Break’s over, classes are back in session as of today. This semester I’m doing something a little different — 5 sessions of “Gender, Race, and Class” in Women’s Studies. I’m teaching no anthropology classes at all, for the first time in 4 1/2 years. I’ll still be at the community college, though — 2 of my WMST sections are community college classes. I’m really looking forward to teaching the stuff I’ve been teaching at the university to the students I get at the community college. For one thing, I can virtually guarantee my classes will be a lot more diverse, and likely not a white majority, which should change the dynamic considerably.
As usual, I finished about 33% of what I wanted to get done over the break. It’s always that way — the prospect of all that unscheduled time throws me into a tizzy, and I over-plan considerably. Of course the holidays always throw me off — I always think they’ll be less time-consuming than they actually are. But the reality is, in my father’s inimitable words:
Waxes work best when Waxes work.
Which is to say, without the discipline of a schedule to follow and deadlines pressing, I have a hard time staying motivated. When I’m dead busy during the semester, I know I’ve got only this specific block of 45 minutes to do x in, and I get it done. Give me 28 days, though…
I try to whip up some fake urgency, but I’m too smart for myself, I guess. I scheduled myself down to the minute over the break, and when I’m working I regularly set a kitchen timer to help keep me focused on short, 30 minute or 1 hour, bursts of work. That helps — when I’m working. But when the Tivo calls with the whole last season of The Office (which I was far too busy to watch when they first ran), well… There’s always tomorrow.
So, now it’s tomorrow, and this semester is looking to be busier than ever. I’ve got a full load of classes, I’m taking part in an experimental co-teaching class with 3 other profs that, when we did it last semester, was about twice as much work as a regular class, I’m doing most of the day-to-day work of running lifehack.org, I’m editing a staff of some 25 writers, I’m doing the weekly podcast (Liz Strauss this week!), I have a book coming out (March release in the US), and more. And I’m made a commitment to my family to be home and available after 6pm at least 3 weeknights (one night I have an online meeting with lifehack.org’s corporate headquarters in Hong Kong, and one night I have a class until 9pm), and at least one weekend day.
If Waxes work best when Waxes work, then I’m going to be a productivity powerhouse this semester!