A schedule PROBLEM

Update 2: This schedule, even in its revised version, is punitive and I have been unable to work efficiently since I made it. Why is it not all right to just do as we did in college and graduate school, which was work at school as you would a job? Why are we exhorted to mistrust ourselves from the dissertation forward, told to rush and to “save time?” These exhortations make me claustrophobic and all I can think about is how to get away, or how to resist the impulse to get in the car and drive west.

As part of scheduling office hours and deciding when I will be available by appointment, I made a 60-hour, 5-day per week schedule for myself. What I learned was that even planning on the basis of a 12-hour day, it is hard to find free time. I scheduled:

23 18 hours of  research and writing. This is the most I would be able to do in a week of 12-hour days, and it will be cut into by routine medical appointments, routine home maintenance appointments, and routine faculty meetings, as well as reading for courses at times. Therefore nothing else can be scheduled during these hours. I am contractually expected to spend 12 hours a week on research and writing and for good reason I believe I must plan to protect 23 18 hours if I am to make sure I get my 12.

⊕ 12 hours of classes. I am teaching an overload, as proactive self-protection from coerced individual study: all the people I would normally be required to tutor in individual courses are required to be in a course together, on one topic, that will at least show on my record and enable me to argue that we do in fact need another position if we are to meet student needs / give the courses they need to make timely progress to degree.

⊕ 9 hours of office hours and standing student meetings, during which time I will also do some course preparation.

⊕ 9 hours of other standing meetings, some of which are for university committees and some of which are for outside activities — but which are standing.

⊕ 1 hour in which I am available by appointment.

⊕ 6 hours of lunch, breaks, and transit, during which I cannot be available.

This schedule involves rising at 5 AM. It involves working out in the evening every day but Thursday. It involves gardening Friday evenings. It involves grading on Saturdays. It could involve writing on Saturday night. It should involve excursions on Sundays, which could be out-of-town library excursions or not.

It involves having many groceries in the house that allow for simple meal preparation, and/or cooking in large quantities so as to have planned leftovers. It involves not letting anyone else waste any of my time, and even so, I do note that one must struggle and be economical to even get a 40-hour week, let alone my planned 50-to-60 hour one.

Finally, I want to say that I do not like the numbers 41-59. I would prefer to work 40 hours or fewer (the leisurely schedule) or 60 or more (the exciting one). To work between 41 and 59 hours is a sign of drudgery, I think, and I think that any time above 40 hours should be put to research.

Update 1: This schedule must be revised. I refuse to get up at five, or in the dark. I am willing to get up when civil twilight starts, which is before sunrise (I believe that might be dawn or “first light”). But not before. That means I will cut research and writing to 18 and then to 12, and replace that time with recreation chosen by me. This recreation will support research and writing and rest my mind from the issues related to teaching intermediate language courses.


2 thoughts on “A schedule PROBLEM

  1. The ideal plan is Mediterranean: get up with the sun, have a long morning, eat large lunch late and work out, return to office, skip dinner, stay until 8P, then come home and relax, no work after 8.

  2. I am having a crisis and a revolution. I am going to a 40 hour week. I will accomplish this by refusing almost all service and also avoiding all required recreation (e.g. events one attends so as not to offend by one’s absence). This was how I did college and graduate school and it was fine, but as woman professor really got beaten up for it, and have been traumatized/twisted since. I am going to reclaim it, though. NO service that I do because I am afraid of what they will do to me if I do not do it, and NO recreation that I do not actually like. ALL recreation is to be recreation that actually re-creates and thereby supports research / teaching.

    What is the real issue / are the real issues? Too much teaching, too much low level teaching; not enough power over teaching, THE HISTORY OF EXHORTATION NOT TO TAKE POWER OVER TEACHING; not enough people to share service with; institutional anti-support; not enough research time or research context; not enough options in town outside work, nowhere to walk, this feeling of being caged and overloaded with drudgery, and the constant nagging financial worry. Like being at the workhouse or doing some form of penance / doing time.
    How can I modify this?

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