Beginning of a Summer Schedule

I have officially completed my teaching duties for the 2017-2018 year! Student responses have come in, and final parties to celebrate achievements have come to an end. Today, I am catching my breath after what ended up being a whirlwind of a semester. I am trying to think through summer plans and have already come up with several concrete projects that need to be worked on in the next twelve weeks. But in all honesty, I will need a few days of sitting blankly out the window before any serious work can begin. And that is okay.

During the semester, my days were full of tasks: lecture notes to write, powerpoint slides to prepare, student essays to read and grade, and seminars to organize. Back in January, I sat down and put in every single weekly task that needed to be completed in my schedule. Each task had  things like chapter readings that must be prepared in advance and I scheduled my grading into my calendar as non-negotiable tasks. It worked. I held Saturdays sacred "me" days in my calendar with only one or two exceptions where events had to be scheduled which were out of my control. These days were the only way I could keep my mental health while holding together my demanding schedule.

What didn't happen as much during the Spring semester was a routine writing schedule. But that is okay too. Now I have the energy and time to get back into the writing saddle and work my way through a few projects that need to begin.

This summer, I have marked out twelve weeks of writing and research ahead of me. Too short for comfort, but the shortness is also conducive to keeping me on track with what needs to get done. Again I have Fridays blocked out as research days which will be non-negotiable. I am venturing out on a brand new writing project where the only thing I have so far is an abstract and some loose ideas. I am predicting that this project will take the most energy and therefore needs, at least in the early stages, clear guidance. I have scheduled my day tomorrow to begin delving into the big and small questions that I would like to address in this chapter. Two other projects are expansions on what I have already begun but with new twists. One final project will be to revise and resubmit an article for peer review.

As I contemplate the various different tasks in front of me, it seems that I will do myself a world of good by getting a good start on all of these during the summer and allowing myself to figure out when and how I can continue to work on the material in the Autumn. By working with a goal towards preparation, where I can schedule future work during the semester, I am thinking that my projects will be well looked after and organized. Goal for this summer: find more ways to work smart using small bursts of concentrated time for ultimate productivity.