The face of battle

Do you read Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s posts on writing and productivity on Inside Higher Ed?  Her current post on summer planning is catnip to me.  It’s funny, I’ve been ruminating, not to say perseverating, on the topic of summer work and balance for weeks now, and yet I haven’t really sat down to concoct a real plan, as she recommends setting aside 30-60 minutes to do. 

My summer charts of years past have tended to focus on blocking out the things that had to be done on or around certain dates and on trying to group them so that they left large chunks of time for my own work–but what I didn’t do much of was actually planning what to do with those large chunks of time.  I have never really thought of planning to finish a piece of creative work by breaking it down into tasks, as she recommends, but it is possible to create such a plan.  Even if the plan doesn’t perfectly match the actual process, it might keep me ticking along more steadily. 

Also, I have significant amounts of NLNRU project work this summer, most of which is relatively open-ended: progress needs to be made on several fronts, but there are few items that can just be finished and ticked off; most of these projects will be going on throughout the next academic year, some beyond.  There, too, I think creating task lists will help me progress–and, importantly, see the progress I make. 

Today I’m sitting down to grade exams for about an hour, and then I’ll hit the road to go and spend a little time with a writer who’s very special to me and who has given me scads of good advice in the past.  It’s a long drive–I think I’ll devote some mental time to this as I go, and when I stop during the drive to take a break, I’ll devote 30 minutes to the planning and see if I can get down to the level of individual tasks.  (Because, like so many of us, I love a list.)


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