Julie’s Spring Break Special: A Week of Habits, Rebooted

So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s myself. And knowing myself, I knew it would come to this. Behind on the blog. Behind in life/work. Habits abandoned, or only practiced sporadically. Seems about right for mid-March, where I left off. When I get derailed with anything positive that I’m doing, I pretty much always wallow in unhealthy behaviors for a little while instead of trying to get back up.

For the last two weeks I was frantically trying to get ready for CCCC, and then attending CCCC. I had to prepare a week’s worth of virtual classwork for my two classes. Once I got to CCCC and thanks to my Overeager Young Scholar Syndrome (OYSS, as in “OH YASSSSS I’ll do that!”—currently being evaluated for inclusion in the DSM V) I found myself with a metric shit-ton of ideas and opportunities and obligations. I got home two days ago with my usual travel migraine. Good news: this week is spring break. Bad news: my migraine and general malaise have lasted until today. Tuesday, mid-afternoon of break. There are only three days and a weekend left. My inboxes are overflowing, and my to-do list is so scary I don’t even want to open the app.

Then this appeared on Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-workload-paralysis-and-get-back-into-ac-169316979 It’s great advice. After thinking about it for a while. I’m going to use it to knock myself out of my work paralysis and reboot. Here’s my plan (I reordered the original list):

  • Take Small Steps: My small step today is to make a list of the things I want to accomplish in the next five days. Listing is something my mom always recommended I do whenever I got overwhelmed, and I still rely on it.
  • Prioritize Like Mad: I don’t do this in any formal way, but I think I need to. Not every passive-aggressive work email needs to be dealt with right away.
  • Pick One Thing and Finish It: Today I will finish my grading backlog. That’s daunting, but if I break it down into steps, I can do it.
  • Make Health a Priority: For the last…I don’t know, twelve years? I’ve not done this, and my body has suffered horribly. How can I work effectively when I feel so awful?
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In future posts this week (I’m going to try for one per day) I’ll be reflecting on my priority matrix and highlighting what I’ve completed.
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Dalyn’s Week 6: Unplugged and Unproductive

My mom tells magical stories about her childhood. In those stories, children have freedom and adventures, families across America watch the same TV shows together at the same designated time, and unpacking from a move happens in one orderly day—with even the pictures getting hung on the walls. I’m fully aware that my grandfather, a Marine, ran a tighter ship than I do, and that my grandmother has more patience and fortitude. However, I also suspect that having the military pack, ship, and organize your move probably played a big role in this seemingly impossible feat. Either that or moving elves.

The reality is my life is more disorganized at this particular point than it was when we started this blog. This disorganization has nothing to do the blog or my attempt to be more organized, but it’s taken over my life with an overwhelm that I find dizzying. We have 70% of our life in boxes in the new house, stuff scattered in previously unknown recesses in the old house, and no internet or cable at either. None. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Many, many phone calls to our provider (ahem, #fairpoint) have gone so far beyond unsuccessful that I’m pretty sure we make less progress with each phone call. They let me disconnect the service and verify what should have been the transfer before they decided they couldn’t talk to me because my name’s not on the account. Then they couldn’t secure the account with the actual holder, so he couldn’t even pay our last month from the old house. Then they had to make sure our new address exists, which isn’t as straightforward as it sounds in small rural towns. Combine that with them insisting on getting a phone number to call us back the next day (uh….you never set up our service #fairpoint, which is why we’re calling you…) then leaving messages without a phone number to call back or a person to talk to so we don’t have to go through the process again with someone new and well.

The point is that instead of simplifying my life, not having internet has made it difficult for me to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing and when. Grading as a first task is an awesome idea. If you didn’t give up teaching with paper years ago. Finishing that conference proposal? Great. If you could google that citation you needed.

So, at this point, I’m not even sure what hack to propose. I need something low-tech and doable under circumstances that include not knowing which box has your most recent bills and your underwear.

Suggestions welcome.