Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Path of Destruction

is what I'm on.

So we're about a week into summer. A week? Two. I don't know. Kalamazoo makes things complicated.

And I have Agendas.

For lo, I cannot possibly actually spend a few minutes relaxing. No, I need to work! For I have ambitions incommensurate with a 4/4 SLAC!

Thus, I am: reviewing three chapters of Wheelock's Latin per day (actually dropped that down to two/day today, because as the chapters get higher they take longer); reading two work books per week (until that ceases to make sense--which might be immediately); writing for half an hour every morning; engaging in some form of exercise every day (mowing counts); meditating daily; making headway through the list of fun reading I've backlogged; and--eventually, not yet--reading ahead for the fall and spring (because I have two new preps each semester, huzzah). Oh, and there's the bibliographic essay I'm writing; that'll be a lot more reading, but it'll help me to prep a course for the spring, too.

All of this is actually not a good idea. I know myself. I'll embark on this for a few days, then get angry and tired and reject ALL work, and wind up equally dissatisfied with myself.

The Middle Way that I am attempting to walk is one in which I make a sort of schedule just for the week (M-F), then come up with a new, different one for the next week, etc. So far, I'm three days into this system, and it's going pretty well--but I know that I a) need weekends to be completely flexible and b) will want to redo my schedule for next week. Boy howdy. Because I'm getting a little bit sick of being So Damn Productive All The Time.

Seriously, people. Somebody teach me how to relax.


Notorious Ph.D. said...

I've got no help on "relaxing," but as far as managing the workload, I've borrowed a friend's "three things" approach, in which I resolve to do three things outside the normal routine (brush my teeth, teach my classes, whatever). The list can include something like "Review one chapter of Wheelock" or "clean out fridge" or "take notes on monograph X." Make it manageable, so you can end the day with a sense of accomplishment.

Belle said...

Obviously, no cat in the house to teach you relaxation and humility. Cat hair is always a distraction from productivity, as you find self making bets how long it'll take that mountain of hair to migrate into your closet. Doesn't matter if you sweep/vacuum it up; it'll end up somewhere else.

Dogs are good at teaching you to enjoy the moment. The problem is that you are God to them, source of all and thus truly magnificent. So a balance between dogs for self-image and cats for humility is desirable. Productivity? Chalk it up to end of term 'detox' and list things so that later in summer you can remember that you are capable of getting things done....

What Now? said...

I am unqualified to teach you how to relax, although I have made learning to do so myself one of my summer projects. (And yes, I see the irony in making relaxation into a scheduled Project.) But I did want to say that I love your notion of creating a week-long schedule rather than a weekly schedule that one attempts and fails to follow all summer. I believe I'll borrow that idea from you ... once my summer begins, which is of course not for four more weeks!

Sisyphus said...

You are *crazy*!

(have fun!)

Fretful Porpentine said...

I envy your work ethic -- I can really only force myself to work during the summer if I'm in the immediate grip of extreme boredom or panic. (I've discovered that both of these states can be artificially induced, which is the only way I managed to finish my dissertation at all.)

Maybe the opposites of these states can also be artificially induced? That's all I've got.

Anonymous said...

I always found that Wheelock's Latin provided an enforced relaxation, as my brain had to rest after doing that work... ;)

But in any case, if you can't find the relaxation mode, then just celebrate your ability to produce!