February 07, 2005

Finding time

When I plan out my semester, I always imagine that I am going to have big chunks of time to devote to my writing. Then at about the third or fourth week of the semester, it occurs to me that I forgot to factor several million annoying tasks in to the equation when I came up with my grand plan for the semester. This week I have been reminded suddenly of one of those tasks: writing letters of recommendation.

I have 16 letters to write tomorrow. Every time I check my e-mail, I get another request from a student. I like these students, I want to help them out, but I hate writing these letters. I resent the time it will take. I also have papers to grade, course stuff to read, classes to prepare for, an administrative report to write, a course proposal to be drafted, e-mails to answer .... and suddenly, the couple of hours of free time I have tomorrow are not nearly long enough to do what needs to be done.

3 comments:

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

Lost writing time is part of my weekly routine, too.

As for the recs, perhaps you can have an upfront two-week minimum turnaround policy, and then you can set aside a "recommendation morning" once every ten days or so. But, don't trust me for my organizational acuity--I just glanced down at my to-do list, which is written under a draft of a short message, which is written under a sign-in sheet for some student activity. Though I cannot decipher everything written in my own hand, I can see that I failed to do four things that need to be done by tomorrow morning, including reading and grading for one of my classes. I think I will try to pull a marathon day tomorrow to try to catch up.

lucyrain said...

A colleague and I set up writing schedules for ourselves at the beginning of the semester. It seemed that I would be able to do two two-hour blocks on MWF, given my teaching schedule. Turns out, I regularly have a full schedule on MWF trying to complete all kinds of bullshit required of me by other people. It's amazing how much work I do for others in order to advance their own careers, while my own lies in the balance that I am incapable of achieving.

Dr. H said...

I have a rec that is hanging over my head. Grrrr... Like you said, don't mind helping out these good students, but they're not easy to write. I don't know that being someone's teacher gives me enough evidence to recommend them for much -- that's part of my problem.

I also relate to the grand plan getting destroyed.