Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Thirsty: How DO you spend your time?

FreudianQuip (I'm Not Callie!)'s post on her actual day prompts me to wonder how others spend their days.  Here was my day:

8 am children to dentist
9 am children to school; self to campus
9-10 "I'll just look at my email before I start work".  Dig self out an hour later.
10-11:30 preparing for class
11:30-12:50 teaching class
12:50-1:10 fire drill; stand outside in the rain, eating un-reheated pasta from last night's dinner, missing department microwave
1:10-2:10 meeting re: community outreach.  General agreement among those present that the institution claims it wants us to be outreaching all over the place, but until it matches the rhetoric by giving people tenure or merit increments for outreach-like behaviour, not a whole lot of outreach is going to get done.  Discussion of how to mimic outreaching while getting the community to do all the actual work ("in-reaching", perhaps).  Agreed that this would be good, if we could think how to pull it off.
2:10-2:30 hasty class prep for tomorrow.
2:30-4:00 pick kids up from school, take to music store, rent instruments for their band practices this year (HOW much?!), come home.
4:00-5:00 Open Omnifocus todo list.   Holy Crow.  Close Omnifocus todo list.  Answer more email.  Add a few items to todo list.
5:00-9:00.  Make and eat dinner.  Supervise children's homework,  bed preparation, etc.  Decant children into bed.
9:00-11:00.  Look at Omnifocus todo list.  Holy Crow.  Write a reference. I'll have to courier it, damn.  Contemplate working on overdue report for professional organization, overdue response to book referees, dull overdue article, or encyclopedia articles that aren't overdue yet.  Or start on a really attractive new project, which - no.  NO.  Must finish old stuff first.  Sigh.  Work on professional organization report.  Do more prep for next class.  Order textbooks for next term.  Check off a couple of todo list items.
11:00-12:00 am.  Read an article relevant to dull overdue article.  Feel virtuous.
12:00-12:30 a.m. Ready for bed.  Damn, forgot to make children's lunches.  Make lunches.  Bed.

Total time spent on university work - 8.5 hr.  Total time spent constantly on the run - 14.5 hr (7 to 9 pm was pretty relaxing on the whole.) 
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Wow, having kids really adds an extra dimension. I've been married under a year, and the hubs and I are waiting on kids for a few years because we know what a life change it will be (a welcome one, mind you, but, yeah. Huge, right?). Thank goodness I only have his hungry ass to come home to. ; )

    So, since you referenced me (thanks, it's the only citation I'll probably get this year) I figured I ought to revise my sarcastic shit to the truth, like you did. Not that there wasn't sarcastic shit there, too. =) So here goes:

    6:45 - 8am. Wake up, shower, make coffee, make breakfast, hang out with hubby and watch "Bones" whilst I do my hair and makeup.

    8:15 - 9am. Drive to work.

    9am - 9:20. Drive around the f'ing school looking for parking, but not finding any because we have all of four faculty parking spots on campus. Park as far away from my actual building as is humanly possible while still, technically, being on campus, and walk to my office.

    9:30 - 10am. Check e-mail, settle in.

    10am - 11am. Department meeting. Reasonably useful. After listening to Pontificating Penis-Head Dept. Chair tell us all how awesome he is, we make some changes to the Spring schedule, complain about the Dean, and talk about revamping some courses that need it. The old folks resist mightily, but us young'uns will drag them kicking and screaming if need be.

    11am - 12pm. Committee meeting. Read minutes from last committee meeting. Talk about SLOs and PMEs and other abbreviations for things that make me want to swallow hemlock. Talk about when we get to do it again. Real soon, I hope! ... I should be careful what I wish for.

    12 - 1pm. Engage in meaningless blather with a department member I really don't give a rat's ass about, but who is higher up on the food chain than I and won't shut the hell up even though I keep trying to indicate, via not making eye contact, that I have work I'd really like to do.

    1 - 15pm. Scarf down my pasta from last night's dinner. Merely Academic and I apparently have the same chef. ; ) At least I had the microwave handy.

    1:15 - 2pm. Actually work on research! Huzzah!

    2pm - 4pm. Office hours. Try frantically to work on research and prep classes in between the steady stream of students with questions of varying levels of legitimacy.

    4 - 5:30pm. Dean's meeting. Attempt to listen to what he has to say, but frankly don't care. Mostly about... umm... ok, honestly, I already don't remember. That's how important it was.

    5:30 - 6pm. Engage in conversation with colleague I actually do like as we walk back to our building together. Leave each other to our work respectfully when we return. This is how it's done, people.

    6 - 7pm. Frantically grade the last few papers and gather materials for tomorrow's classes.

    7 - 7:45pm. Drive home. Traffic bites.

    7:45 - 8:30pm. Grocery store, dry cleaners.

    8:30 - 9:30pm. Make dinner, chat with hot husband about my non-productive day, have a glass or two of wine, eat dinner.

    9:30pm. Write to my friends at CM and get ready to do it all again tomorrow, except substitute "teaching class" for all of my meetings today.

    NOTE: total time spent doing what I actually wanted to (e.g., grading, research): about 2.5 hours. Just sad, people.

  2. I have a great deal of variation from day to day, because this is essentially about six jobs rolled into one. I'm single, with no family. Here's how today went:

    11:00 a. m. Wake up, eat something, wash.

    12:30 p.m. Arrive at the office via bicycle. Set voicemail and web page to tell students and other faculty that the weather is good enough for an astronomy observing lab tonight. If it hadn't been, we'd meet in the lab classrooms and do an indoor lab.

    1-1:50 p.m. Teach Intro Astronomy for 100 non-majors.

    2-3:15 p.m. Office hours.

    3:15-5:30 p.m. Get ready for lab tonight and for tomorrow's and the next day's classes.

    5:30 p.m. Eat something.

    6 p.m. Leave campus in a university van.

    6:40 p.m. Arrive at the observing site. Be assisted in taking out and setting up the students' telescopes by two TAs, both grad students from the physics department. I've done research with both of them before: one wants to become a professional astronomer, the other wants to go into controlled fusion research.

    7-7:30 p.m. Students start to arrive. Over 100 will be in attendance, with just the three of us instructors.

    7:30 Observing lab formally starts.

    7:30-9 p.m. Help students carry out observing lab. It's a beautiful night, with no Moon and the Milky Way shining brightly.

    9 p.m. Put away telescopes, helped by the two lab TAs.

    10:30 p.m. Arrive back at the office.

    11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Get remote-controlled telescope observing a target, to generate data to be given to a student. While keeping an eye on the telescope, work on grading papers, as well as getting research papers ready for publication, as well as the illustrations for my new textbook.

    6 a.m. Go home and get some sleep before the 11 a.m. faculty meeting tomorrow. Decline a request for an 8 a.m. curriculum committee meeting the next day: I'd laugh if it weren't as sincere as it is clueless.

  3. sabbatical version:

    midnight-2 am :sleep
    2-2.30 am: feed baby bottle
    2.30-6.30 am: sleep
    6.30-8.00 am: the barely contained chaos that is getting breakfast and school lunches etc ready for 2 kids + 1 baby.
    8-8.30 am: get kids to school + daycare
    8.30: return to bed. sleep until I "naturally wake up"
    10.00-1.30 (depending on how late I stayed up the night before, sometimes it is 4am if I was on a roll with writing): wake up.
    10.30-1.30 until 3pm: read articles online, write in fits and starts on 4-5 different manuscripts in varying stages of completion and coherence, have a coffee and 'lunch' somewhere in there.
    3 pm: shower and shave. I'm pretty rank by now and it can't be ignored anymore.
    3-4 pm: deal with emails accumulated over the day
    4-4.30 pm: clean up kitchen, kids bedrooms and hallway from morning's chaos.
    4.30-5.00 prepare dinner.
    5.00-5.20: spouse comes home with baby, pass off dinner duties, go to get kids
    5.20-6.00: dinner
    6.00-6.30: clean up kitchen
    6.30-8 pm: bath time and bed routine for kids
    8-9 pm or 9-10 pm: watch TV. try to keep this minimal, and from getting sucked into new shows. The Event looks either really lame or really cool. I haven't decided yet.
    8-9, 10-12 or 9-12: back to writing on various manuscripts. a moderate amount of procrasination interspersed involving having a cup of tea, or returning for 2-5 minutes to see what the spouse is watching on tv.
    12 midnight-4am: go to sleep.


  4. I sleep more than you guys. I have to, or I crash the car. So:

    6 AM wake up.
    6-7 plug kid into TV and check e-mail, eat breakfast
    7-8 get kid ready for school
    8-9 answer e-mails
    9-9:15 call hospital, ask about status of terminally ill mother
    9:30-3 at hospital, where I read journal submissions and dissertation chapters, prep class, grade
    3-4 answer e-mails
    4 pick up kid at school
    4:30-5:30 give kid snack, chat, quality time
    5:30 start to make dinner
    6:00 dinner
    6:30-7:30 get kid ready for bed
    7:30-8:30 answer e-mails, finish class prep
    8:30 do my level best to connect with partner
    9:00 collapse in a haze
    10:00 asleep

    On a teaching day, add a 150-mile round trip to school plus 1 office hour, 3 hours of class.

    Missing right now: any research whatsoever, not to mention personal time of any sort, ever. FreudianQuip's 2.5 hours to herself per day sounds like heaven. Kids add an extra dimension; aging/ill parents add a noose.

  5. I primarily teach on MWF (with one Tuesday evening class), so here is a "typical" MWF:

    6 - 6:30 am (depending on how late I stayed up the night before): Wake up
    Wake up - 7:15: get ready for work
    7:15 - 8:00: Sit in traffic trying to get to campus (this varies depending on weather and day of the week, sometimes its shorter, sometimes longer)
    Arrive - 8:45: Answer emails, print attendance, grade anything I need to, general office work
    8:45: go to class
    9:00 - 12:00: Three classes (@ 50 minutes each)
    12:00 - 12:30: Lunch 1/2 hour, usually involving some internetting or chatting with a good friend/colleague down the hall, check CM
    12:30 - 1:30: Office hours (grading, answering emails, more internetting and once in a blue moon meeting with a student)
    1:30 - 1:45: goofing off until I have to leave for class again
    1:45: Drive across campus, search for new parking spot (yeah, I'm a little lazy, and also unwilling to walk all the way across campus to get back to my car to leave; I'd rather just walk across the street and save myself the 10 minutes)
    2:00 - 4:00: two more classes
    4:00 - ?: Sit in traffic to get home. Always worse in the afternoon, but still dependent on weather and day of week
    Arrive home - 6:15: goof around, check CM, check email (but don't respond unless its critical or from a colleague and not a student)
    6:15 - 8:00: Go to gym, workout, drive home from gym
    8:00 - 9:00 to 9:30: make and eat dinner with hubby
    9:30 - 10:30: Grade if I absolutely have to, but usually watch TV and engage in non-work stuff (currently cross stitching Christmas presents and Christmas tree ornaments, cause its cheaper than buying stuff and I'm an adjunct, and more personal)
    10:30: fall asleep on the couch, miss the last 1/2 hour of a show I really wanted to see the end of
    11:00: hubby wakes me up, I go to sleep in bed while he watches news.


    Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually the same.

    7:00 - 7:30: Get up and get breakfast

    8:00 - 1:00: grade, answer emails, make lectures, run errands or clean house (usually a combination of all four)
    1:00: eat lunch with hubby
    2:00 - 4:30: more random work (same as 8 - 1)
    4:30: shower, change
    5:30: Tuesdays: leave for three hour evening class (+ 1 hour office hours beforehand)
    Thursdays: pick up MWF schedule at 5:30: grading, gym, dinner, etc. I will also get my clothes ready and pack my bag for the next day so I can sleep in a little. Tuesdays pick up around 9:30 or so with the MWF schedule.

  6. 4 am - wake up check fantasy football.
    5 am - facebook like a mofu.
    6 am - Special K and toast like a mofu.
    7 am - kiss wife and then drive to school.
    7:30 am - lead class discussion on something.
    9:00 am - office hour (more fantasy football, more facebook, and then perezhilton.com!
    10:30 am - lead class discussion on something, but do better jokes in between.
    11:45 am - stop at McDonalds, and chicken snack wrap like a mofu.
    12:30 pm - get home and start smoking Camel Lights like a mofu.
    1 - 5 pm - watch Golf Channel
    5:30 pm - clean up the horrible mess I've made of the house.
    6:00 pm - make pasta for the wife.
    7 - 9:30 pm - watch whatever dancing reality show is on TV like a mofu. (and ice cream.)
    9:45 pm - kiss wife, and then sleep like a mofu.

    that's a teaching day. you don't want to see the other days.

  7. My week varies depending on what city I'm "living" in.

    6:45 Get up and get ready to leave. Declare my love to Crazy Math Spouse (on Wed it's "I love you, I'll miss you, I'll see you Friday).
    7:15 start the drive to work.
    8:30-ish arrive depending on weather, unpack my stuff and frantically gather my stuff for class number 1
    9-3 teach students who hate the class and aren't shy about their feelings. Have office hours intermitantly where I am bombarded by students asking high school level questions which are actually preventing from doing well in my calculus courses
    12-1 warm up last night's dinner (or have a sandwich if I'm staying in town). Go to CM and get slightly dissappointed that there are only 2 new posts. Facebook. Look at non-math forums.
    3 PM pack up to go "home" where ever that is tonight.

    If I stay in town:
    3:30-bedtime workout, make a frozen dinner, talk to Crazy Math Spouse for a few hours, answer student email until 5PM, watch some TV, try to do some research, surf web.

    If I go home:
    5PM arrive home and change my chalky clothes.
    5-6PM CMS and I prepare and eat a meal.
    6-bedtime Spend time with CMS and animals. Talk about how we want to start a family but can't figure out how to make it work with our living situation. Eventually conclude "now isn't the right time" just like the last night and drop the topic for a few days. Watch TV. Shower. Bed.

  8. Well, if I weren't on sabbatical this year, a teaching day would look something like this:

    6:30 Up and at 'em.
    6:45-7:45 Run or Swim.
    8:00-9:00 SSS, eat breakfast, glance at paper.
    9:00-10:00 Walk down the hill to the public transportation of choice, take public transportation. Grade, read, or prep on Public transit.
    10:00-12:30 Arrive at office, check email for disasters, finish prep/write law school rec/read grad student's chapter draft/read fellowship applications for outside grant agency/read tenure materials for junior scholar at another institution, check CM and the like.
    12:30-2:00 Department meeting or someone's workshop or some other committee meeting.
    2:00-3:15 teach lecture class
    3:30-5:00 Office hours. Meet with panicky grad student/weepy undergrad.
    5:00-7:55 Grad seminar.
    8:15-9:15 Take public transpo home. Read paper.
    9:30-10:00 eat dinner
    10:00-11:00 watch a dvd, fall asleep halfway through.

    Non teaching days I don't go to school. I run/swim, work in my study at home, scratch myself, make dinner for Mrs. Archie (we try to schedule our teaching on opposite days so someone is always home to make food).

  9. Working in Afghanistan for my full-time employer version:
    0430-0500: Wake up, shower, shave dress. If you're really lucky, you'll have the communal shower to yourself

    0500-2100: Work (short breaks for meals, picking up laundry and walking to meetings in adjacent buildings). However: every place you could possibly need to go is within 500 feet of where you sleep,

    2100-2230: Try and get a wifi connection and skype home along with every other homesick bastard in the "morale tent".

    2230-0430: Sleep. Ignore the sounds of helicopters, airplanes, and the 15 other miserable bastards coughing, farting and scratching in the tent,

    Repeat for 179 or so days. 10% of them have passed.

  10. 9 am until 3 pm: Give of myself to my students.
    3 pm until 9 pm: Give of myself to Mrs. Yaro.
    9 pm until 9 am: Give of myself to the pillows.

  11. Yaro, I love you.

    Miserable Adjunct, I will never complain about my job again. Well, I will. But I will be ashamed of myself for it.

  12. Dean Suzy's day:

    * Yeah, late day today, I get to sleep until 7am!
    * 9:15-9:55 Deanstuff: sort out furniture problem for adjunct; organize key for new professor; Fix some numbers for the third time; sign some stuff; brush off flake hoping I can get him into a class he needs to graduate
    * 9:55-10:00 Admire new baby of colleague
    * 10:00-11:45 Meet with department X and discuss their goals for this year
    * 11:45-12:00 prepare cheat sheet with questions for oral defense
    * 12:00-1:15 oral defense
    * 1:15-2:00 lunch with Prof. Silverback to discuss visions. Amazing, he is speaking with respect and requesting approval. Pre-deanship I was JAW (just another woman)
    * 2:00-2:30 Deanstuff: sort and sign papers. Contemplate office plant for 5 minutes with door closed
    * 2:30-3:00 drive through traffic to Other Campus
    * 3:00-4:20 Stand in front of the room, smile painted on my face, as a vice president and an administrator are applauded for their life work as they are retiring. Try hard to hide my shock as it is announced that administrator is not really retiring, but being kept on as a consultant. Deans catch each other's eyes and groan.
    * 4:20-5:15 we finally get to have warm champagne and cold coffee. Smalltalk with various administrators.
    * Then hardware store, email ("You have 63 emails!"), 5 minute pickup to find dinner table, attempt adult conversation with resident teenagers, sofa sprawl to watch the game, CM posts, and then get some real work done by 1am.

  13. Tuesdays (which are not like MWF)

    545: Awake to dog barking at Neighbor Dog. Jab Dog fiercely in ribs with foot.
    5:48: Relent, arise, walk Dog while wearing a combination of half-clean rugby clothes, wellingtons, and a sweatshirt from Atom Smasher's alma mater.
    615: Feed Dog, Feed Self
    620-635: Grooming (Self, not Dog)
    635-745: Drive to Other College Town
    745-930: Class prep and email emergencies.
    930-1045: HUGE lecture class.
    1045-1210: Office hours with hangers-on at the very end.
    1210-1220: Drive across town to other campus location through traffic and find new parking.
    1220-145: Smaller lecture class with Zombie Students
    145-300: Drive home with stop for coffee and gas
    300-430: Grocery pickup, dog walk, email emergencies.
    430-5: Emergency nap.
    515-615: Zumba class
    615-715: Shower + house pick-up.
    715-9ish: Grading, lecture prep, College Misery.
    9-930: Make dinner for self and Atom Smasher.
    930: Post-rugby practice arrival of Atom Smasher.
    933: Mutual consumption of high-protein, low cost meal followed by single malt Scotch. (priorities, priorities.)
    1015: Atom Smasher does fantasy football/baseball/fooseball, Black Dog does class prep.
    1100: To bed.

  14. ps: Atom Smasher and I are barely competent at caring for ourselves, so there are no little Smashers on the horizon at present. One of my friendlier department secretaries once told me that I would be "the kind of mother who just lets her kids play in the street to find out what happens."

    Probably true.

  15. I would be "the kind of mother who just lets her kids play in the street to find out what happens."

    Y'know, that comment is what's wrong with today's students in a nutshell. Our parents didn't hover over us like overprotective hens; we were sent out to play in the street. That's how we learned to do things on our own.

  16. Merely academic:
    I'm blushing. But don't give me too much credit. I asked for the opportunity, and am getting generous compensation for it. It's a grind, but the only thing to fear in my location is being crushed by the weight of multinational bureaucrats.

    I watch the kids my daughter's age go outside the wire with the very real possibility of not coming back. I marvel at their unending willingness to do this, and I feel petty for complaining about a communal bath or long working hours.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.