Friday, November 2, 2012

Working overtime

This autumn has been the first time in several years where I have had time-consuming teaching obligations again. On top of my research. I knew it was going to be hard but I have so far dodged things by working at night after Zoe is asleep and doing certain tasks to a minimum of satisfaction. To my surprise, few have noticed this lowering of my usual work standard apart from myself. On top of my over-ambitious level of travel, I have been exhausted from just thinking about things. But this November is taking me into overdrive. I wrote down the hours I need to complete my obligations, that include a paper that I have already received a 3 week deadline extension of and a funding proposal that is a once in a lifetime opportunity because I don’t qualify next time it comes up. I need to spend 95 hours of actual concentrated work before November 22nd, and with other meetings cutting out quality day time hours, I need to work 9 and a half hours per day. If I was young, without family obligations, this would be tough but totally doable. However, I have a daughter who needs to be put in daycare and be fed at night and well, I also like to read her a bedtime story and actually spend some quality time with her in the evening hours. A normal work day gives me 6 hours during the day, realistically and extra hour at night after Zoe is in bed. I could try to get up even earlier, and put Zoe in daycare at 7.30 to get another hour, but this just gives me more guilt feelings and makes for a stressed morning.

In the end I managed to make a schedule where I 1) work 3 hours every Sunday while Zoe is with a babysitter and 2) cut student project grading into skimming instead of reading and doing this on the train in the morning. I am optimistic that I will make my deadlines but there is no possibility for margin of errors here. My gym has to be visited Saturday mornings while putting Zoe in the kids club and the rare morning she is with her dad (who is traveling again, leaving me with Zoe 3/4 of the month). If I make this, I swear I will get better with treasuring and controlling my time. I might be a university *teacher* but my big ambition is to do research and for that I need research funding. If I don’t take time out to apply for this I will end up in the eternal lecture trap that I see so many people succumbed to here: Lecturing and teaching, having a research career that ended with one's PhD.

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