Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The sound of one neuron firing

I haven't been doing much dissertating lately. With Rocco's mystery illness and doctor visits, WonderGirl's fall break and our recent (much-needed) trip away for a long weekend, I've been away from school quite a bit. Both Rocco and WonderGirl have class parties later this week (different afternoons, dodged a bullet there), and DT has needed to cover lots of extra clinic shifts lately, so I'm picking up WonderGirl from school most days, which means leaving my office by 2:45pm.

A better person would probably make this work. Someone else could sit down and get six solid hours of work out of a six-hour workday. It wouldn't be an immense amount of progress, but it would be obvious progress. Me? I end up spending more time than I'd like catching up on email, blogs, the most interesting forum on the internet, and frankly, my own sanity. My only alone time comes during the day, so that's when I take it. Lately, though, with all of the other things going on, I haven't had the alone time at school, and when I do have downtime at home, I spend it decompressing from parenting instead of spending it getting little incremental pieces of schoolwork done.

Again, a better person would snap out of this more easily than I have. My habit is to let a lack of progress wash over me like molasses. I get overwhelmed and depressed that I'm not getting anything productive done, so I sit around and mope until it's time to pick up the kids. Then, of course, I'm disappointed in myself that I still didn't get anything done. A month ago, I was feeling flush with optimism -- my paper was accepted and in press, my new project was moving steadily (if not quickly), and my work ethic was impeccable. Now, um, yeah.

Not much to report, except that it will be a freaking miracle if I do my proposal this semester.

In an effort to break out of this, I present my goals for today: grade the quizzes for the class I'm TAing, begin the report on my research rotation, email my advisor about the problem that has my research stuck. If there's extra time: stop beating myself up.

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