As you can imagine, January was a crazy, exciting, frustrating, and challenging month for me. Not only have I been getting used to living in a new state that is politically and culturally different than New York, but I’ve also been getting used to being a full-time faculty member. Sure, I was an adjunct for the past twelve years — sometimes teaching four classes at three different schools — but the workload and expectations of being full-time (and not tenured) are completely different. I’m still creating and organizing lectures, teaching, mentoring, and grading; however, I’m also required to work in the Live Lab as an Art History consultant, get involved on campus, find ways to make my department “better,” and pursue my own research … yes, and that means publish. I’ve already had trouble juggling everything that I was doing. Now, I’m finding it nearly impossible to keep working the way I always have: at the last minute and into the wee hours of the morning. There are too many moving parts and too many looming deadlines to work like a grad student.
And this is my current dilemma. I still have trouble getting up in the morning and I find it impossible to go to sleep before 11:00. The mornings are my busiest times and quite frankly, they are also the times that I get a lot done. I tend to work well from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm, and then again from 4:00 until 8:00 pm or later. It’s a good thing that I’m teaching from 1:50-2:40 because it really rejuvenates and inspires me … plus it’s during my least productive time. My teaching certainly doesn’t suffer because of this, rather it allows me to do what I adore: be in the classroom teaching what love to students who are hell bent on asking difficult questions and having a discussion. Instead of falling asleep at my desk, teaching during this time recharges my batteries.
However, the hours I just stated aren’t enough for me to get everything done. Live Lab eats up a good portion of my time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and my afternoons have been spent on departmental work or getting lectures together. I have a pile of grading to get done and I still need to tackle the two essays that need to be edited — or rewritten — and sent out for peer review and possible publication. And as co-editor of an academic journal, I’ve been working with my fellow editor to build our next issue. I’ve been working on Sundays and late into the evenings just to keep my head above water. Forget working out!
Ideally, I would love to be one of those people who goes to bed at 10:00 and wakes up at 6:00, refreshed and ready to go. I want to be the type of person who reads first thing in the morning and then works out before heading to school. I want to be able to work on my research and writing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and grade in the afternoons. Most importantly, I don’t want to keep working on Sundays, unless it’s crunch time or I want to write some more.
I know many of you reading this are saying to yourself, “I have to wake up at 5:00 am or earlier! I do it. Suck it up. You’re privilege is showing.” Well, put it into perspective: on any given day I start working around 9:00 and will go without a lunch break until dinner, which is always around 8:00 pm. Then I’ll get in another few hours. I can easily do 10-15 hour work days without thinking about it. This is what needs to stop. I’d like time to work out and be social for a change. As it stands now, I only have one full day off — Saturday — and I’ve been using it to do chores and unpack. Something needs to give.
I’ve been reading articles about “training yourself” to wake up early and be a morning person. I wonder if it’s possible to train my body and mind to really enjoy mornings. I wonder if I can get to bed by 10:00 so that I can accomplish all of my goals. I wonder …