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Sunday, 11 November 2018

September-December: Week 10

We had snow this week. It didn't stick around, but nighttime sub-freezing temps have. I never got around to putting the garden to bed (cutting back, mulching, all that). If we get a warmish day, I may finally do that work. Or I may just let it go. The first year we were in this house, we moved in November, after a couple of months of owning two houses while work was done on this one, and I'm not sure I did any garden work in either place, because Houses and Cats (not to mention Job). The winter was legendarily terrible, and yet the roses and most of the other plants came back just fine, as they were well-established and adapted to this climate zone.

Lists can be a good way to keep things in mind, as in, "I'll need to do that eventually and I don't want to forget." I think some productivity/planning people would say to schedule that "eventually" and then forget about the item till its time comes, but I see the value in keeping a list item around. Maybe it's a thing you can tuck into some bit of lost or found time, as when someone is late to a meeting or a committee doesn't meet this week. Maybe you're a person who doesn't deal well with scheduling but likes to look at a list and pick the thing that seems most possible/least unappealing.

When items keep coming back week after week, though, it's worth checking on priorities. Is this item something you'll get to before a deadline, or is it something that you really just want to let go? Would it be better to bite the bullet and Do The Thing? Or does it recur because it's a repeating task, like grading, so however many times you do it, it never Stays Done?

As so often, it's my own behavior around this issue that I'm really questioning. Constant attention to posture is making some difference to my sore neck. Am I going to call my doctor's office for an appointment, or am I going to continue to try to deal with it on my own? Also, I keep anonymizing assignments that I need to make up or grade, and then I lose track: did I do that one and am on to another, or is the old one still with me? I should give them pseudonyms, and make myself a key in my paper notebook; then it would be clearer when I have actually done something.

If you feel like talking about your repeating items, or about preparing for November/December weather, feel free. Here's the list of everyone's goals from last week, or in some cases, before: how did you do?

Bardiac (held over)
1. Work on paper.
2. Get garden prepped for winter.
3. Keep practicing violin.
4. Get regular exercise.

Daisy (held over)
1) Finish all the half-done things from last week!
which includes:
1) Get the major figures for Northern Paper finished
2) Do point form discussion sections for each figure
3) Write my section for cool joint paper

DEH
1. Health: eat safely, sleep 8 hours, stretch, cardio/walk, fun thing daily; weights 3x. Make appt with doc and request referral to physical therapy for neck.
2. Research: put in 4 hours and/or write 2000 words; keep up with languages.
3. Teaching: grade the next iterations of undergrad short paper, grad proposals. Design and post at least one new assignment for undergrads.
4. Life Stuff: make deposit. Plan another trip to see my dad. Plan trip with Sir John in January. Unpack boxes.
5. Work admin: spring book orders, watch some required videos.

EAM (held over)
Plan NaNo project.
Write for 3 hours as many days as possible.
Straighten and organize on days I can't write.
                                   
GEW:
1) Do all the grading and prep and service I can do so that I can do as few of those things as possible this coming Friday-Monday. Monday-Thursday will be painful and intense but worth it, I think.
2) Test the NaNo waters (i.e., see if I can write 1667 words today and tomorrow, and, either way, try to write 5,000 words of fiction this week).
3) Seven-minute workout 3x, 20-minute yoga 2x, daily beach walking next Friday-Sunday.
4) Take son on a nice outing (cheating because I already did this today).
5) Spend Friday-Sunday (and some of Monday) relaxing at the beach house.

heu mihi
1. Write x5, sit x5, language x5. Exercise x2.
2. NaNo: 12k words.
3. Do something ahead: Prep next week's lecture, and/or the guest-teaching class, and/or do a grant review.
4. Read essay for writing group.

Humming42
1 Submit current book review
2 Four hours on Tiny Project, including Actually Writing (session goal of 2500 new words)
3 Send out curriculum proposal

JaneB
1) keep NaNo-ing - I'm aiming for 500-1000 words a day on office days, 2000-3000 a day when out of the office.
2) do an hour on straightforward research thing for FocusedWoman.
3) do half an hour on knitting project.
4) eat limited refined sugar, make sure I drink enough fluids, and take a minute's standing/moving break every 45-60 minutes of desk time (aim to work through my six minutes of basic stretches list over the course of the day). If I have good days, do a five minute cardio work-out thing as soon as I get in the door after work, Fluffball's tea-needs allowing.

oceangirl101
1. Try to write 3000 words on puff piece Encyclopedia entry as way to get back into writing
2. Write grant annual report
3. Read and comment on grad student dissertation chapter
4. Liase with Mom's hospice team
5. Liase with Mom's lawyer re: estate planning
6. Get travel plans set for nephew that Mom wants to see
7. Figure out if I want to rent house in spring or find new house sitter etc.

PlantGirl
1. Keep up on applications
2. Manage last few days of teaching prep
3. 3x FL work (got one in already)
4. Read something for fun!
5. Plan next weekend's trip

Waffles
1. Dyad and election portion of manuscript.
2. Intersectionality paper: flesh out discussion and send to co-authors
3. Asthma paper: If get feedback on results from co-author, revise and then create plan for completion of paper (am trying to get the senior authors to actually write parts of the paper)
4. Diss manuscript: This really needs to be under review soon - big tasks are to reduce word count by 1000 words and email co-authors to get them to review it quickly or be removed from the paper.

27 comments:

  1. I feel like I am always so, so behind. However, I can see that a good chunk of time is going on language study, and I'm not willing to give that up. It's never an immediate goal, but it is a Life Goal. Further, in the case of classical languages, our classicist may retire after next year, so I feel like it's now or never on anything I can do with her. So I'm proud of myself for continuing to wrestle with Greek even though it might seem my time would be better spent writing.

    How I did:
    1. Health: eat safely, sleep 8 hours, stretch, cardio/walk, fun thing daily; weights 3x. Make appt with doc and request referral to physical therapy for neck. YES to everything except the doctor's appointment. I'm mostly putting in 8 hours in bed, not always sleeping well, but the time is there.
    2. Research: put in 4 hours and/or write 2000 words; keep up with languages. YES as in put in the time; wrote about 700 words. Some of them are even good words.
    3. Teaching: grade the next iterations of undergrad short paper, grad proposals. Design and post at least one new assignment for undergrads. NO, NO, YES but I think it isn't the one I meant!
    4. Life Stuff: make deposit. Plan another trip to see my dad. Plan trip with Sir John in January. Unpack boxes. NO, NO, NO, partially.
    5. Work admin: spring book orders, watch some required videos. NO, YES (omg that was a stupid waste of time, as I knew it would be).

    New goals, much the same:
    1. Health: eat safely, sleep 8 hours, stretch, cardio/walk, fun thing daily; weights 3x. Social thing Monday.
    2. Research: put in 4 hours and/or write 2000 words; keep up with languages.
    3. Teaching: grade undergrad short paper, grad proposals. Design and post at least one new assignment for undergrads (the last!). Prep grad class.
    4. Life Stuff: make deposit. Plan another trip to see my dad. Plan trip with Sir John in January. Unpack boxes.
    5. Work admin: spring book orders.

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    Replies
    1. Its sounds like it was a good week health wise, which is great. I hope that continues to go well, especially with food.

      And nice job getting those 700 words done!

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  2. Last week’s goals:

    1. Dyad and election portion of manuscript (to be frank, I resent this project - it is a review paper and one that I’m not sure we should be prioritizing). - ALMOST DONE!
    2. Intersectionality paper: flesh out discussion and send to co-authors - DONE
    3. Asthma paper: If get feedback on results from co-author, revise and then create plan for completion of paper (am trying to get the senior authors to actually write parts of the paper) - DONE
    4. Diss manuscript: This really needs to be under review soon - big tasks are to reduce word count by 1000 words and email co-authors to get them to review it quickly or be removed from the paper. This paper is so fraught for me - I just want it under review. I actually don’t care if it actually gets published. - NOT STARTED!


    Last week I did the last of the reviews I had agreed to do - and I plan to say no to all others until my K is submitted. I love doing them, but I have been that horrible reviewer who drags out the review process for the last 2-3 papers I reviewed. I also wasn’t the nicest and most supportive in my last review - so it might be a good time to take a step back (it was just such a disappointing paper!). I’ve noticed that I have a lot of papers that basically just need the discussion section written, and then it is done. I really need to push through and get those out. I sent one of those papers to one of my mentors and indicated the discussion was unfinished, but that I was stuck. They basically sent the paper back and said, “the discussion’s not done yet. Finish it and then I will give you feedback.” ARGH! I also suggested to the other postdocs where I am that we have a training on project management. I am hoping that can help me actually finish projects.

    One tool I neglected to mention that I have been really into lately is OneNote. I use it for my qualitative study because you can create different groups of projects, with multiple pages within it. So each participant has a group, and then there are pages for each of the measures, the interview, and my field notes/debriefing. I just created a new OneNote notebook for all of my meetings - so all of the notes from my meetings with my mentors are in there, along with all of my other meeting notes. I think this will help me keep organized better. My next goal is to create one with my weekly goals in it. That may help with some continuity there as well.

    This week’s goals:

    1. Finish dyad and election parts of paper
    2. Revise findings from youth substance abuse paper and send out to co-authors (need to get this under review soon - I fear we might get scooped)
    3. Send out plan for asthma paper to co-authors
    4. Close out/renew IRB?
    5. Make revisions to K application
    6. Do a crafty thing
    7. Make a plan for all of the letters I need for my K and communicate out.

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    1. Excellent progress! But a big Boo to the person who didn't help with the discussion you're stuck on. I found your report on OneNote interesting. I've noodled around with it but didn't really see the utility of it, and I wonder if it is more useful for someone who has more projects and more people involved than it is for a humanities scholar who works alone and tries to do one research project at a time (not that I succeed; but that is a preference and a goal).

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    2. It's possible - but I put all the pieces that I need to get done for my NIH K in there - and OneNote has cute little checkboxes that actually check when you click them. I put all my meeting notes in a separate notebook with a separate folder for each person or group. Super handy.

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    3. Super frustrating with that response to the discussion section. Did they just not read your message? Sometimes I miss things in emails, but that seems like it would be difficult to miss.

      Sounds like some major desk clearing happened this week. Gold stars for you!


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  3. Current priorities are mostly get to the end of the day/week without being too much worse behind than I started. And not crying at work (I'm doing better, but I'm still quite down and uninterested in things, and work is... interesting and not in a good way). Oh, and not tripping over the cat who does a lot of walking in front of me just sliiightly too slowly, then stopping abruptly to turn around and see if I'm following. He's come very close to being cat pancake. he needs to learn I'm a lot heavier than him, or just to STOP BEING A PAIN, preferably without there being vets bills involved... (he's also mega cute and snuggly and has adorable feet).

    last week's goals:
    1) keep NaNoing - yup! 25k as of last night. Quite a lot of blocking rather than full draft writing (when I write stuff like "so we'll start this scene in the kitchen and there'll be one of those racks with copper pans on it and an apple cake on the table. Pretty sure A likes apples and B doesn't. A comes in, fiddles with the kettle, shouts at B to hurry up. They start talking about which pub to go to, A says..." - you can see that turning this into prose will be quite easy, but it ISN'T prose, it's more like a description of a set of pictures, with side notes. It's the fiction equivalent of a zero draft, I guess, or a very detailed outline, but I call it blocking for some reason.
    2) hour on straightforward research thing Yes, and an hour was enough to get it as done as it can be until someone else gets back to me. one reason for keeping things on lists is that sometimes they turn into wins (I think that having them on the back burner in my brain means sometimes they happen very quickly once they get brought forward from a simmer to a full boil)
    3) knit for half an hour no
    4) health stuff. OK on sugar, bit low on water, movement mixed, 5 minutes no

    Analysis: A bit of a week. At risk of tmi, after several very light menses and few months without I kind of hoped I might be at the end of the peri bit of menopause (1 year after last normal period) but the clock got reset this week. And how teenagers and perimenopausal women successfully cohabit in houses across the land I do NOT know, unless they just understand each others kind of unreason. The whole hormonal thing is NOT well designed, and whilst we're at it please can humans have greasing points, my shoulder and neck hate me this week (hence no knitting). I also had a new decluttering person visit this weekend - she's nice but not nearly as super-woman-helpful as the previous one. But definitely better than no help. Also the wussy cat decided to get all friendly with her...

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    1. the coming week: is going to be pretty busy between a heavy teaching load and a lot of coursework to review for my external examining role. So pretty minimal TLQ goals, mostly focused on self care: Last week I DID get edits on ProblemChild1 done and send it on to the next person in the endless chain of revising, too! So...

      1) keep NaNo-ing, and MAYBE if time allows go and meet some other NaNo-ers in a coffee shop
      2) self care - water, sugar minimising, NO WHITE BREAD (PMS said yes white bread, tasted SO good but my body does not like at all, at all) or pastries, movement. (currently waiting for a big pan of roast root veg and sausages to cool for healthy and delicious quick evening meals. mmmm.... I'm trying.).
      3) an hour of TLQ writing or writing related work

      I can find an hour. I CAN find an hour...

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    2. When I reset, that really was the last one, so here's hoping that will be the case for you as well. I approve a week focused on self-care!

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    3. It's not TMI for me at all. As a 50-year-old in the peri phase, I find it all very interesting. And in my house, I'm 50 and my daughter is 13, so, we'll see how that goes.

      Woo hoo for the NaNo words! I just love it and am so impressed. Also, I want to read about the pubs and apple pies. I hope I get to read these TLQ novels some day.

      Best wishes for the self care.

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  4. Son was home sick pretty much all of last week, so I'm really feeling like a lot has gone off the rails.

    Last week:
    1. Write x5 -x4 (using "write" VERY loosely here), sit x5 -x2, language x5. Exercise x2 -x1.
    2. NaNo: 12k words -Yes?
    3. Do something ahead: Prep next week's lecture, and/or the guest-teaching class, and/or do a grant review. - Next week’s lecture
    4. Read essay for writing group - DONE

    This week: Get my shit together.
    1. Write x5, sit x5, language x5, exercise x5. (Or maybe 3/4 of these per day, since NaNo takes up a lot of time.)
    2. Keep up with Nano.
    3. Review grant proposal.
    4. Prep a post-Thanksgiving lecture ahead of time.
    5. Grade a batch of papers before Thanksgiving departure (next Tuesday).

    I think that'll keep me pretty busy.

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    1. This makes me so glad we're not traveling for Thanksgiving this year. It can be fun to go away, and I hope you have a good trip, but I'm looking forward to catching up on things next week. You got a lot done given that your kid was sick and at home!

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    2. I'm blown away that you got so much writing (and other TLQ stuff) done even though your son was sick. Nice work.

      I hope pre-trip and post-trip prep go well (along with the actual trip).

      "Get my shit together" is a nice theme.

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  5. I did fairly well with my goals from last week, but I'm thinking that's because I kept them fairly modest.

    1. Keep up on applications: This has gone pretty smoothly. Got a small bit of positive news on this front, too, so that's good.
    2. Manage last few days of teaching prep: Today is my second-to-last day of class for the semester. I've loved the lit class I'm teaching this block but it will be *so* nice to be able to spend time on my book manuscript.
    3. 3x FL work (got one in already): I think I got to two, but did some last night so at least this week is off to a good start. I don't need to make too much doing this, but it does pay my student loans so there is a minimum I need to work each week and I'm making it thus far.
    4. Read something for fun! Sadly, did not do this. Unless you count teaching prep as reading for fun.
    5. Plan next weekend's trip: We got somewhat into this and have a tentative plan, hopefully more details to come. It's just a small, low-stakes trip so its not that big a deal to plan.

    Goals for this week:

    1. Finish out the teaching for this block strong (whatever I think that means to me)
    2. FL work x3 (already done one)
    3. Finalize materials for one specific app and send in. Deadline is further off but I'll be out of town during that time and want it done before I leave.
    4. Do something crafty. Along with Waffles, I want to try to do something that's a bit inspiring and fun and artsy. Not sure what that will look like, but I do have some open time at the end of the week I could try to devote to painting or something.
    5. Seriously contemplate going to the gym and TRY to run for at least 20 minutes. I need to get back into an exercise routine or I'm worried about my health/weight.

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    1. Meeting modest goals is a real shot in the arm! I recommend modest goals on the exercise, as well. 20 minutes on the treadmill alternating walking and running, maybe. I think it's great that you and Waffles are encouraging each other on the fun crafts!

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    2. Glad to hear it was a success week! It's good to have a win, no matter how modest it might seem. Perhaps the Thanksgiving break will allow for some fun reading?

      And I didn't get a chance to comment on your previous post about teaching taking over everything, but you aren't alone. I've been teaching at my same college for 20 years, teaching these same classes, and this semester has nearly crushed me (I changed some things, but I'm still surprised by how much work its been). Teaching work just spreads and spreads to fill every nook and cranny of time. I'm excited for your that you'll have a break!

      And I'll be eager to hear about the craft project!

      Delete
  6. Topic: I find myself dreading the winter, I think, due to feeling that I had a lost summer and fall. This evening is the beginning of our first serious snowstorm--up to 10 inches in the next 36 hours, and I am just … not ... ready. The house improvements planned to help us through the winter did not get done this summer, so that is another factor where it is easy for me to feel that I have failed.
    In order to counteract the dread, I’ve shifted to get up with the sun, rather than in the deep darkness, since having to turn on lights in the morning is unsettling for me. In the evening, I have the fireplace going, and that helps dispel the feeling of the dark closing in. It is also my favorite baking time, so I have some projects planned for the weekend.

    Last two week’s goals:
    Plan NaNo project. Yes, a full outline and character studies
    Write for 3 hours as many days as possible. Four out of five days the first week; three out of five the second week.
    Straighten and organize on days I can't write. Not so much--this task has lost its allure.

    Analysis: I find my repeating goals fall into two categories: those that need to become habits, and those that I find problematic--boring, unrewarding, or both. I am also balancing the desire to accept myself as I am, with the hope that I can still change and improve. I find that the illness of the past months has made it difficult to wrap myself again in the “scholar-in-the-garret” garb, and I am doing more IRL meetings with writers and friends than I did in the past, so that writing is a constant repeat on my list of goals. It falls firmly into the category of needing to become a habit, so that I don’t even think about doing it. Perhaps it will come to me naturally again.

    Next (this) week’s goals:
    Spend two hours on administrative details.
    Revise the outline and schedule for the dissertation.

    I hope everyone has a lovely Friday and a good weekend. Float like mist, everyone!

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    Replies
    1. Being here in California, t's easy for me to romanticize your snowstorm and fireplace, but I can see how it's difficult, especially with all that has gone on the past few months. I hope some of the beauty and coziness will ease dread. Do you need some fairy lights, perhaps?

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    2. I'm sorry to hear that the house stuff didn't get done. A house that is truly winter-ready is a lot nicer to live in, as I can attest! But it's hard to attend to all that stuff while also being ill, visiting doctors, and recovering.
      Sometimes I've had a writing habit going, and sometimes it is a struggle. That's what we're here for! I hope you cope all right with the storm.

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    3. Thanks, GEW. I will look into fairy lights! And thank you, DEH. This group is invaluable for exactly that reason!

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  7. I've been busy birding and practicing and writing, even! (and reading lots!)

    Bardiac (held over)
    1. Work on paper. Still working!
    2. Get garden prepped for winter. Pretty much done.
    3. Keep practicing violin. Making progress!
    4. Get regular exercise. :( A frowny face is all I can manage.


    This week:

    1. Work on the paper. Write two pages (what's left of the week is short)
    2. Practice!

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  8. Topic: DEH's topic is right on target for me. There are several TLQ goals that I have sorely neglected week after week: fiction writing, scholarly work, and exercise. I mean, I finished an accepted article this session, so that's good, but I haven't been doing any new research, and I've done very little fiction writing. I've also blown off exercising. But I am not ready to totally abandon any of these goals, so . . . there's the rub. The main problem is that, other than attention to my family, I'm blowing off all of the TLQ goals. You know what I am doing? Reading a TON for pleasure and for the science fiction class. Maybe I should just be putting those things on my TLQ list?

    Last week's goals:
    1) Do all the grading and prep and service I can do so that I can do as few of those things as possible this coming Friday-Monday. Monday-Thursday will be painful and intense but worth it, I think. MOSTLY.
    2) Test the NaNo waters (i.e., see if I can write 1667 words today and tomorrow, and, either way, try to write 5,000 words of fiction this week). NOT AT ALL.
    3) Seven-minute workout 3x, 20-minute yoga 2x, daily beach walking next Friday-Sunday. NOPE. I WAS WALKING WITH A CANE FOR HALF OF LAST WEEK.
    4) Take son on a nice outing (cheating because I already did this today). DONE!
    5) Spend Friday-Sunday (and some of Monday) relaxing at the beach house. DEFINITELY DONE.

    I won't bother will goals this week since it's already Friday afternoon, and tomorrow I have to chaperone a drama field trip.

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