When school starts up again after a break, I often find that I need a period to adjust to the rhythms of teaching class, dealing with students, finding precious research time, and juggling service commitments. I feel out of sorts until I can figure it all out. This time around, the adjustment seemed to take an extra long time. But I think I'm finally there.
The odd thing is that I got into my groove during the busiest week of the year thus far. This week and next are truly crazy weeks---my schedule for next week is already booked as full as I care it to be. (Which means I get to practice saying "no". Woo hoo!) Yet I've been more productive this week---many times more so---than during any other week since school started back up. And I feel, if not calm, then at least not completely frazzled. Sure, I've been coming home exhausted (which is not good, I realize), but I don't feel like I need to do more work once I get home. I've been leaving things at the office---and I can do this on some days because I've actually been productive during the day.
I think I'm finally learning how to set realistic goals *for me*. I'm worrying less about what everyone else is doing and trying to concentrate on what *I'm* doing and how that's helping (or not helping) me grow and progress. I'm concentrating on what ultimately counts---research---and what's important to me---some activism stuff---and for the rest, just doing what I need to do to get to the next stage (pass my review). For someone who operates in perfectionist mode all of the time, it's been both a struggle and ultimately freeing.
Let's just hope the momentum continues into next week, and the week after, ...!