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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Work Done: Sept. 19-30

To attempt to put myself on the line and keep myself in line, I kept track of the work I completed during the last days of Sept. My theory was that if I got one significant thing done each day, I would be in good shape. I'm not including the teaching or preparation of classes, grading of short quizzes, answering emails, attending meetings, or blogging. Only definable tasks of some significance.

Sun. Sept 19. Completed reader's report for [name of journal redacted]
Mon. Sept. 20. Completed 500 word statement about [redacted for confidentiality]
Tues. Sept. 21. Graded complete set of papers for Spanish 453. (17 5-page papers.)
Wed. Sept. 22. Made serious progress on "receptivity" article. / Wrote course description for Spring Grad course (340 words). / applied for job at [redacted]
Thur. Sept. 23. Nothing!
Friday. Sept. 24. Course description for undergraduate course. / Completed bibliography for "receptivity" article. / Made progress on this article.
Sat. Sept. 25. More substantial progress. The thing is done except for a few bibliographical references that I have to go back to Kansas to get.
Sun. Sept. 26. Nothing!
Mon., Sept. 27. Turned in article!
Tues. Sept. 28. Nothing! Hangover from having turned in article.
Wed. Sept. 29. Wrote the text of a 'brown bag" presentation for Oct. 7.
Thurs. Sept. 30. Had a productive planning session, deciding what to do in coming months. Figured out how to finish the entire book by Aug. '11 if I really want to.

On a day I put done "nothing!" all that means that I didn't have a quantifiable and definable task of enough significance accomplished or completed, or, in the case of some weekend days, that I did absolutely nothing work-related. It's fine to have days like that. Knowing my own worst tendencies, though, I don't want to have too many days like that. A few days with 2 or 3 things done balanced out the 3 days of nothingness.

It's interesting that I conceive of work mostly as things that get written, whether it's comments on student papers (grading) or writing course descriptions. Meeting with a guy about a thing is also work, sometimes time-eating work, but I don't tend to put those things down. Interesting, too, that I don't list blogging as part of my work, even though it is writing and has a productive value.

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