Progress this week. I’m feeling more and more like a whole person again. A person who is more than just a professor. In addition to grading and course prep and office hours and writing papers and meetings (and all the other things that go along with academic life), I did puzzles with Ellie, I had pizza with friends, I worked out, I vegged in front of the TV with Mike, I wrote for the blog, I read a book for fun… and so many other things that often get pushed to the side when work gets hectic, but are all very necessary for my version of a sustainable life.
As far as work goes, this past week was one of those weeks that makes me think… this is what my ideal version of academia looks like. I’m thoughtfully engaging with colleagues and students in an effort to better myself and my work, along with the school and the larger university. I also have time to myself to thoughtfully engage with my research and have time to partake in professional development activities that directly relate to my interests. Even though 2 of my days this week were dedicated to grading (which is not my favorite task), I got to read really fascinating proposals for (hypothetical) research projects driven by students’ interests and experiences in the world. While there is still way too much to do, and I’d be thrilled if many of the more administrative type tasks just disappeared from my list, I can honestly say that I genuinely enjoyed pretty much everything I did this week.
Speaking of grading, as I was doing that on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I found myself thinking of the process as something that was “taking away” from the “more important” pieces of my job. When I noticed this I paused and thought, “well, if that’s how I view grading, of course I’m not going to like it!” So instead, I shifted a bit to, “grading is another important piece of my job that takes a significant amount of time.” Which helped me feel less like grading was taking away from other things and more like it’s just something else I do as a part of my week (not good or bad, it just is). And, it’s also fun to read the interesting and fresh perspectives that student’s often bring to their research proposals for this class. A small/subtle shift, but one that is helping move me from resistance to curiosity and interest.
Paper 1: This is a new (to me) paper that I’m working on with a colleague who does work in a similar area. I’m hoping that our work together on this will lead to more opportunities in the future to work collaboratively. My goals for the week were to draft an outline for the intro section based on the journal we’re submitting to and send it to a co-author. Goal met? I did draft the outline but need to put a little more work into it before it’s good to be reviewed by other people so I did not send it off (next week!).
Course prep (condensed research course): My goals for the week were to review/provide feedback on their 2nd assignment, review/update materials and my agenda for our final class Goal met? 80% met, I reviewed and provided feedback on their assignments. While I worked out what I’d be updating from last year for the final class, I did not finish updating my materials (which is fine because I have Mon - Thurs of the following week to do this!).
Course prep (online research course): My goals for the week were to create/finalize/upload week 8 videos (so close to week 10!!!), do a final review of week 7 content before it went live, finalize week 7 & 8 content, post an update in the class announcements section, review/provide feedback for their 2nd assignment, review/provide feedback for weekly activities, and delegate a few things to the TA. Goal met? 95% met. I’m way behind on reviewing their weekly activities and I only got through a few of them this week, and then I have a few small things that need to be done before week 8 content is considered finalized, but for the most part, the prepping feels like it’s winding down a bit.
Course prep (condensed stats class and online human dev class): My goal for the week was to do one piece of course prep for spring term for both of these classes. Goal met? 50%. I did some revising of course assignments for the human development course but did not get to the stats class.
Advising: I blocked off ~2.5 hours on Monday of this week to work on all the things I haven’t been able to get to in this realm. While it’s still not 100% complete, I was able to move things forward this week, which feels good.
service + admin
Applications: I think I forgot to add this in, in previous weeks. It’s application season which means we are all reviewing applications. My goal for the week was to submit my reviewed applications. Goal met? Yup. I had these finalized the previous week, I just needed to press submit (and it was tedious because it had to be done one by one).
Planning: My goal for the week was to plan for the upcoming week. Goal met? Not yet. I’m going to experiment with making some changes to how I do planning, and the extent to which I plan. While I love the idea of planning on Friday afternoon, I so rarely have the energy to do so. And then am not really wanting to delve into work stuff on Sunday afternoons during Ellie’s nap either (when I write these posts). So… I’m thinking I may make sure my list for the following week is ready on Friday, but not actually assign anything to any days, except for a few things I’d like to get done on Monday. And then on Monday afternoon, do a little bit more focused planning for the week. We’ll see!
Meetings: ✓in person office hours (x2) ✓webinar ✓online office hours, ✓faculty meeting ✓open education mini grant group ✗olympic lifting
Maybe I should do a study about the relationship between the number of meetings scheduled/attended and faculty contentment… a light meeting week for me and I’m also feeling quite content. I’m sure someone, somewhere has probably done something similar!
Workouts: I didn’t set a specific goal, other than to workout when the mood strikes me, and I worked out 3 times! I’m re-thinking my gym membership though. I love the gym and what they offer, but I’m not loving the 25 minute drive each way. I really don’t want my workouts to feel like they are taking away from family time (and also eating up gas from the drive!), and at this point they are. If I can start getting myself up for 6:30am classes again, it could work, but I don’t know if I have that in me right now!
Toddler on the Tenure Track: Goal: Get 2 posts up on the blog. Goal met? Yes… and then some!
Meditation: Goal: 5 minutes every other day Goal met? Nope. Two official times this week where I sat (actually laid down because of my back), but I am taking pauses during the day to just notice (my breathing, my muscles, what’s going on in my brain).
Budget: ✗Update budget… I did some student loan focused updating but did not actually update our budget spreadsheet this week. Will probably do this later tonight.