It's that time of year: end of semester grading, student award ceremonies, the last meeting of every committee, etc., etc., etc.
This is the time, for me, that my daily practices unravel. Goodbye, writing! Goodbye, yoga! Hello final papers! Hello end-of-year reports!
Unfortunately for me and for the beings I live with, I get very grouchy when I don't get to write or move my body, as has been the case this week (see the entry on how saying yes ends up meaning no: http://www.katherinefusco.com/1/post/2014/04/how-saying-yes-ends-up-meaning-no.html ).
I find myself reminded of the Zen saying "You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day. Unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour." It's hard right now to think about how to make this work, but I see the necessity here. It is at the times in the year that I feel most time-crunched and unable to do my daily writing and yoga that I most need those practices.
And my hunch is that the typical academics solution of getting up early or staying up late to squeeze more in is not the best strategy. Instead, I think the idea of letting some other commitments go or letting some other things be just okay, rather than great (performance at a committee meeting, the final class meetings, the cleanliness of the house) may be where the gains are.
It's interesting (and troubling!) that what ends up getting squeezed out at this time of year are the daily practices that are the most important (for career, for health) and the most balancing.
This is not to say that we're likely to have our best writing sessions or most intense physical practices at this time of the year, but that there's something to be said for taking back a little time from the end of semester monster so that we don't totally lose it.*
*(For me, this means 30 minutes of home yoga today and going directly from home to meeting, as opposed to going in ahead of the meeting and dinking around in my office; then, I plan to take 30 minutes of the time in which I'd normally overplan classes and give 3 that to article revisions)
Get a Life, PhD
The Professor is In
The Thesis Whisperer
Tenure, She Wrote