Monday, June 23, 2008

Too many damn tasks

One leadership training session I attended discussed the need to get all of the tasks you are constantly reciting in your head out on paper. This listing should include big tasks (the damn revise-and-resubmit that is sitting on your desk) and the mundane (schedule grooming for the dog and pick up the dry cleaning). The purpose of this exhaustive listing is to take away the enormous pressure of trying to remember everything you have to do, while giving you the chance to organize and prioritize the list. Once you listed general projects, they had to be further broken down into all of their specific parts--making the list even longer.

I am writing this entry to gear up to write the list. I very much need to write it, and then organize it. I find that I am ignoring all of the important tasks that need to get done, feeling too overwhelmed to begin any of them. I am also resentful, not wanting to work in the summer. In fact, it feels a good deal like winter break again--much to do, little incentive to do it.

And the summer is moving by a little too quickly. It is late June already, and I don't have much to show for it.

So, here is my general list of work-related summer projects:
  1. article revision--possibly requiring some additional data analysis--and resubmission
  2. data analysis for research project
  3. preparation of sections of accreditation documents
  4. revision/update of fall course
  5. writing report on research project
  6. presentations of research project
  7. work on my new consultant gig
  8. review student applications
  9. plan orientation for new students in summer and fall
Personal tasks include getting the dog groomed; finding a dentist; getting an annual dental and medical checkup; buying a present for the goddaughter's birthday; and cleaning my car, my work office, the refrigerator, and my closet at home. (Okay, so I am a little bit of a slob.)

There are still a good number of tasks left off the list, but I can see why it feels big. It reminds me of a great study of depression in women I read about a while ago. When trying to answer the question of why women are diagnosed with depression more often than men, the researchers found that women experienced more reasons to be depressed. I think that is the case with academics--we feel overwhelmed because we ARE! And perhaps we are a little self-indulgent, as well. Of course, that may just be me. :-)

Glad we have this time "off," eh?

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