Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Break--Having a Plan

This week is my spring break. The kids are in school, Hubby is gone on vacation, and so I have lots of hours in the house to myself. It. Is. Wonderful. But, unfortunately, I cannot just luxuriate in the silence or lie on the floor, staring at the ceiling in relaxed bliss. I can't even curl up on the couch with a book. No, I have stuff to get done, including two (out of three) batches of essays*, several sets of quizzes, and a chapter draft for the dissertation. Plus, there is all manner of housekeeping, gardening, and bill paying to which I should attend.

In order to get said stuff done, I figured I should have a plan, especially for the grading which I really want to ignore but cannot. Here is the basic plan that I came up with last Thursday:

  • Sunday evening: grade all quizzes
  • Monday during the day: grade paper revisions 
  • Each day, M-F: grade five essays from batch one during the day, and grade two essays from batch two each evening after the kids go to bed
  • Sunday at the end of break: the remainder

  • Do a lot each day

How has it been going, you ask? Well, it's Tuesday afternoon, and I have graded all of the quizzes but only two essays. Out of about 45 or 50. (Wow, typing those numbers just spooked me, big time.) And I wouldn't say I've done a lot for the PhD but rather a little, or maybe a medium amount.

What have I been doing instead of grading? Oh, I don't know--taking morning walks with the dog, cleaning out the pantry, tidying my environment, drinking tea, talking to the cat.

But unless I want to be totally screwed on Sunday, I better get busy with the grading. And if I want to have a decent chapter draft by Friday, I need to step up my game on that front, too.

I will happily accept any advice for how to milk this break for all its worth so that it seems both productive and vacation-like (rather than unproductive and not-so vacation-like).

*The third batch will just have to wait until next week.


Pat Bowne said...

I'm a morning person, so I take my grading to a coffee shop and grind through the day's papers over breakfast. It's a double treat - breakfast out and a stress/guilt-free day afterward!

Good luck - I just finished a pile of 'em over easter break, so I know what it's like.

Good Enough Woman said...

That's not a bad idea, Pat! Since I'm home alone during the day this week, I've been staying home instead of hitting the coffee shops. But when I stay home, I get caught up doing the laundry, taking pictures of the pets being cute, etc. Maybe I should pop out for an hour or two and bang out the grading! It's just SO unusual to have the house to myself that sometimes I hate to leave.

JaneB said...

Yup, my advice would definitely involve treats - banging out the marking away from the house might let you enjoy the house more. And maybe take the opportunity to make the place where you work on your PhD really nice, and for YOU - move your favourite chair in there, have a vase of flowers that is normally not kid safe, make a pot of really special tea (maybe take the dog for a walk to a shop to buy the really special tea?) or a fancy coffee with all thr trimmings you don't usually bother with, and tell yourself you're going to luxuriate in doing your research in your own house in peace...

and then the cat will throw up or bring in a mouse, cats being cats.

Anonymous said...

I'm grading right now (actually I'm taking a break because my family resurfaced from being at the pool and is showering). It works best when the family is gone and I'm alone on the couch (far away from the internet) and I give myself rewards after each milestone. Grade a problem, read a book chapter. Rinse, lather, repeat.