Idle Hands

One of perks of being in academia is time off. I get a month off over Christmas break. I get three months off during the summer. Yes, I still have some things that I need to do, like prepare for the next semester. Preview text books. Etc. But  without having to go in to the office, meet with students, prepare lectures, go to meetings, ect. In short, I have about two full days of work to do in the period of a month.

This sounds great – in theory. But lemme tell you, all the time in the world and absolutely no responsibilities can be a huge pain in the ass.

I am sitting in my pajamas reading blogs in my bed until 1pm. Then I fix myself a PB&J sandwich and play CityVille while watching Netflix until I get hungry for dinner. Then I’ll go take a shower, wonder what to make for dinner, go buy something to eat. Fix it for BF and I and we’ll sit on the couch doing whatever (movies, TV, videogames, board games) in the evening. In short, I’m doing nothing… All. Day. Long.

Yes, this is a dream…. for about two days. After day three I started getting anxious. After day four I started getting a little crazy. By day five I was turning in to a desperate housewife. I started focusing my thoughts on placating my boredom with shopping (mainly groceries and Christmas gifts). Planning menus and then being angry when my sister or BF didn’t want one of the things I fixed. Focusing on every little thing around the house that needed to be done. Why or WHY did my sister not fold that towel the proper way? In short, I have gone slightly nuts and not like myself in the least. I can totally see how easy it would be for me to fall in to a desperate, depressed housewife with little to no time or effort.

I’ve realized two things:

  1. I  absolutely will have to find myself a job over the summer. I can barely keep myself sane for a week currently, there is no way I’d survive an entire summer.
  2. I need to keep myself busy now. I have quite a few different things I want to work on. So I’ve decided that each day I’m going to give myself a task to do and I can’t “veg” until my task is complete. That way I won’t do the “I’ll put it off till later” routine since I have “all the time in the world.”

So a few ideas of what I need to do each day are as follows:

  • Always make sure to wake up at a reasonable time. 9am at the latest. Also, go to bed before midnight.
  • Each day work on something for one of my classes. Write syllabi, prepare lecture material, prepare online class pages, work on webpage. One of those things a day should take an hour or two of work on the week days.
  • Go running every day with Jack. If it is icy or snowy then go to the gym to run.
  • Read at least 100 pages in a book – I’ve gotten way too far behind in my pleasure reading and I miss it desperately.
  • Don’t turn on the tv or screw around websites until the above are done.

I thought having all of this time off would be awesome, but without the money to go on vacation with my time off, life is very, very boring… and who I become with idle hands is also a little frightening!


8 Responses to Idle Hands

  1. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been being stupid and staying up late, then waking up late. Waking up at a reasonable hour, and getting dressed in clothes I could actually wear outside the house make me a lot more productive.

    And I am very bad at having the computer on. I really need to shut it down, put it away, and get out a book. Maybe I should do that right now! Good luck staying focused! I’m off to try the same!

  2. Red says:

    I have a full-time job to occupy me over winter break, and I feel exactly the same! The first week or so is nice. I’m able to focus on work and get some projects done around the apartment. But after that first week, I am ready to pull my hair out. I’ve decluttered the apartment. I’ve done a ton of cleaning. I’ve prepared for next semester, come up with a debt payment schedule for 2011, come up with a no spending challenge for 2011, written and scheduled blog posts for the next two weeks… I’m running out of things to do here! This is why I’m 110% confident that once I graduate, I will need another job to keep me busy! Good luck staying sane! 🙂

    • SS4BC says:

      At least you’ve gotten stuff done! I still keep looking at my closet and thinking “Hmmm I really should get rid of some clothes” and then go back to the couch and turn on another episode of Nip/Tuck.

  3. TeacHer says:

    Omg, agreed! I have taught summer school every year since I’ve been working and I don’t understand how my co-workers just do NOTHING all summer. I guess it’s different if you have kids to stay home with, but most of my teacher friends just sleep late, go to the pool, and get boozed all summer. I would go insane with nothing to do for all that time!

    My advice would be to go for a job that will help you career-wise if possible. I teach a subject in summer school that I don’t teach during the year, which is something I can add to my resume.

    • SS4BC says:

      Yah, I applied to grade AP exams, which would help break the monotony. I asked to teach a summer class, but it looks like since we’re changing our general education requirements that the class I requested to teach won’t be a GE core anymore.

      The other thing I could do is see if I can work in someone’s lab in the summer. The only problem being I’d have to GO somewhere, which would blow. But still possible. I do want a few weeks off to GO somewhere. I’m thinking of taking a car trip to Florida for a few weeks and going diving (if I can find enough money that is!)

  4. I know exactly how you feel SS4BC and I’m not even in Academia! I think the key is to never stop making to-do lists. I don’t know if you use those during regular working days, but if you do, then, continue making them for the day offs. I find that when I have no schedule, I will go stir crazy. I’ll see that there are things to do, but deliberately will not do them because there are shows to watch, naps to take, and rooms to remake. I didn’t even mean for that rhyme! Anywho, just make a list of things that you’d like to do today and keep doing that everyday. Even if you finish everyting before school picks up again. Start thinking of those things that you never got around to and maybe take a stab at those. Good luck!

  5. Pingback: Summer Plans «

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