Monday, September 26, 2011

Necessity, hopefully breeding invention.

It's all chaos until I have a system.  Chaos means worry; worry blooms into Crazies.

Wouldn't it be nice if Crazies looked like purple tulips, though?

It took nearly ten years of teaching for me to learn that I need a daily task sheet in order to remember the basics each day. It took near divorce for me to realize that I should have a detailed calendar of my whole week visible in the kitchen, one including what I needed to run, cook, clean, prepare, and do each day. It took seven years of parenting for me to realize that my kids need a daily morning, afternoon and evening checklist or I'll find them playing naked Legos when it's time to leave for school.

All those lists, charts, task sheets and whiteboards are great, though.  My stress level is so much lower than it was just three or four years ago because I don't feel like I have to carry all the worry in my head.

The new worry about my MFA program is less about my ability to do the work--I will make myself do that--and more about my ability to remember to do the work.

Getting things out of my head and onto my Google calendar means I can forget them for a moment.  Checking off a list satisfies my need to accomplish.  I know now that handling my schedule in small doses makes it easier to carry around.  I never look to closely at more than the week at hand.

How then, am I going to manage long-term due dates?  Can creativity fit neatly inside a column or ignite with the beep of a text reminder?  I hope so.  The first thing I'll produce has to be some kind of scheduling system for school, though.  Not having one is overwhelming me.

Efforts toward this end:

I started a notebook for writing ideas.  I'm carrying it around in my purse so I have a place to deposit all the goofy thoughts that come to me about what to write.  Most of my frustration about writing comes on days when I stare at a blank Word document, unable to remember a single thought I ever had.  Since I am thinking, re-thinking and over-thinking ALL THE TIME, it is a waste of productivity to forget it all.  So... new and improved PDawg, now with more writing it down.

Tonight I'm deleting some programs from my DVR-recording list.  I know that having unwatched shows will make me feel like I've got work to do--and I would rather that pressure came from the unwritten story than the guh-gung of another banal TV drama.  Many favorites will stay but I've got to pare it down.  Love for TV shalt not dominate one's free time so as to affect her MFA grades.  11th commandment, right? (Here's how I'm viewing this not as a failure: less TV equals more time to read more good stuff.  WIN.)

I'm going to try to let go of petty/political idiocy about my job.  Easier said than done, but there are plenty of other people willing to take up the mantle of "this isn't okay" to fight the good fight while I focus on Big Girl School.  I have a feeling that just like "now I'm going to practice saying no" this will take a while but be worth it even in small doses.

More focused prep work for teaching.  I have years and years of lesson plans now--no need to reinvent the wheel.  If I can just make sure I'm prepped to use what I already have--that is, no more days like today where I am reading the lesson plan as I am writing the agenda on the board.  (I went back to school with the monkeys tonight for 2 hours to prep the rest of the week.)  Any help I can give myself in the area of not feeling flustered or unprepared will make me feel more at ease (ergo, more able to handle the reading and writing I'm going to face).

I can't shake the feeling that I need some structure in place to help me remember or "see" the work for the MFA.  For now I've got due dates and reminders for school integrated into my Google calendar... I need them somewhere I can see them all together, though.  The trick will be figuring out where and when I do most of the work.  I haven't blocked out my schedule for school time since I don't know what kind of daily commitment I'm facing.  I'm sure once I know it will be easier.  Perhaps I need something on the desktop of my laptop. Who knows.

I'm sure this was the most fascinating post you ever read on a blog.  Thanks for listening to me ramble through it all--that's what I needed tonight.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely one of those who needs a plan. I'm an undergrad college student and I have a little red book I use for assignments. This helps me a lot because even though I enjoy homework most of the time, it is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. :)

    I don't normally stick to the plan, so it's more like guidelines but I have yet to miss a deadline.

    Congratulations on beginning your MFA program!