Monday, March 1, 2010

New Life for March

Today is the first day of March, and on the first day of each month I like to begin a new life. A whole entire new life, overhauling my old life from top to bottom: diet, fitness, finances, the reading of improving literature, and of course, huge and glorious accomplishments re work. I didn't do a new life in February, as I was chiefly in survival mode last month. So I am ready now for a new life with a vengeance!

I made my to-do list for the month last night, in preparation to leap out of bed at an even earlier hour than usual this morning and tackle it joyously. There are 137 items on it. This means that if I do a mere 5 a day, I will have the whole list crossed off by the end of the month, even taking off a few days for the two trips I'll be taking.

Some of the items on the list are very small, but they still need to be done, and I've been avoiding doing them. Having them on the list as tempting, low-hanging fruit is a way to get them finally accomplished. These include: photocopying my midterm exam, sending off a blurb to Barnes & Noble for the writing workshop I'm doing for them in April, organizing the materials I need to do my hideously loathsome FRPA for work (the annual Faculty Report of Professional Activities which we're required to submit every year), and emailing the printer to arrange for the next issue of the University of Maryland's Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, which I've agreed once again to guest-edit.

Some of the items on the list are bigger - but still not too big. I try to break them all down into chunks that shouldn't take more than an hour or two. So I don't put on the list, "Grade all the papers for my Rousseau class, " but "Grade five papers for the Rousseau class" - this appears on the list five separate times as five separate installments of grading. I don't put on the list, "Write chapter eight of my book," but "Write one page of chapter eight" or "Write for one hour on chapter eight." Some of the things on the list are pure fun: attend Christopher's Metro State band concert.

I have crossed off TEN things so far already! Of course, they were the ten puniest. But it was still bliss to cross them off. And today isn't even over! The danger of being too gung-ho about the list is getting burnt out - it's important to pace myself so that I can keep crossing off items at a reasonably steady pace. But right now, I do feel that I'm a roll. I'm roaring into March like a lion.

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