The end of the fiscal year nears. With the looming deadline of the 30th, my focus has been entirely on submitting a grant proposal and on writing two annual reports and submission of several presentation/article deadlines. It seems everything is due at ONCE and I found myself getting very overwhelmed. In fact, this was the scene of my office when I arrived to work at 6:30 a.m. this past Friday. That’s right. A total of 12 sticky notes screaming at me to do a variety of tasks in the blatant urgency unique to sticky notes. To realize I had left the office Thursday night with that many random notes made me groan. I am organized, I am detailed, I am meticulous. And, apparently, I am watching my desk become a direct reflection of my mental state. Frantic, worried about forgetting something, and overwhelmed.
During this busy time, I am employing my Google calendar and my trusty task list (aptly titled “Dr. Lora’s Lunacy”) to help me prioritize my work and to manage these last hours before my projects are due. I am also avoiding distractions. The phone is on “silent” while the emails are NOT open in other windows of my computer. I am focusing on one task at a time. Today, that is the annual report of grant A. When that is finished, I move to the report for grant B. After that, the presentation items before turning to the research articles.
Then, I hope to explore ways to better manage the multiple demands of faculty life during high-output/high demand times and try to remember to avoid scheduling anything next June if this is the way the month traditionally happens! I will schedule out the final reports and my publication goals with regard to the hectic summer session teaching schedule and attempt to avoid any other high-pressure work periods like I have had the past two weeks.
Accomplishing these little tasks now means that the check mark in my Google task list with the beautiful line through the task won’t be the only reward for hard work, I will also get to hear the satisfying crinkle of a sticky note heading to the garbage can!
Author of article – Lora Helvie-Mason