I thought I was going to blog the first semester on the tenure track, but I was too busy to eat!or sleep! or be human, really! Adjusting to a new institution and two new course preps plus too much service, it was all I could do to even pretend to have a research agenda. I did give a research talk this fall, get invited to be on a panel in spring, and spend some time working on a paper that I'm planning to submit before classes start up again. Lots of people make this job look easy, but it is far, far more challenging than I expected. I'm sure that a lot of this has to do with the first-ness of it all, and I have been convinced by my colleagues that things will get exponentially easier as I learn the ropes.
What seems to have contributed most to my challenges was my running entirely on adrenaline, which makes everything more challenging, even when it isn't. I have discovered (a bit too late) that it also has the most unwanted side-effect of body totally crashing when the semester is over with no hope of budging because one just physically cannot.do.anything. If I can work on staying out of that adrenaline-fueled-mode next semester, and avoid the consequent crash, things have a chance to be even better. If adrenaline-fueled frenzies carve up time by clouding one's judgement in situations that wouldn't be so challenging otherwise, then time is multiplied by certain kinds of activities, activities which need to be identified and increased.
As you can see, I've been made acutely aware of the importance of time, and as I turn the corner from 2012 to 2013, I know things will change for me in how I view and spend my time. I used to think that blogging was mostly a waste of time. I enjoyed it, but it didn't fit into a busy semester, it was one of the first "luxuries" of my time to go when things got too busy. But now that I've been away from it for so long, I find that blogging is more of a neccesity for me than I had realized. I'd go so far as to say that I'm a better person when I blog, certainly more reflective and thoughtful. No matter how busy one is, time for reflection is surely as vital as breathing. Knitting is another such activity, it smoothes out my thinking in a similar way. I find a sort of refuge in knitting, it is like going into a virtual woman-cave, and when I come out of it, I feel like I can handle things better, no matter what they may be. 2013 will include more time-multiplier activities like practicing piano, going for walks, yoga, meditating, cooking and cultivating friendships.
What about you? What are your time-multipliers? How do you ensure they remain on your schedule, especially when things get busy?