Since being tenured, I’ve tried to shift to a pattern of only coming in to campus three days a week, working from home on Mondays and Wednesdays (and giving the earth a little break by not doing my freeway commute on those days).
However, today, a Wednesday, I figured I should go in to campus to catch up on committee-related work. I envisioned a day where I’d make good progress on some things that needed doing, plus maybe get a chance to go out to lunch at a local eatery (something that never seems to fit in my teaching-days schedule).
Suffice it to say that there was barely enough time to grab a cup of decaf and a muffin, let alone to sit down and enjoy a burrito.
Part of this was due to my faulty memory — a meeting I had recalled being scheduled for later in the week was actually scheduled for 3 pm today. (I figured that out by about 9:30 am. The work to be done before this meeting was already on my list of tasks to accomplish for today.)
Part of this was due to the time it takes to discharge certain responsibilities well. For example, it’s one thing to read through a stack of faculty proposals and supporting materials you’re supposed to evaluate as a member of a college committee. It’s another thing to read through them well enough to be able to lead the discussion the committee will be having about how to rank these proposals. (Why do I get to lead the discussion? Because the last time the committee met, I was somehow elected to chair it. This happens to me far too often, but I haven’t yet figured out a good way to make it stop.) Of course, since the proposals we’re evaluating cannot leave the administrative office where they’re being kept, I had to do this two hours’ worth of reading and evaluating around that office’s schedule.
And then there was the page that needed my signature (and the department chair’s, and the dean’s) to indicate that I was agreeing to be personnel on a grant proposal which is due tomorrow. Luckily, I was on campus today (even though I’m usually not on a Wednesday) to chase down the needed signatures. Luckily, the dean’s office agreed to fax the signed page to its final destination, seeing as how my department no longer has a fax machine. (Apparently the fax machine ceased to be last year, while I was on sabbatical. I don’t know if the cost of transmitting and receiving faxes was the issue, or if the machine broke and the money it would take to repair or replace it seemed like more than the budget could bear. Either way, no more faxing.)
Oh, that grant proposal due tomorrow? Also required me to put together a biographical sketch (in a particular format with which I had not worked before, of course). So that chewed up some time.
Finally, there was the unexpected call for an ethics consult from a colleague working against another rapidly approaching deadline. I mulled that over as I was rushing between campus offices and managed to sit down to compose an email response to the query that I hope was useful.
No burrito for me.