Normally once I get through Parents' Weekend, I settle into the comfortable feeling that I've now got the school year firmly under my belt (which is kind of a weird metaphor now that I look at it) and am good to go. Sure, there will be the January/February doldrums, but I'm good to go otherwise.
But not this year. I don't know if it's about being department head and having all kinds of new responsibilities, or advising the newspaper and thus feeling like there's always a deadline looming, or the challenges with D and her short-lived and horrible job experience and the ongoing difficulties from her shoulder dislocation, or the difficulty of starting the year with the whole FGS history drama still going on, or something else altogether. Or maybe all of the above. But for whatever reason, I feel like I have been racing for over two months now and never arriving. Or rather, arriving but then having to immediately race off again somewhere else.
This must change. We're heading into winter, which is always the hardest time of year for me -- low energy and the blues and all of those other wintery things -- and I want some feeling of well-earned rest rather than more racing around.
So yesterday I made up a big calendar for the month of November and wrote everything on it that I'll be doing -- not only meetings and grading but even what I'm teaching in class that day -- and then scheduled in working out (which I've actually been pretty good about doing three times a week despite the hectic fall). I officially dropped out of a fun faculty thing that I have been too busy and stressed to actually be doing, and that felt very good. I'm going to the NCTE conference for the first time ever (not presenting, just attending), and so that takes up a few days on the calendar. I made up a brief "to do" list for the month, just a couple of big things that I want to make sure get done. Plus we're visiting my family for Thanksgiving. And despite all of that, the schedule looks quite do-able, and I now feel on top of things for the first time all year, which is especially good since we're on the trimester system and this is the last month of the fall term.
And then, with that new-found sense that I do actually have a plan, I committed to AcWriMo, the academic version of NaNoWriMo; thanks to Jodi Campbell of Acaderanged for reminding me of this. I have a completely modest goal -- 2000 words on Ch. 4 -- which is do-able even in this hectic end-of-term month.
Plus, I'd like to start a yarn project this evening. Nothing fancy, probably just a baby cap for FGS's annual Caps for Good project. The goal here is mostly to give myself something fun to do that isn't stressful at all, something that doesn't tax the brain in anyway but gives my fingers something to do in the evening.
It seems odd in a way that listing out everything I have to do in November, plus all the things I want to do, doesn't freak me out, but instead it makes me feel more in control. Nothin' like a plan of action!