I have a new productivity plan.

I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed not only about the massive number of things I need to do but also by the different mental spaces they occupy: life, job market, dissertation, other school-related activities, and the reading and research required just to stay up-to-date in my field.  So I’ve decided to begin each day by coming up with a three-item task list.  Until the end of January, one task must be a substantial task related to the dissertation, another a biggie related to the upcoming campus visit, and the third must be easy enough that I can complete it in five minutes or while watching television after dinner. 

It’s day two of the trial.  While the three-item list has succeeded in making me feel organized and productive, I haven’t actually completed all three items on the list on either day.  Yesterday, for example, it took all day to trim down a 25-page excerpt from my dissertation into a 13-page job talk, and today it took all day to reconfigure my “Childhood and the Natural World” syllabus, which was set up as a graduate seminar, into an undergraduate course that I could present to the faculty during my campus visit. 

The campus visit activities are just more urgent right now, I suppose.  And it takes a lot of mental energy to tear myself away from it, even for things that I know are good for me.  Like going for a jog, or sending an email to a friend, or, you know, eating.  The only reason I am blogging right now is because my brain is in a state of complete campus visit fatigue.  I am simultaneously excited for the visit and very stressed about it, very optimistic about my chances and completely convinced that I am not going to get the job.  It’s exhausting.

BUT, in an attempt to actually complete my three-item list for today — there’s still hope! — I’m off to transcribe important passages about children’s language acquisition from James Sully’s Studies of Childhood.  It sounds dry, I know, but it’s actually really quirky and fascinating, like much anthropology from the nineteenth century, and the task is made a little lighter by a glass of my favorite reisling — which I finally found at Central Market!  Huzzah!

Dissertation task: check.


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