Swimming in Circles

I get to the end of today, as with yesterday, as with previous days, and I am not sure at all what it is I have accomplished. It feels like I am swimming in circles in circles in circles in circles and getting nowhere at all.

This isn’t quite true. I can tell you that yesterday I met with my colleagues in Computer Science and gathered intelligence about a course I am teaching and the graduate program I am involved in. It was nice to get an invitation to a party (a social party!) from one person I talked to.

Today I went through training so that I can maintain and create my own university website and have it be integrated into the system the university uses. I put up some content, although not a lot. I ordered a tablet and a back-up drive for my computer, and while doing so I just boggled at the amount of time it took to look over reviews and specs. I even found them for a much lower price, but it turns out we can only order from the one place, so I might as well have not bothered with that. Grump.

I have syllabi started for both courses I am teaching, but neither is finished, and nothing ready for first classes or first assignments.

Swimming. In circles. In circles. In circles.

The trick to getting big amorphous projects done is to break them down into smaller, concrete tasks, and then tackle the smaller, concrete tasks. To figure out a measurable outcome and to aim for that consistently. I know that’s where I’m not succeeding. It would be smarter to spend a half hour either once a week or even every day laying out the “what I want to get done” in small tasks, rather than flailing around at one thing then at another without much of a plan.

It would also be good to turn the social media off so that I cannot get side tracked by “you’ve got mail” or another notification from Facebook. Or turn it aside for a while.

Tomorrow is another day. And one of my favorite quotes is

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.

(by Mary Anne Radmacher)

While I don’t feel all that small, it is still the right thought. I will try again tomorrow.