses and results for asthma paper - WORKED ON, NOT COMPLETED largely bc I don’t know how to write the STATA code for the last pieces I need to do, and my consultant isn’t being super helpful.
    4. Work on aim 1 discussion then send to co-author - DONE
    5. PTSD analyses write up - NOPE

    I feel like I was haphazard last week. I worked on things, but I didn’t keep to my list. I think losing my saturdays to doing qualitative interviews has made things a bit chaotic and also makes me feel like I don’t get a weekend (even if I usually work on weekends, working from home in my pjs is very different than going into work and interviewing people). The study also takes up a not insignificant amount of time. I’m learning a ton though and I hope the experience really improves my chances of getting my NIH K. Speaking of, I did spend a good chunk of time on that last week as our research support staff person wanted me to send her all my non-science parts by the end of the week (unanticipated - our agreed upon deadline was not supposed to be till next week, but she will be in the city this week* and we will meet in person, so she wanted stuff before then).

    One super amazing thing happened last week. We have a review paper we completed that we submitted to a journal and it was desk rejected. One of my co-authors emailed an editor of a journal to see if they’d be interested, and they not only said yes - they said it would be the “flagship” review for a special issue of the journal and we would get an honorarium! I’ve never heard of anything like that in my life! This paper has been super painful to get done, so this makes it particularly amazing!

    In regards to the topic - I am a morning writer. I like to get up and start writing before my critical voice wakes up fully. I also like the sense of accomplishment I feel from a productive early morning. My mornings look like this: get up obscenely early bc I like an early start, but I also like to watch the news before my day. On the days I work from home, I make my list for the day, meditate using the headspace app, then make my second tea and get to work. On the days I go to work, I get ready, hop on the train and arrive before 7am. I make my list when I arrive, get some water and go into a conference room, meditate, and then get to work.

    This week I go to Las Vegas to give my first ever invited talk at a conference, so goals are brief:
    1. Really do need to get that final review done
    2. Also really need to give student feedback on their paper
    3. Finish PTSD analyses write up 0
    4. Do a little shaping of intro for review paper for the journal’s audience
    5. Make K revisions.

    *Not sure if this is common across campus or NYC campuses, but a lot of people don’t actually physically live in NYC and thus don’t work at our school most of the time. We have some people who commute in a couple days a week and stay overnight someplace, we have people who come one week a month, one person comes one week every 3-6 months - and then this staff person who I think comes for a few days once a quarter. Given how tight space is in NYC, I imagine this is helpful.

    waffles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow--what amazing news! And good luck in Vegas!

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    2. Yes, congratulations! If this is what haphazard work results in, I'm all for it!

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    3. Fabulous news on that review paper! And I echo the good luck wishes for your talk.

      I wish I was an early, early riser. I think Ben Franklin (or whoever) was probably right with all of his aphorisms about early mornings. I like being up, alone in the dark house, but I usually do that at night, and so instead of being productive, since it's late, I read for pleasure or watch HGTV. (Unless I'm grading essays.)

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  5. I think I would feel great if I'd done some writing and some yoga before I start the rest of the day (maybe a half hour of each), but like heu mihi, I also like to sleep, and if I'm going to do these things, I'd need to get up quite early, and that's difficult for me. I think my best work hours--when my brain is best is probably 8:00-11:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm, but I'm often tending to other people's needs at those time. I don't know if I should try early mornings, or just get serious about carving out other times that are more realistic for me.

    Last week:
    1) Tailor my daughter's dress for the dance. DONE. Now, I just need to stitch some fake/silk autumns onto the skirt of the dress. Friday's dance theme is "fall harvest," which a lot of the kids hate, but my daughter's dress will be cool.
    2) Take son on an outing? If not this week, then next. DONE.
    3) Write 15 minutes, 6 days. Figure out writing schedule (a.k.a. build fencing). NOT DONE. I hadn't worked on the novel since June, so I really need to get oriented and do some planning before doing the daily writing, I think.
    4) Keep a steady pace on grading, 6-10 essays per day, depending on day. MEH. Not quite that much, but I haven't totally neglected the stacks either.
    5) Get rid of one more thing/pile in the garage. Does moving something from the pile to another room count?
    6) Hang pictures in office. SOME.
    7) Read chapter of SF or c18 crit. NOT DONE.
    8) Start funding request docs. DONE.

    Other accomplishments: I got a few things framed and took my kids and another kid on a little outing (in addition to son's outing).

    This week's goals:
    1) Finish stitching leaves onto dress.
    2) Finish and submit funding request.
    3) Write belated thank you notes to people that hosted us this summer.
    4) Read one chapter of SF criticism.
    5) Hem my son's curtains. I've been putting this off for over a year.
    6) Finish all but one stack of essay by Thursday (eep!).
    7) Do more planning for the novel and write at least 300 new words.
    8) Hang more pictures in office.
    9) Get rid of something from garage pile.
    10) Dare I plan to clean out the linen closet? Probably not.

    That's a long list, but a lot of the tasks are fairly quick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why did I forget to proofread? I'm only going to correct this one: I'm stitching autumn leaves (not autumns) onto the skirt of my daughter's dress.

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    2. Oh, that best-hours problem! Do you remember this post from six years ago? https://dameeleanorhull.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/writing-group-week-3-taking-care-of-yourself/

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    3. Just went back to that post. Sure was a good one. And what a trip down memory lane to look at the roll call! It was fun to see "Ink" there. She's not on these here blogs anymore, but I'm friends with her on FB. Remember how she wanted to write a mystery novel? Well, now she has published THREE! <3

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    4. Oh, that is awesome! I often wonder how various past participants have fared. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. At the moment I do not have the headspace for writing. But when I do, first thing in the morning is definitely my time to get working on it. If I can get 1000 words written by 9 or 9:30 it really makes the rest of the day go smoothly. Right now while I am caretaking for my Mom I start my reading of research books and note taking early so I can get an hour in before she wakes up. It provides me with a good start to the day so once I start taking care of her I feel like I have already accomplished something for myself.

    Last week was super hard but I got most of my list completed. My Mom decided to go on full hospice after all our talks with specialists last week, so those meetings will start this week. And my sister is coming for the weekend which could be really rough. I am keeping up with exercise, a bit of work, and cooking- the latter I find very relaxing. I find I have the head space to get research notes taken and some thoughts on the book written, but no real writing. For the time being it will have to be enough.

    Last week

    1. Meetings with Mom doctors to figure out when to transition to real hospice YES
    2. Research- take notes on readings for book, organize Ch 6 and Ch 3 if have the head space for it NOTES ONLY
    3. Send emails to get replacement teacher the help he needs DONE
    3. Read diss chapter of graduate student and make comments DONE
    4. Exercise 5 x ONLY x4
    5. Get Mom's tv moved into bedroom NO


    This week:

    1. Meetings to get Mom's hospice team started
    2. Strategize with Mom/therapist about sister's visit
    3. Email with prospective student
    4. Read graduate student diss chapter and make comments
    5. Read and take notes on 2 more books for CH 3 and 6
    6. Get Mom's tv moved into her bedroom
    7. Exercise x 4 or 5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're on family leave, not research leave, so I say that you do what you need to do. I'm sorry that you're going through this--take care.

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    2. It sounds like right now work is a refuge where you can be your scholar-self before dealing with the things your daughter-self has on her plate. It's good that cooking is relaxing for you, because it's also a useful thing to do; everyone has to eat. Just dealing with those care-taking tasks like cooking and laundry can be nearly a full-time job. Best wishes to you and your family.

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    3. It sounds like, all things considered, you are create a good balance. Best wishes this week.

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  7. It was alarming to do the math, but more than 20 years ago I picked up Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and started writing morning pages. There were many years that I didn’t have that as part of my daily routine, but I have been making time again for freewriting first thing (whenever possible) for the past 6 or 7 years. I choose that practice over other things, and since it’s been pretty well sustained, I am OK with that. But I am tracking my time these days trying to figure out what I can do differently to make sure I make time for research and writing consistently.

    This week I once again have one job, which is to submit my portfolio for promotion. Tedious, but I feel good about it. I hope be out of TRQ emergency mode by the end of the month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done morning pages on and off, and I have often found Cameron inspiring, but as a longterm thing, the pages tend to take up time I could better use on other things. End-of-day pages are a good way for me to wind down to sleep, however, so I sometimes do that. I think it must be twenty years for me, too. Wow. Good luck with the portfolio!

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    2. So many promotion portfolios for our group right now! I'm glad you feel good about it. I'm cheering for you (and for Bardiac and DEH)!

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  8. The time in my life when morning wins worked the best for me was when I could go for a run at 5:30 or 6. It makes a huge difference for me. This is completely impossible for me as a mostly single parent now, and I find that doing a morning run on a treadmill is just too depressing so I do evening or late night ones instead now.
    Next week I'd like to try the writing at 5:30 thing again, that has been possible in the past, but I havemn't done it in ages because I actually kind of like my working evenings too. But those are more likely to get derailed so maybe I will try the morning thing again.
    This is a short week for me, with a work trip for 6 days over the weekend and halfway through next week, so I will be checking in again two weeks from now.

    Next 2 weeks' goals:
    1) Get the major figures for Northern Paper finished
    2) Do point form discussion sections for each figure
    3) Complete figures for co-authored study
    4) Write my section for cool joint paper

    Not a bad week, just lots of spinning wheels and teaching encroachment into the stone fort, normal for this week of the year as midterms are upon us!

    Last week's goals:
    1) Work on one section of Northern Paper (better name than New paper…) WORKED ON IT, INCREMENTAL PROGRESS
    2) Check on former grad student and help if stuck DONE
    3) Make one new figure for Norther Paper SKETCHED OUT AND BEING IMPROVED
    4) One completed data set for co-authored study, plus associated figures now TRQ unfortunately DONE EXCEPT FOR FIGURES
    5) Lingering service tasks for national organization for upcoming meeting now TRQ unfortunately DONE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, look at all those Done or In Progress things! Way to go!

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    2. I'll be interested in how your attempt at mornings goes. In the meantime, I hope you have a good trip!

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  9. I usually try to be fairly productive in the morning when I teach in the afternoons, but I find it hard to do much besides eat breakfast, wake up, and check e-mail if I teach in the mornings. (It is probably obvious that I do not have children or pets). Ideally, if I always taught in the afternoon, I like writing or editing or revising in the morning and I think I'm pretty sharp then, usually.

    As for my goals from last week,

    1. WORK ON CHAPTER EDITS - this again, tragically, did not happen. I'm trying to take care of myself and give myself some breaks at all and that meant something had to go.
    2. Send in two more job applications and a fellowship application - I lost track of this but I definitely sent some stuff in so that counts I suppose!
    3. Enjoy time with family this weekend - this was very nice and enjoyable, but got me a little behind on work because we had a house guest.
    4. Get in some FL work, 4X ideally - 3x, so that's close enough I guess.

    This Week's Goals

    1. Finalize my conference paper, get to conference, enjoy/do well at conference. Try not to be shy/awkward at conference.
    2. Try to squeeze in FL work in spite of conference travel
    3. Keep on top of applications
    4. Try to at least think about chapter edits? I got some encouraging initial feedback from the peer review on my proposal so I really should be motivated/excited about it.

    I'm also trying to work on my energy levels/health. I definitely sleep enough because I have a mental health condition that requires a pretty strictly regulated sleep schedule for me to function well at all, but I'm wondering if I don't eat enough/eat the right things. I teach from 12-3 and I'm in my office from 11-12 so I eat lunch really weirdly early and then I wait until around 6 to eat dinner, so perhaps that's part of it?

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    Replies
    1. I find food is very important in regulating energy levels, and I have to be proactive about it. Getting too hungry is very bad for me, first emotionally, then mentally, and finally physically because I will make bad choices about things to eat because I am so hungry and the thinking brain has cut out. I'd recommend a snack with protein when you're done teaching. I hope the conference goes well!

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed family time, and congrats on sending of the job stuff.
      I have found cheese to be a very helpful snack to keep in my lunch bag. Just a few bites can be very helpful, and it doesn't get stuck in my teeth if I have to teach in five minutes. There are likely other non-cheese foods like that. Maybe bananas?

      I hope you are enjoying the conference!!

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  10. I was going to say that I don't know what happened to my early-morning mojo; at various times in my past I have written first, or exercised first, or stretched first, and it was great, whatever it was. But over the past several months I mostly spend mornings (when I don't have to rush out the door before 7 a.m.) drinking tea, doing the crossword, reading blogs, and staring blankly till the caffeine hits me. And now that I review the post I wrote six years ago (URL as a comment to GEW's post, above), I realize what my problem is: I am fucking tired. In the past year, I've finished some projects and the big translation; some writing stuff has come back to me for revision, like the translation's introduction; I've assembled and turned in my promotion application; and I've got my house on the market, where it remains. So I'm still spending about 2.5 hours a day, three days a week, in the car; plus I need to do a lot of cooking due to my dietary needs (it is just not possible to buy pre-prepped food that is safe for me). There's the literal tired, and then there's the emotional tired that comes from uncertainty about how long before the house sells, where we'll move when it does, all that jazz. Writing all that out, I think I need to be even more pro-active about self-care, and fit in work around the edges!

    HOW I DID:
    1. Health: go to bed by 10:30 every night, stretch daily, walk or cardio daily, weights 3x. NO (four times?); 6/7; 6/7; 2/3.
    2. Research: make plan, write 2000 words; keep up with languages. PLAN made yesterday; wrote 500 words; kept up.
    3. Teaching: grade two more things. Figure out what else I ought to be doing. Read a lot. Graded ONE thing; figured out some stuff; did some reading.
    4. Life Stuff: lump bills and form together and do it all at once. Rip out more oregano. Plan another trip to see my dad. NO, YES, NO. I did a LOT of gardening, and paid the water bill, which comes due much earlier in the month than the others. I also went and selected new glasses frames (had my eyes checked the week before classes started, and I needed new lenses, but it's taken me this long to try on frames and take selfies to decide what I liked).

    It's starting to look like posting goals is a way to get things on my radar, though it may take a few weeks to get round to acting on them.

    NEW GOALS:
    1. Health: go to bed by 10:30 every night, stretch daily, walk or cardio daily, weights 3x. Massage, or make appt with doc and request referral to physical therapy for neck. Fun reading and self-nurturing acts daily.
    2. Research: put in 4 hours and/or write 2000 words; keep up with languages.
    3. Teaching: grade two more things (undergrad short paper, grad bibliographies). Design and post assignment for undergrads.
    4. Life Stuff: lump bills and form together and do it all at once. Plant something cold-hardy in the newly opened space in the garden. Plan another trip to see my dad (unless I delay till December, this is becoming TRQ).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's no wonder you are tired. I used to joke that grad school was a secret NASA experiment to train humans to do without sleep, but academia extends that to all, I think.

      Your commute is brutal, and it is unfortunate that there's no train (I assume you would be on it if there were), where at least you didn't have to drive. Is there any way you could stay in LRU town for at least one of the nights, or are your three days unhelpfully scattered?

      Given your circumstances, I'd say your progress towards goals is far better than you think. I hope this week works better for you!

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    2. I'm MWF, and don't sleep well in strange places, so staying over is something I only do in emergencies. I just checked the train schedule, and if I combine driving and train-ing, I could convert two trips to drive+train, and have the train time to work, read, or doze. Definitely worth a try!

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    3. Definitely worth a try. I have a 5 hour round-trip train ride to NYC several times a month, and I get a lot of work done. Even if all you can do is pleasure reading, diminishing your stress would be worth it, if the times worked out.

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    4. Sounds like it's a good time to focus on self-care garden plot and let the whatever-productive-things-you'd-normally-try-to-do-in-the-morning plot rest/go fallow.

      FWIW, I love trains, especially when it's a fairly reliable route.

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  11. Topic: I am definitely a morning person, and become even more so as I get older. Therefore, I do work best in the morning. I can relate to the feeling of “winning” if I write first thing, because I feel if my energy wanes later on in the day, it’s all right. Much like Waffles describes, I’m up obscenely early. I make a cup of tea, meditate, review my outline, and start writing. I find the meditation helps me ward off errant thoughts and distractions. When I write for long stretches, I do tend to walk the dog at some point, if I’m at home, or walk the campus loop if at work.

    Back when my kids were younger, I had heu mihi’s problem of doing all the things first, but I can handle the dog’s and husband’s morning needs while the water boils for tea, so I’m lucky that way.

    Last week’s goals:
    Get through lithotripsy and recovery. Still recovering, but on my way.
    Pull together realistic plans for the last three weeks of the sabbatical. About half-done.
    Write for 2 hours for 4 days. Only 2 days, due to feeling pretty rough.

    Analysis: I reported on the lithotripsy at the end of last week’s comments, so I won’t repeat myself. I will say that it has felled me as much as any surgery, despite it being “non-invasive.” I thought the admonition that it could take two weeks to recover was crazy, but I may well take the full two weeks.

    On the absolutely fantastic news front, the President of the University has granted an extension of my sabbatical for an extra month. I am grateful beyond words.

    Next week’s goals:
    Plan best way to deal with next lithotripsy and recovery.
    Revise outline and plans for the rest of October and November.
    Write for 3 hours for 5 days.
    If writing proves impossible, file, shred, organize for 3 hours that day.

    It is 80 degrees here in the upper Hudson Valley; the sun is shining through the orange, red, and yellow leaves. I’m going to take my afternoon tea and sit on the front patio. I hope everyone has a great rest of the week. Excelsior!

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    Replies
    1. Yay! Excellent news on the extended sabbatical.

      On getting up early, how do you get yourself to bed early enough to get enough sleep? Maybe that's less a problem for people who don't live with a vampire, as I do (well, a creature of the night, anyway).

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    2. Oh, I do live with a vampire as well. I go to bed long before he does, and am lucky that he doesn't tend to wake me up when he comes to bed. If he does, I get up and putter about for a half hour or so.

      I also have nighttime rituals, which help me get to sleep early--all the stuff you've heard about getting away from the phone an hour before, and reading physical books instead. I write "evening pages" as you mentioned above, which gets things out of my head. I do all the face maintenance of cleaning and face cream, and adorn my pulse points with lavender oil, massaging that in as well. The face massage and oil seem to help.

      If my insomnia is acting up, I add showering at night. It wakes me up for about an hour, but then helps me sleep.

      I hope something in this list helps!

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    3. I like the idea of face massage; I sometimes do foot massage and that does help when I think to do it. I definitely need to make more of nighttime rituals. Thanks!

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    4. I'm so happy for you! As soon as I get out from under this blanket and my laptop and get off the couch, I'm going to do a legit happy dance for you! That is truly wonderful news. I'm so glad you will have the extra month.

      In my house, I'm the vampire. Maybe I just need to create a late-night writing ritual.

      I hope you start to feel better and better. I'm sorry you have to go in for another procedure soon, but perhaps this time won't be as aggressive? With just one last stone? I'm not sure if that's really how it would work, just trying to be optimistic!

      (I've had two kidney stones, but was able to pass each of them.)

      I hope your front patio time was lovely.

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