I'm back at DePauw for the second half of my second year. This month I teach my Winter Term course on children's book writing, which is already off to a delightful start, with so many motivated and engaged students with whom I can share my life's passion. This intensive, concentrated course ends the last week of January; then I fly to Kansas City for a few days of school visits, and then leap into the spring semester, where I'll be teaching an upper-division philosophy course on the work of political philosopher John Rawls.
Over the break I made a plan for how to organize my work time in January. My Winter Term class meets every afternoon from 1-3:30. The course does not require much daily preparation on my part, as (a) I taught it last year in the same format; and (b) my whole entire life has been preparation. So that leaves the morning for me to make progress on other things. I decided that I'd spend an hour a day writing on a children's book, an hour on activities to promote my books, an hour on work-related LTs (Loathsome Tasks) so they wouldn't pile up, an hour on a scholarly writing project (I have many committed), and an hour walking. With ease I would accomplish everything on my to-do list, with evenings set aside for reading and time spent with friends.
So far, this plan is not working out.
There was too much accumulated stuff-you-need-to-do-to-live that I needed to face; plus, it is just too hard to switch gears in this way from one project to another. I've come to realize that I only have in me ONE hour a day that I can dedicate without fail to a designated project; after that, I lose my ability for that kind of laser-like focus on an activity. I guess this is why my blog is called "An Hour a Day" and not "Five Hours a Day," or "An Hour a Day Spent on This, Followed by an Hour a Day Spent on That."
The good news is that I can still get everything in my life done with my original system. Each day I'm going to prioritize ONE hour to give to what I need to do most that day - probably creative writing at least four days of the week, but a focused hour given to book promotion another day, and scholarly writing another day, and alas, an hour of LTs rounding out the mix. I will still do other work during the day, of course, but it won't be special hour-a-day work, just regular well-I'm-at-my-office-so-I-might-as-well-do-something work. For example, my do-or-die hour today had to be spent reading proofs for a scholarly article, and it's done. But I'm still going to work on one book-promotion-related task after I finish this blog. Which is right now.