Friday, May 9, 2014

Starting off with the most important thing

My favorite WC Fields quote goes something like, start every day off with a smile, and get it over with. Words to live by. 

But more seriously, I have done best in my life when I put my greatest priority first thing on the morning, when I had most energy and least likeliness of procrastinating. I made my best progress on my dissertation when I put in a morning session, and I can power through more grading early with coffee than late and with grumpiness. And, alas, if I blog in the morning, that might be the only thing I accomplish that day.

So I am thinking hard about next year's schedule, which we are finalizing right now based on this year's. I teach every morning at 9, which has its advantages, not least of which is that I remember to come in on time. But I often have to get up early to have the energy to finish the last of the grading, and I am not able to prioritize any sort of workout --- I haven't done yoga or even stretched for months. This is bad. I already struggle with my weight and my love of food and my habit of eating while bored or while grading, plus I am always smunched up in a chair. But I can't get myself to bed early enough to get up early enough to do a workout and a shower and still make it to school on time. And if I don't force myself to exercise then, when will I? It is not exactly like I love it. 

I had a year where I taught every day at 10 and was magically able to do yoga and/or jump rope 3 times a week. And that was the weird magical time when I somehow managed to comment on about half of the homework paragraphs during each class, which I think also really helped free up some time. But I digress from my point, which is hardly a point at all except that I really only have the willpower to do one annoying thing after the indignity of having to get up. I would like to take better care of myself, but I mostly like the teaching aspect of my current schedule. Hmm. I will probably go along with inertia and make the decision through inaction ---- which is pretty much the point of this whole post.


Belle said...

Try a standing desk. It completely changed my day - I got rid of the achy necks and headaches from smunching in my chair, and I was barely aware I was standing up. It also made me far less tired (oddly, I think), and the likelihood of putting my head down went to zero.

And getting up early - like you I find I do my best early in the morning.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I'm just like you: I can do one thing really well first off in the morning, but the other things? Not so great after 10 a.m. Morning classes kill that for me.

You know what I've started doing when I can? I've switched my yoga to the end of the day. I go to 6 p.m. classes, and make those sort of my portal between my "work time" and "my own time." This means I get nothing productive done in the evenings. But when I'm honest with myself, I realize that my evening productivity was nearly nil anyway. Maybe this might work for you, too?

Earnest English said...

It's funny - I've been looking at a website called zenhabits and he talks about setting up no more than three MITs, Most Important Tasks/Things, each day. I tried it on Thursday and Friday, especially his idea that you should try to do at least one in the morning, like you, and it feels GREAT to have gotten something important done early on. I'm not a morning person, though, so what it is better not have to do with being articulate or outgoing, because I can't do either of those. But the overlap is amazing.

Lovely to read you again, my friend!

Sisyphus said...

ERNIE!!!!! You're Alive! Good to hear from you.

Yeah, my problem is, if I try to do a workout in the morning but get up late enough that I am worried about finishing and showering and making it to school on time, I give up about halfway through or just don't do it. Similarly, I don't really like to do workouts --- so if I put them off to the evening I am even *more* likely to make up an excuse about being too tired or having a bit of a headache or being too hungry etc etc. But other than that, I really like my teaching schedule, so I don't want to move the classes later.