I am now able to do some work I had thought impossible because I got lots of sleep and I am working slowly–or, at the speed I need to work.
The reason I have always wanted to leave academia is that we are supposed to work very quickly, do a poor job (anything else is “perfectionism”), get up before we are rested, schedule everything in a rigid way, never meditate and not “waste” a minute.
If I had never been lectured at about the need to use timers and alarm clocks, I would never have hated academia. If I had received that lecture while still a student, I would have quit.
The reason I hate the lecture so much is that it is so belittling. People imagine one has never had to be efficient before.
4 thoughts on “Slowly and with lots of sleep”
Some things I need, and do not always get, in this job are:
–enough time at meals to not rush
–enough time to meditate and relax my brain
–enough time to read and think
BUT trying to rush teaching and service are not the answers. The real answers would be to have only 2 courses, have them in field, plus independent projects and dissertations, and have a service load I get credit for, since I am good at it. In the meantime trying to rush teaching is BAD, and missing sleep because one is trying to rush and follow efficiency instructions, use every 15 minute segment, never contemplate, is also BAD.
Forsooth, the most important “hack” is *not* to make use of every 10 or 15 minute segment. I remember that I would sit in the sun and look at the beautiful views in the 10 or 15 minute breaks between classes when I was in school. Other people would try to do homework or grade it, saying you had to make use of every moment. I’ve always had to work on a schedule but I can’t write in the hour between classes, for instance — this is the time to grade, and to plan the next meeting of the class that just happened. If I don’t use that time that way, things get far too far out of control.
I have never written on a teaching day and gotten acceptable student evaluations that term, or finished the piece I was writing–I just get anxious and distracted, and become obsessed with leaving the profession or dying. I can read for research on teaching days but only write usefully or sustainably on non-teaching days. I’ve always been like this, and I wrote at a good clip before I started getting all this writing advice.
Also: fear, guilt and shame are the emotions I most associate with academic work. Originally it was only my parents who thought I should be ashamed of being in graduate school but then when I became a professor, people thought I should be ashamed of having finished, or ashamed of having gone to such a good program, or ashamed of being interested in research. I became afraid of them because I knew they could do me harm in a way my parents wouldn’t, and also felt guilty about them, because I knew they were in pain and that my “privilege” had caused it somehow.
Fear, guilt and shame freeze my brain, though, and make it very difficult to make progress on any project.
Other emotions: frustration, disappointment, limitation, duty, being chained to something, incarceration, claustrophobia, dead-end activities, meaningless exercises, being caught in a barrel with people who treat it like a dead-end job or as a place wherein to exercise empty authority.
I didn’t feel this way about school, being a student, though, at all and it isn’t the atmosphere I create for myself when I am away from workplace.