Bat Fit, My So-Called Academic Life, Planning

My So-Called Academic Life and Bat Fit: Can You Possibly “Find Time?”


bannerfans_16248261A new semester brings with it syllabus writing, course planning, lecture organization, departmental and committee meetings, and complete chaos. Within the last week, my schedule went from relatively manageable to filled-to-the-brim, forcing me to contemplate how in the world I’m going to “pencil in” my own research and writing. As the weeks and months tighten, I am keenly aware that my “free time” is dwindling at an alarming rate and that my routine isn’t going to cut it this year. Somehow, somewhere, I need to find more time. Do I take Sundays to work? Do I wake up at 6:00 or gasp 5:00? Do I finally accept the fact that I need to schedule my work, research, and free time so that my life is more manageable? Why am I so resistant to making appointments to do my work and then sticking to those appointments? Why am I resistant to parsing out my work into manageable chunks that can easily be accomplished in a hour or two?

I keep three calendars — two desk and one planner, a kanban board, and a master to-do list that never seems to shrink because I keep adding tasks to it. I have an “everything notebook” where I write tasks, notes from meetings, thoughts, and other “important” information. I have a “writing notebook” where I jot down research related thoughts and ideas and other “important” information. I have post-it notes everywhere. And now I have a kanban board that I’ve been working through.

And yet, I feel like Sisyphus as I roll my boulder up the hill only to be smashed by it on the way down. Oh believe me, I make plans with good intentions. I write it down … I move it across the kanban … I start the task with vim and vigor, only to let my efforts fizzle in an inglorious sputter. What in the world is wrong with me? I once thought it was my lack of planning, or that I procrastinate, or that I am “out of practice,” or that I have a hard time structuring my work without an imposed deadline associated with school or a 9-5 job. I read senior academic’s blogs and helpful hints on Twitter and I’ve tried to employ their methods. I’ll keep it going for a month or two, only to give up. What the hell is wrong with me? It seems like I’m rebelling against my current situation by wasting time on Facebook or Twitter, watching senseless TV at night, and “futzing” around the house or my office.

Is it mental? Emotional? Physical? Do I not like what I do anymore? Am I afraid of the all-consuming work? Or am I just tired and frustrated … do I need to step away from my plans and goals for a little while so that I can take a breath, enjoy teaching, and figure it all out? Is it that I’m overwhelmed and still reeling from everything that has happened in the last 4-6 years? Am I still exhausted from this move — a move that wasn’t easy — to a place that I’m finding difficult to acclimate to.

To make matters worse, as my planner gets more and more filled I have less and less bat-fit-2017time to dedicate to the things that will make my body strong and healthy, and that will make my heart and spirit soar. I’ve planned my weeks around grading, research, teaching, and meetings without considering when I’m going to work out, meal plans, or quiet moments with my knitting or other creative things. I don’t plan out time to blog, garden, cook and bake. I don’t do my nails anymore and I barely squeeze in time to dye my hair. Why don’t I take fashion photos anymore? I’m running out the door without setting aside time to document my outfits. Everything I love … everything that I’ve featured on my past blogs … has been pushed to the side as I try to survive in my current situation.

And I hate it.

I’m 238 pounds. I gained almost all of my weight back. My body is weak … I don’t exercise. I am back to eating large portions, snacking out of boredom or frustration, and drinking way too much alcohol. I hardly ever cook anymore and eating out has been our primary source of meals. When I lived in NYC I was constantly running from one train to another, climbing stairs, or walking blocks to get somewhere. I moved all the time. Here in Texas I need to make an effort to do anything! We drive everywhere AND it’s too damned hot to be outside for very long. We actually NEED to get a gym membership because the only way to get my exercise for the day is to get on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike.

Something needs to give … and in a big way. Can you really “find time” in a schedule that’s already busting at the seams? What now?


6 thoughts on “My So-Called Academic Life and Bat Fit: Can You Possibly “Find Time?””

  1. I can relate to so much of that — when I feel overwhelmed, instead of dealing with the necessaries, I tend to shut down. Eating too much and social media distractions are definitely signs of that for me. Breaking down tasks and focusing on one thing at a time (lists are my friends, like your kanban board) help a bit, but sometimes I just shut down anyway. The good news is that if you can get to exercising again, that will probably help you physically and with stress/overwhelm. I wish I could wave a magic wand for you!


    1. I just bought a Planner Pad, which does all the individual steps that you’re talking about and that I’ve discussed in the past. I’m a visual person and planning needs to happen in front of me … including blocked times to relax, create, and write. I’m hoping this helps me, but time will tell. The good thing is that Planner Pad has a 6 month money back guarantee! Have you ever heard of a planner that has a guarantee? Crazy.

      Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it.


  2. I know we just “met” but (*big hug*) my heart goes out to you! I wish I had magic words or insight to offer but I can commiserate. I was once working 11 hour days plus dealing with moving, divorce, etc. Everything I cared about or loved doing just fell to the wayside because I just had no time for anything. I stopped smiling and my binge eating kicked in big time. One night, my now-fiancé forced me to sit and draw. When I couldn’t think of anything, he gave me the doodle idea of a monkey eating pizza. It was silly but that little task made something inside me click and I was able to deal with everything better. One day soon you’ll have that click moment. I promise.


    1. Aw, thanks for this. And thanks for the big hug. Yeah …. something needs to click or give or something soon. I’m hoping some reading time and Sunday cooking will help me ease into the week in a more balanced and sane way.

      I’ll keep you posted. 🙂


  3. Your life sounds pretty insane 😦 I couldn’t do what you do that’s for sure, taking on so much work, never really resting. Is it possible for you to just cut some things out? For the sake of your health?


    1. Technically it comes with the territory of teaching at a R1 (research university) that pushes for research and writing (production). Heck, as a professor who isn’t tenured and who would like to be tenure track, this comes with the territory. There’s really no work-life separation when what you do for a living is also very much a part of your life and what you do for “fun.” It’s all the other stuff that I’m involved with that is starting to pile up. I can’t cut anything out, so I need to figure out a better way.


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