Sunday, August 23, 2009

Clearing the decks

It's the academic new year. Notorious Ph.D. has sent off her book manuscript, Bardiac now has a clean desk, Bittersweet Girl has cleaned her office and made discoveries, Dame Eleanor Hull has been excavating and throwing out old PMLA issues, Dr. Crazy is getting into the groove, Fretful Porpentine is outsmarting her smart classroom, Profgrrrrl is contemplating service and has a handy faculty retreat scoreboard, Lesboprof's planning orientation activities and contemplating being a full professor, Ink is feeling first-day stress, and Horace isn't feeling the usual excitement about the start of the new semester.

So it's time to buckle down here at Chez Undine, too. The MPF-Famous Author article has been sent, and I need to tear myself away from the curio cabinet of fascinating distractions (the Whatnot of Wasted Time) from which I procured that and get going on Major Project.
  • The first step is saying no (as Historiann pointed out) to service requests. Others in my position are not showing up on campus, and they're not making excuses for it, either.
  • Saying no includes some other service scholarship requests, including requests for book reviews and maybe some manuscript reviews. I have two new mantras for this: "I can buy the book. I can't buy the time that I spend reviewing it" is one. The second is "Would you rather be reviewing this manuscript for the press or getting your own sent out?"
  • The second step is to stop clearing the decks literally (cleaning my desk) and to start doing this metaphorically, by getting to work on the project. When I clean, I break down the task into smaller pieces so that it seems manageable and I'm not overwhelmed. I need to do the same for the project.
  • The third step is to stop thinking that this is an endless summer just because I'm not showing up at class with a syllabus in my hand on Monday at 8 a.m.
My desk is cleared, and so, in a manner of speaking, are my decks. Time to sail, I think.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really wish I listened when people go on and on about #1. Some things seemed like a good idea at the time...

undine said...

Exactly. It sounds good, and before you know it you're up to your neck in committee work and reports.

bitternsweet said...

Alright! Good luck in the new semester!

undine said...

Thanks, bittersweet girl! Let's see if I actually do what I set out to do.

Ink said...

Many congrats on having completed and sent the article! Woohoo!

undine said...

Thanks, Ink! I feel as though I didn't do enough, but you reminded me that at least one thing got done.