Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making a Plan

It's Thanksgiving break at the university, hooray, hooray! If I think about how much work I need to get done over the next nine days, I will feel overwhelmed with stress and misery, instead of lighthearted and merry. So I need to make a plan.

For example, if I consider the fact that I made the due date for the papers in BOTH classes be yesterday, so that I now have 22 papers to grade for one class and 47 (!) for the other, I will sit paralyzed with doubt that I can grade even one paper, let alone 69. But, if I tell myself, "Just do five papers each day," for eight days (not counting Thanksgiving), then I will have 40 of them done by the end of the break - and probably, thinking realistically, I don't have 69 papers, as probably I granted a bunch of extensions to people that I've already forgotten about. So maybe I have 60 papers: do 40 over the break, and then do 20 (at the same rate of 5 a day) the week after the break. Papers, done!

I often have lunch at one sandwich joint on the Hill where you order sandwiches, writing down your order on a brown paper bag, checking off your choice in half a dozen different categories: kind of roll (white or wheat), kind of protein, kind of mayonaise, kind of veggies, kind of condiments. That is how I am going to organize my eight days of Thanksgiving break. Each day I will choose from the following menu, one item from each category:

1. Grade five papers (any five from either class).
2. Write one page on my chapter book-in-progress for an hour OR spend one hour revising my sequel to 7 x 9 = Trouble! (now returned to me by my editor).
3. Do at least one thing from the following list: write up one last teaching observation, write one last recommendation letter, write any of the five book reviews I need to do for Children's Literature.
4. Take one long walk.
5. Have one episode of fun either with my mother, the boys, or a friend.

It's a plan!


  1. "How do you eat an elephant?"

    "One bite at a time!"

    Sounds like you've got a good plan in place already! Have a happy holiday!

  2. Ooh, I love that! Yes, one bite on Monday, and one on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday. . . .