Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Semester coming up...

As noted, I'm not really very good at keeping resolutions and I'm only inconsistent at making them. My birthday falls perilously close to the holidays, so resolutions made at that time are generally derailed by New Years. New Years seems an arbitrary day to start a new leaf and starting either 1. Hung over from the night before or 2. Depressed from holiday let-down never seems like a good idea. So, maybe a list of new-semester resolutions?

I'm thinking a lot these days about how to structure my time so that I'm productive as well as relaxed and balancing work with life. I'm also thinking a lot about how to have a life outside work, but that's a topic for a different blog. The challenges I'm facing are these.
  1. Not taking a full load of classes = less structured time, no discrete tasks to finish. This means no instant gratification.
  2. Prospectus due at a stupid time (February 27 - three weeks into the new semester)
  3. Adviser leaving the country at an even stupider time (January 25 - one month before Prospectus day)
  4. Danger of TFing duties eating up spare work-time.
  5. Danger of procrastination eating up all remaining time.
  6. Lack of concrete direction in Dissertation research/writing threatens to derail entire project from the beginning.
  7. Losing precious office space due to changing teaching duties. This is combined with:
  8. Inability to be productive at home.
So, how do I deal with these things?
  1. Try to keep my office. Failing that, create a good space for working at home (try to make the desk in the bedroom workable).
  2. Try to schedule sections carefully. I have a teaching commitment from 5:30-7:30 Thursdays and lecture 1-2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on when the Professor ideally wants sections to happen, maybe I could schedule them for Tuesdays after lecture - back to back? Then I would (theoretically, unless something else comes up) have MWF free.
  3. Budget time carefully and stick to that budget. I.e. spend no more than 2-2 1/2 hours prepping for Extension School each week. Plan specific times and tasks for working on Prospectus/Dissertation.
  4. Institute a system of goals/rewards. Set benchmarks to be passed before allowing myself to do something fun.
  5. Institute weekends and stick to real days off and real days working, rather than half-assedly doing both all the time.
If anyone here does read, do you have any tips on dealing with unstructured time and nebulous tasks? Do share.

1 comment:

booksandcoffee said...

I think sticking to real work days and real days off really helps. That way you also don't feel bad for not working on a day off because it's an official day off.
If you can't keep the office, maybe you can find a spot in a library that you like? Do they have little booths in the library where you can work in private?