Friday, April 2, 2010

April Is the Cruelest Month

It always seems to be the busiest month, at least. Certainly the busiest month for those of us who teach at a university, that last intense final stretch of the spring semester, which we face with accumulated fatigue from the semester before. In addition to the usual teaching (and I'm teaching an overload), and the grading (oh, the grading!), I also have to revise and expand a chapter book for a May 1 deadline, find and edit four articles for the Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly, review paper abstracts submitted for the Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, read drafts of graduate student dissertation chapters, and write a promised article for a centennial collection on The Secret Garden. During this month I'm also going to DePauw University for their Undergraduate Ethics Symposium and speaking at some schools in Oklahoma. I'm having a house guest for the better part of a week, a dear friend who needs to get away from her life by visiting mine for a while. I still need to visit my mother on a near-daily basis. And I've gained back EIGHT of the fifteen pounds I lost last summer through Weight Watchers, so don't you think I should prioritize exercise as well?

Last April I was similarly overwhelmed by the month's cruel busyness, and I made a plan for myself, which worked very well. I sat myself down and made a sobering, thorough list of everything I had to do for the month. I ended up with 90 things on the list, each one pretty much equivalent to an hour's worth of work. (The list didn't include teaching, preparing for teaching, exercising, or living, but did include grading and writing/editing tasks.) All right. There are 30 days in April, so 90 divided by 30 is 3. All I had to do was three things a day - three things every single day - and I'd get through the month with everything on the list done - guaranteed. Finding the three hours was tricky, but luckily I'm an early riser. For the month of April, I would have to be a VERY early riser. If I got up each day at 4, and worked from 4-7 to accomplish my three things, then the rest of the day would be mine to do with as I pleased (or as the university pleased).

And it worked.

So now it's time to do this again for this new cruel April. It's already April 2, and I already didn't get up at 4 this morning, so I'm two days behind. Oh, well. I will decree that this April, by special dispensation of Claudia, will begin tomorrow and will extend through May 2. And then? Why, then it will be the merry month of May.

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