And miles to go before I sleep

This has been the busiest semester of the busiest year of my life. Every time I think I’m “over the hump,” I realize there’s another mountain of work. By the time the semester ends — a semester during which I’ve taken on a teaching overload — I not only need to complete my grading (including grading for Shimer’s first-year comprehensive exam, as a kind of bonus) but write two articles on which I basically haven’t even started and also put (hopefully!) finishing touches on my co-authored book on Agamben with Colby Dickinson.

Then over the winter break, I need to finalize a syllabus for my Qur’an course, a task that will include a lot of tedious detail work to make sure I cover the whole text in some kind of compromise between chronological and thematic order, and start getting up to speed on Shimer’s Social Sciences 4, also a new prep for me. In addition, I need to make at least some progress on my big Agamben translation, hopefully getting it to a place where I could send a major section to an Italian colleague who has agreed to look over it.

Then, of course, I need to actually get started on my long-promised devil book, presumably striking while the iron is still hot after having taught the material twice in the last calendar year (once at Shimer, once at CTS).

Experience tells me that I tend to exaggerate the amount of time things like the Qur’an syllabus will take and that once I get into a translation routine, I can make good progress by putting in two or three hours a day. I should also be able to begin requisitioning my commute time for the Soc 4 reading soon. Hence the non-devil work probably won’t be as big a deal as it may sound.

The major curveball is that The Girlfriend is completing her grad program this semester and has obtained a job in another city — thankfully in the Midwest, not the worst-case scenario of the West Coast — that begins in January. We did a medium-distance arrangement for two years while I was in Kalamazoo, and the plan is for her to find her way to a job back in Chicago as soon as practicable, so we’ll be fine as far as that goes. Still, that introduces a lot of stress and preparation that conveniently overlaps with the holiday season, when I traditionally feel like utter shit even under the best of circumstances.

I guess one way to look at this is that starting in January I’ll suddenly have a lot more free time during the week! Plus I know from experience that moving to a random city for the summer due to The Girlfriend’s work can be a boon to my productivity! For all those undoubted benefits, however….

So there we are.

2 thoughts on “And miles to go before I sleep

  1. When I’m structuring my own time, I definitely get into a routine. It’s harder during the school year, though, given the tendency for the work to expand to fill the available space and given that fatigue makes it difficult to work on command at set times. This semester, for instance, I was happy that I had afternoons off, but I wasn’t able to harness that time productively because the cost of having afternoons off was doing five straight hours of teaching in the morning.

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