Steps to stop being a martyr:

  1. At start of week, write down what needs to be done before next Monday
  2. Prioritise ruthlessly. Absolute necessities get done first. Accept that many things won’t get done. Learn difference between what must be done and what doesn’t really need to be done.
  3. Own research is an absolute necessity, but should get carved into blocks of time that probably don’t coincide with teaching.
  4. Only check email once a day. (Would morning or afternoon be better?)
  5. Learn to be realistic about how much time things actually take.
  6. Prep next Monday’s lecture before Friday or (better still) never teach on Monday mornings.
  7. Never complain about having too much to do. Just say no to new tasks, and ask for help or cancel if there’s not enough time for something to get done.

Does that sounds right? Have I forgotten anything? Will it work?

9 thoughts on “action plan for demartyring self

  1. Lars

    You might also want to make a list of things you are not
    going to get done this week. Keeps them from seeping into your to-do-list in
    over-optimistic moments.

  2. Jill

    Oh, what a wonderful idea! A not-to-do list! Yes!

  3. tormodh

    I need to learn from this post.

    1) Easy. 2) Impossible? 3) Developers (at least) call this Timeboxing (not using more time than planned on a thing, no matter how good/badly/fast/slow/interesting it is/is going. 4) I probably would’ve broken down and done both, plus lunch. :/ 5) Estimate… always multiply by PI, I’ve been told. And with PI again if you are unsure how to do it. 6) 🙂 7) Asking for help is important, but hard. Just remember – if you like to help others, they probably will like to help you, too. Just ask. No harm in that.

    Good luck on this week.

  4. GZombie

    Maybe you should put things from outside your work life on your priorities list, too. Time with family; time to garden; time to cook, eat.

  5. Matthew

    Learning about peopleís very different ways of handling the pressure of work and the stress of being behind has been very interesting. I think the list will work, except number 4 (Only check email once a day), to which is say “ha ñ good luck”. Iíve tried that, many times. I donít know what it is about email that makes us check it all the time, itís like a force. On a busy day I try to check it twice a day, when I get home and late in the evening (but not too late in case I have to take care of something). But on a normal day…well, you know, “Iím just going to…”.

    Recently I tried a new approach to organizing all the things that I have to do. In stead of walking around remembering (or trying to remember) everything or making a never-ending list on a piece of paper, I write things down on post-its (those little yellow notes) and stick them on my desk. It feels so good to throw one away when I’m done, it gives a certain closure to whatever I was doing and it really feels like one less thing to do.

    The concept of “youíre not behind, thatís just how it is” is an interesting one. We always have a long to-do list to look forward to, but is it really just the way it is? Is it a matter of finding the strength to accept it?

  6. Francois Lachance

    How about aiming for being a surviving martyr? “Martyr” is derived from the Latin for “witness”. So the kit bag for a martyr who wants to survive should contain not only the to do list but also the following effects: a timepiece and a schedule. I have been know to pull out a little timer for meetings — helps keep people on track. In a more muted moment, I will unstrap a watch and lay it out on the table and will replace it on my wrist two minutes or so before the end of the meeting. Are your meeting rooms equiped with clocks? A printout of the schedule is also useful to have. It offers a visual reminder of how a day may be blocked out. Very effective to post on the wall beside one’s office. And yes there is a gender dimension to encroachment.

    I am suggesting that the feeling may not disappear with the best of time management. It has a greater chance of disappearing if people approach you as if they value your time. Friday may roll around and you will still be prepping for Monday but feel better because some of the prep was begun Thursday and by the end of the semester the chuncks will fall into place and Fridays will be glorious. Wallow in the martyrdom a little. Just book some time (a tiny weeny block) to do it! *grin*

    Good luck.

  7. […] ltogether. Jill has a fabulous short list focused on being more realistic with her time: an action plan for demartyring self over at jill/txt In a similar vein, Bert at Open Loops is starting a series of ar […]

  8. jill/txt » no nagging undones!

    […] wonderful not to have dozens of loose ends hanging out of my head! I am in love with the not-to-do-list concept. No, not going to worry about that. That’s for next week. Or April. Yay! […]

  9. […] In other news, I finally said no to a project today. I had wanted to submit a proposal to the Feminist Rhetoric Conference, but after thinking it over a bit more, I decided to focus on more pressing matters. It’s not critical that I submit a proposal this year, or even next year. I have time. I can put this on my “not to-do list” for now. (via Donna —– […]

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