Thursday, February 19, 2015

one-inch frame

I think I figured out some of my distress (while doing the workout this morning).

I have a hard time balancing the stuff that is short-term and urgent with the stuff that is long-term and important. Because there's a clear deadline on the short-term stuff (and it's a close deadline), that tends to squeeze out the longer-term stuff. Also, I have a lot of things nagging at the back of my mind that have to be done some time:

Short-term this week:
-grade exam
-write quiz and exam for next week
-figure out lab for next week in case I have to get equipment for it
-write Sunday school lesson
-prepare for Saturday's recruitment event (which will take half of Saturday)
-find time to get salad makings for Sunday's lunch at church (and yes, I have to factor that in - either I get up extra-early Saturday before the recruitment event, or I plan an extra half-an-hour of marketing time because of crowds and lines)
-prep for teaching before each class
-convert the (expensive) head of cauliflower that keeps nagging me from the crisper into the soup I planned to make out of it.

-Plan a time for spring sampling early or mid March
-Get my stuff together and take it out to the tax lady (I am still waiting on the stock account documents)
-Find another article for my section of the senior seminar class
-Probably something else I am forgetting right now
-The nagging concerns over the Anthem data breach and having to Monitor All The Things! (and now, my campus HR is warning of a tax-information breach on top of the Anthem one). (And I will also note: I have YET to receive any official communication from Anthem letting me know what, if anything, they are going to do to try to make things right. So that's nagging the back of my brain - that some lowlife jerk somewhere may have my social security number and be doing God knows what with it....creating an identity under which they commit crimes? And then I wind up having to defend my life for something I didn't even know was going on?)

-Get the manuscript written and in (this is, ideally, before May, which is the submission deadline for the journal for this year)
-Plan new research (It's too late now for the small-grants cycle, but whatever)
-Figure out some way to "refresh" classes/consider new textbooks. (The way the textbook submission requests work now, that really works against that - the deadline for Fall is middle of this semester, so you have to plan almost a year in advance if you're going to vet new textbooks for a class)

-reading articles and stuff in my field to keep up (I don't do enough of this)
-house upkeep, marketing, and all that

And on, and on. Work expands to fill the time allotted it. (It can take up to four hours to grade an exam, it can take several hours to write an exam). The big thing right now is the work on the manuscript balanced with class stuff - I'm trying to put in an hour a day on it (Well, not Thursdays, because I'm pretty much in class from 8 am until 3 pm - it's my longest day) and doing that on top of juggling everything else just gets me down.

I did better in grad school when I had a few little short-term things (grade the labs for the lab sections I taught; prepare the article I had to discuss in seminar) and one, big, long-term thing (the dissertation). And house stuff was negligible because I lived with my parents - I never had to go to the grocery store, which, currently, can be a source of stress. (When do I go? And if I go on an afternoon, the stress of trying to get in, buy my stuff, and scram, when it seems like every single other one of my town's 15,000 residents are at the same store, and they've all run across their oldest and bestest friend, and they have to park their carts diagonally across the aisle while they talk...)

(The thing that scares me is: will 15 years hence, I look back on this time and go, "Wow, I had it so easy but I had no idea?")

I think the other thing is I have to make more time to do relaxing stuff - knitting or sewing or reading something not-work-related (and more than a few pages of a Poirot mystery before I go, "You know, I'm too tired to concentrate even on this, I'm going to sleep). The problem is I look at the list of stuff I have and I got "I have to get this all done NAOW because if I don't do it immediately, something will come up that's even more urgent, and I won't get this stuff done because of it." And while that's not true....I do tend to attack work with the perspective of "that open time you're not in class Monday won't exist, so don't try to put off doing something that HAS to be done until then."

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I need all my goals to be middle-term. Short-term makes me anxious, and long-term, I get bored and unfocused.