9:16 a.m. on 12/21/13

Cup of coffee

(Photo credit: Etenil)

Saturday mornings have a bit of a routine, and this particular Saturday morning was no different. At 10:00, I usually receive a Skype phone call from the other side of the world, so between breakfast and the phone call, I try to see how much “work” I can get done. On most Saturday mornings, that means catching up on grading, or email, or doing some editing. On the particular morning in question, it was looking at textbook proofs and writing notes.

I am pretty much tired of the textbook project. The stress involved with getting Book 2 (of 8!) out was worse than expected. I won’t go into details, but I’ll be glad to be able to move along. Book 3 should be much smoother, and most of my attention can now be spent looking ahead at the plans for Book 4. And in theory, things should start getting easier. That’s my hope, along with the hope that this project will stop creeping into my weekend time, but for now, we’re pushing the publication deadline. In another week, I’ll breathe easier. At least when it comes to the textbook project.

Not an exciting moment. In fact, the less time I spend on it, the better. But these textbook moments have become significant in an unexpected way. The more of them I put in, the close they lead me back home to the U.S. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s a bit of inspiration for focusing so I can move on, compliments of my daughter, the Collaborator.

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A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.

http://randeebergen.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/a-moment-in-time-916-a-m-on-122113/

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I’m also participating in Just Jot it January *JusJoJan.” You just jot something everyday, even if it doesn’t always result in a blog post. Maybe several days’ jottings end up in one post. Lots of possibilities. Check it out here:

http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/jusjojan-1-the-rules-are-easy/

Challenge: Making My Life Less Crazy

Resolution - better time management

(Photo credit: vpickering)

As some of you may know, I did a blog challenge in October. For November and December, I’ve joined a quilt-along (cutting fabric later today–YAY!). Last week, I joined Curves for a two-month trial to see if it will work for me and my artificial knee. All of these things are about taking time for me, something which I haven’t been very good at in the past, something I want to change. My first post in October was all about Taking Time for Me, and I am moving well in that direction.

This is because I have a problem with taking on too much, especially at work. If a project interests me, and I have the skills or expertise to do something about it, I’m in, usually without thinking. It doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to realize that this tendency can lead to trouble, especially when several of those projects collide in terms of deadlines or the necessary focus and attention they need. Let me give you just a few examples.

      1. Most people at our university, if they teach writing at all, they only teach one section, maybe two because it is so work intensive. I teach both first year (1 section) and second year (3 sections) writing courses to English majors.  I also coordinate the first year program. (Yes, I’m insane, but I love writing, and I love helping people find their voice.)  This kind of work really feels like my niche. But of course, it’s only half of my course load. I also teach three sections of general English to students from other majors. Which leads to #2.
      2. Our University uses in-house textbooks for our general English program. Since students are required to take four years of English (focused on all four skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing), there are eight books in this series, one per semester. We are currently in the process of producing new books to replace the series that is nearly 15 years old. And when I say “we,” I mean that I am the coordinator of this project. I have completed one book so far, with two more in active production. Five to go! Insanity, but I brought it on myself.
      3. This year, I serve as the advisor on three senior research graduation projects for three groups of English majors. One group has four members, the other two have two members each. I’ll spare you the details, but it does eat up a chunk of time.
The teaching alone could keep me more than busy, in addition to the research that I am doing, but I’m committed to these other projects. I accept that, and I work somewhat consistently on moving forward on them without stressing too much. But it’s only been recently that I’ve managed to get that stress thing under control. As part of that effort, I made a series of intentions to take time for myself and to take care of myself. Sometimes, it feels like taking this time makes things more complicated, as when I sometimes put the blog challenge ahead of other things I could (in the past I would have said “should”) be doing. But the things I’m now doing for me are changing the way I feel about everything in my life. After the experience of the blog challenge and preparing for the quilt-along, I would never go back to the way things were a few months ago. I like this new direction, this new way of thinking, the way I can reimagine my life. It just takes time.
I can credit my work with Farther to Go! with this transformation in the way I think about things. I now view  my life (n general) and my over commitment to work (specifically) in a while new way. I can’t change everything all at once. But bit by bit, I’m taking my life back and making my decisions and activities more intentional. In the meantime, even while things are still crazy, I am less stressed, and I have hope for a calmer schedule in the not-too-distant future.