It has come to my attention that I am not very good at getting things done if I do not have a plan. Well, let me rephrase that: I am not in a hurry to get things done if there is not an immediate deadline.
Case in point - the dissertation. Ok, MY dissertation. I have work to do. Scratch that. I have A LOT of work to do in order to write, essentially a book, have it pass my committee, and for me successfully defend it so that I may graduate with my Doctorate in Transatlantic History in May 2014. Therein lies the problem... in May 2014. It seems so far away that there doesn't seem to be any rush to get it going. In theory, I was going to spend this past summer writing 1-2 chapters... I said that in May. It is now August 20th and I have about 6 pages total written. The SAME 6 pages I wrote as part of a dissertation lab/workshop I attended.
I have been awfully depressed about it all summer, feeling inadequate, stupid, unable to believe that it was, in fact, possible that I could do this. I would do nothing, then fret that I wasted a day, a week, a month.... See here how I got over that hump (it will also make the following more understandable).
I have implemented a schedule system suggested in the book I read and discussed in my earlier posts. This is my template for the fall semester. I have on it all kinds of stuff, teaching time, prep time, house cleaning, errands, exercise, meals, dissertation time, down time, and anything else I could think of that is a part of my week. My Saturdays are not empty, it is just that that is the day most plans seem to fall, so as my social calendar fills up, I will be able to fill a few hours of dissertation time in around it on Saturdays.
The plan is not rigid, in fact the only fixed items are my class times and my office hours, but what this does is give me much-needed structure. I have it pretty tight until I get into a routine, then I will be able to reassess and see if I need more tightening or if I can loosen it up a bit. We shall see. Like I mentioned, this is the template, or master schedule for the semester. The yellow is my morning time to drink coffee, cruise the internet, and to get ready for work. The blues are meals, the aqua social events. The lt. green is for house/errands. The Kermit the Frog green is exercise time (more specifically yoga, Pilates, and water fitness at the campus gym/pool) The white is driving time and the peachy color is scheduled down time/me time. I will fill in the lt. green, red, and lt. purple blocks with specifics each week - particular readings, housecleaning tasks, lecture preps.
How do you organize your time? Are you able to work fairly well without a hard plan or do you need more structure? Let me know in the comments below (or on FB).