Thursday, April 07, 2005

Feeling completely overwhelmed

Maybe it's just that time in the term, maybe it's PMS, or maybe I do in fact have an unreasonable amount of work to do. Whatever the reason, I am feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed right now. Not quite to the so-overwhelmed-I'm-paralyzed stage---I'm still working away, but feeling like whatever little progress I'm making is not nearly enough. Something that should have taken me a couple of hours this morning has taken me most of the day (and I'm still not done with it!), which means that nothing that needed to get done this afternoon got done, which means that tonight I have at least 4 hours of work to do, if not more. I have done zero class preparation, I need to hand out two homework assignments tomorrow, I haven't done the reading for one class yet, and on top of everything I'm being observed tomorrow. Oh, and I'm giving a talk, too.

To add to the stress, my research machines are acting up and our IT person can't figure out how to fix them, either. My research students need to use these machines, so this is setting all of us back.

Thursday is supposed to be a day for me to concentrate on my research. But I find what ends up happening is that instead of doing actual work, I'm scrambling to do other stuff that needs to get done, that's only peripherally research related. Like fixing the research machines. Or preparing slides for a talk. Or setting things up so that my research students can do their work (most of which I unfortunately cannot delegate). OK, I guess it's unfair to say this happens every week, but it sure does seem like there's always some little crisis to deal with.

I've tried making lists and crossing things off. I've tried making really short, manageable lists and crossing things off. For every task I finish, 3 more pop up to take its place. I've tried crying (which usually makes me feel better, but not today). I feel like I do nothing but work. I feel like I'm working as hard and as fast as I can, and not making any progress.

I feel like I'm running in place on a treadmill that's going too fast.....and there is no STOP button.

I know that I'm not the only one that feels this way. But I'm sick to death of this feeling. It's days like these that I really hate my job.

1 comment:

Andy said...

I think everyone I know felt that way last week. I spent four hours fixing a project that I pulled out of source control incorrectly so I thought it had lost like three days worth of code. I was re-writing the code for those four hours only to realize later that I'd checked out the wrong version and all the work I'd just redone was really there in the first place. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find out where the bug in one of my thread and mutex structures was only to discover it wan't the structure at all it was how information was being returned from the database to the structure that the threads were sharing. So that basically wasted an entire day in which I made no forward progress on a project that is due for beta next week. I ended up staying really late Thursday and Friday and getting it done but d@mn I would have rather spent that time at home with my kids. Everybody at work it seemed was going through roughly the same thing. It must have been the moon or the tides or something. Hopefully this week goes better for all of us so you can feel like you are getting a handle on things as well.