I’m on sabbatical and that means I get to not teach and instead, immerse myself in research to exercise the other – now probably defunct and atrophied – part of my brain! Now, the only difference I’m finding between a regular semester and a sabbatical semester is I don’t have the welcome luxury of classes and student interaction to break my day up. So these first few days I’ve been doing the following:
- reviewing grants,
- reading student theses (I’ve always hated that term for multiple thesis-es, sounds too much like a forensic scientist’s term for excrement),
- reading research articles on stochastic resonance and image processing – fascinating stuff,
- preparing a grant for resubmission – give us the money already, we have great ideas,
- finishing up a manuscript I’ve been writing since the pre-Cambrian era,
- completing my workload plan and activity report (I did a lot last year and I plan to do a lot next year),
- submitting a new course proposal to university governance – welcome to the exciting life of a academician!
- corralling my kids since this Shakespearean cold streak has resulted in 7 snow days – truly the winter of our discontent. (On a side note, do you know how you can guarantee your place amongst saints – snow days are every working parents’ nightmare, so offer to watch their kids even for a couple of hours and you will receive the kind of goodwill and thanks heretofore reserved only for first responders and the Pope!!)
But since this is a sabbatical semester – huzzah – I get to do all this while sitting on my butt in my pajamas all day, and my only interaction during the day is with the family cat who hates me! It also means that for a short time I get to experience life as a Stay-At-Home-Parent. So, of course, as all stay at home parents will tell you, the laundry is done, the house is spotless, there’s a hot meal on the table every night, and outside pigs are flying and unicorns are grazing as snowballs plan summer vacations in hell!
Being on sabbatical means also that now I have no excuses to not get stuff done – exercise every day, organize my closet, write that freaking paper! But I’m also a serial procrastinator so the combination of having seemingly all day to do something and my inherent need to leave things until the very last minute – ummm, not a good combination.
Just as an example, here’s how it goes with exercise. I have it scheduled in my calendar and both my iPad and iPhone remind me with annoying beeps that it’s time to work out. At this point I start rummaging around for something to wear while I exercise, then I take some time deciding what show to watch while I’m exercising, then I drink a glass of water – s-l-o-w-l-y, then I wait 5 minutes to let that water have its predictable physiological effect. So from the time of the alarm to the time I actually get on the treadmill – if I haven’t psyched myself out of exercising – it’s probably been at least 30-45 minutes…. and time for a mid-morning snack thereby negating any net benefit from the aforementioned exercise.
So procrastination leads to peckishness, and peckishness leads to lethargy, and lethargy – to paraphrase Yoda – just leads to the dark side of the force!