Sailing alone around the room

It’s Sunday again, and I’m trying hard not to feel that I “wasted” Saturday, for Saturday wasn’t wasted in the least. I slept until 9, then lazed around with Stubb and the Snork Maiden for a while.  We went out for breakfast with a friend and laughed ourselves silly (among other things, drawing Droodles on scrap paper with crayons).  I bought a few Chanukah necessities.  The Snork Maiden worked on her school project.  I answered some email.  Stubb washed a giant sinkful of dishes.  The Snork Maiden played outside with the neighborhood kids while Stubb and I sat on neighbor M.’s porch and shot the breeze with some of the parents.  I made pigs in blankets (hot dogs in biscuit dough) for dinner and we all played Disney Uno  (a birthday present to the Snork Maiden) before bed.  In short, a really lovely day, and not at all wasted. 

Today, though, I’ve got a bit of that foreboding Sunday feeling back.  It’s not even that I have so terribly much to do–two stacks of papers to plough through, but both are sets of revisions that should require relatively minimal comments from me.  One is really just half a stack, and the half I’ve graded already have been gratifying–I find myself writing things like “This paper benefits greatly from the clearer, stronger thesis you’ve developed!” I have to pay some bills, write an email response to a student’s draft, and keep the laundry moving, and we all need to put in some tidying-up time because we’re having a family Chanukah dinner here on Thursday.  (Because of my last Terrible Tuesday, I will not be home for the first night of Chanukah.  Sniff.)  I’ve already tidied up the guest room, and it looks great. 

This is a good day for using the rotation method I saw described on Ancrene Wiseass‘s blog some months ago.  It’s from a book called Help Yourself Get Everything Done, by Mark Foster, and AW describes it like this:

Essentially, you make up a list of the most urgent tasks you need to complete and then work your way through the list as many times as you need to as many times as you can with the time you have. On the first rotation, you spend 10 minutes on per task, on the second rotation you spend 20 minutes per task, and on the third rotation you spend 30 minutes per task. This ensures that you spend at least a little bit of time on everything and don’t get too bogged down to see the big picture.

I have used this before, with the addition of the scheduled-in breaks that I find so motivating (“grade seven papers and you can spend fifteen minutes writing a blog post!”), and really like it.  It works especially well if I’m absolutely foaming with anxiety and having trouble settling down to one task because of the awareness of all the other ones nipping at my heels like the demons in the Mountains of Ignorance.  In fact, it’s been working so well today that I am posting this rather late, since I’ve written it during scheduled breaks.  There’s still plenty to do, but it’s getting done, and I am calmer than I was.  And my sister and niece are here, hanging out; we ate lunch together, and they’re taking a walk right now, and by the time Stubb and the Snork Maiden come back from the end-of-season soccer party, I should have gotten enough accomplished to go out and run a couple of errands with my sister, the baby, and the Snork Maiden, and give Stubb some time to himself.  Eyeballing what’s left, I can tell that I’m probably still going to end up getting up early tomorrow morning to grade the last ten papers or so, but that’s OK.  I don’t feel absolutely drowned, as I have felt most of this term, and that helps a lot.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] coverage!  I used the rotation method (via Ancrene Wiseass, described over two years ago in this post) to get rolling, and ran through two rotations of NLNRU/SA/Other Professional Project, 15 minutes […]


  2. […] seems to help is a version of the rotation method I learned from Ancrene Wisse and wrote about here.  Only I’ve added a sort of macro level to it: I’ll spend half the day at SA and only […]


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