According to my self-declared theme, 2009 was supposed to be the year of sustainability. The year when I planned to “focus on trying to live my life that is sustainable in the long run for my body, my mental health, my family and my career.” Instead, I feel like I could write another post with the title “Hi, I’m ScienceWoman and I sometimes blog around here.” The last few weeks have been insane. I’ve been staying up later than usual, putting in less teaching prep time than I feel comfortable with, feeling like I’m not making any progress with my research, and missing time with my family. Somehow a combination of travel and continued sick (SciOnline09 will live in infamy for being the beginning of this misery) has wreaked havoc on my best laid plans.
So I declare that this Friday is my day for starting over with my theme. I have nothing but an office hour on my schedule and I’m going to use the day to clean my office, write two exams that I feel good about, take a walk outside, and have a pre-valentines lunch date with my husband.
Below the fold, I’ll take stock of just how badly I’ve been ignoring my thematic mandates. But before I do, anyone else want to join me in starting over on Friday the 13th of February? Or are you too busy whacking moles, jumping through hoops, or otherwise being distracted from the things that are really important to your health, happiness, and success?
From my list of “guiding principles” for 2009, here’s what’s going well.
- Recognizing that graduate students are the building blocks of a successful research program, I will more coherently mentor my students, including scheduling regular meetings and progress reports.
- I will make dedicated time each day to focus solely on Minnow and enjoy her. I will not multi-task during those times and I will not feel guilty about it.
- I will take some days and nights away from Minnow and away from work in order to do the things I love by myself or with my friends.
What’s not happening that’s making me feel bad?*
- I will transfer the time and mental energy I have used to write grant proposals into writing up papers, with the goal of submitting two first-author papers this year.
- Now that I’ve done most of the tremendously difficult work of developing new classes, I will aim to take better notes and revise my materials as I teach a course, so that I’ll have a clearer idea of what works the next time I teach the material.
- I will regain some control over my body this year.
- By the end of year, I will be in a yoga class again.
- I need to connect with this place where I live and where I may spend the next several decades. In order to do this, I’m trying to take an outdoor picture every day.
OK, so what stands out from this list is that I want to focus more on teaching and I want to take time to take care of my body and soul. I can do that, right? May the next 6 weeks be more sustainable than the past ones.
*If not on either list, then at least I’m not feeling bad about not doing them.