I'm not by nature a physical clutterer, although I am definitely a paper piler. But I carry with me a lot of mental clutter brought on by too many projects and too many small- to medium-sized obligations. In the coming months, I'm going to be assessing, sometimes in this space and sometimes privately, how important these obligations remain to me, and then I'm going to shed as many of them as possible.
A major problem: I'm spending way too much time on my computer. The reasons for this have included:
The dissertation: But no more! Ha! Until I need to transform it into a book proposal, it won't be appearing on my Mac's desktop.
Job application season: Jobs to find,
Teaching: My students blogged this quarter. I wasn't nearly as good as I had intended to be about keeping up with all their posts. Fortunately, my reader was able to take up that responsibility for me. And of course, ongoing planning for fall and winter quarter classes will keep me at my desk quite a bit.
BlogHer: My responsibilities for BlogHer are weighing on me. I believe very strongly in the BlogHer mission, but my beat requires me to follow about 250 academic bloghers' RSS feeds, as well as keep the Research & Academia blogroll updated. I haven't been nearly as good an editor as I should be, and I'm vowing to redouble (literally) my posting to the site. Still, that's a lot of Bloglines time, and it feels overwhelming. Definite mental clutter.
Another blog thing: I've also applied to be a blogger for another channel, and my application was accepted. I'm not supposed to announce it yet, and it's nothing big, really, but it's a nice freelancing opportunity.
MuseumBlogging.com: Although I haven't posted to it for awhile because the dissertation was a priority, this pet project means a lot to me, so I'd like to keep it up.
In addition, the dissertation interrupted one hobby of mine, model horse collecting and customizing (strange but true!), that has allowed me to meet many interesting people and that has inspired my next book project. I'd like to start playing with the little horsies again, as well as engage more meaningfully with the large community of model horse folks.
I also would like to write more, in an academic sense, about scrapbooking, but my interest in the actual scrapbooking has waned. Which kind of sucks because in my short run at scrapbooking, I managed to accrue a lot of supplies. Perhaps once the job search season is over, I'll feel more inclined to reopen the albums.
Finally, there's other crafty goodness. First, my friend Innisfree has been kind enough to teach me how to knit, and she promises to show me how to purl as well. I'm starting out with a simple scarf knitted from a single type of fiber, yet I'm managing to mess it up pretty damn well (no fault of Innisfree's, I assure you--this mess is entirely trillwing's). Second, I bought a sewing machine a few months back, and I'd really like to learn to use it and make a few simple crafty things, maybe some plush animals for Lucas.
So, to summarize: Four blogs, four hobbies, four courses to teach this year, several dozen job applications, a dissertation to revise into a book, a journal article that has been in revise & resubmit limbo for way too long, and, oh yes, those little things known as marriage and motherhood.
Obviously, I have too many commitments. I need to simplify, as the mental clutter has quickly expanded into physical disarray: a messy desk and an office piled with paper and boxes, rooms that don't get nearly the housekeeping attention they deserve, a laundry crisis every couple of weeks.
I have a pretty objective perspective on all this stuff, and it's clear to me what needs to go, but I'm not yet ready to give it up, as I do enjoy a lot of it. Still, my goals are simple. By the end of this coming school year (June 2007), I want to:
- have more time for Lucas and Mr. Trillwing. This is of paramount importance.
- have a job. I'm hoping it will be academic in nature. My second choice is either a museum management-level position or a combination of freelance writing and museum consulting that lets me be a WAHM.
- be well on the way to academic publication. I haven't emphasized this aspect of my nascent academic career nearly enough.
- pare myself down to two hobbies, plus blogging. And get the damn blogging under control.
Anyhow, while not the most interesting of posts, this has been a good exercise for me in clarifying what I want to accomplish. I've started this evening with a major apartment cleaning that I'll continue in odd hours throughout this already busy week. It already feels cleaner, and that helps me be less scatter-brained.
What about you? What are your plans for the next 9-12 months?