Apparently I took an unexpected week-long hiatus from blogging. It was not intentional at all. No, the reason behind my lack of blogging is simple: I feel like my life is spinning out of control, in a sense. Not in a horrible, tragic way, just in a work-is-controlling-too-much-of-my-life-and-I'm-still-not-getting-anything-done way. My email has exploded, I have way too many people making too many demands on my time, and even though I'm trying really hard to set boundaries and say no, there are still people who persist and who don't get the hint. Ack!
I find myself walking a fine line between self-preservation and what others might call "bitchy" behavior. I know that the way I'm working right now is not sustainable and not healthy, that something's got to give. But the culture here doesn't appear to reward that--on the contrary, it appears to reward the all-sacrificing person, the "team player", the one who has time to drop everything and respond to someone else's needs. So, for instance, senior faculty will say "protect your time! choose your service tasks wisely!", and then will imply that no, you really can't give up that task, and not that task either, and by the way can you just get X done by tomorrow, please, because if you don't then it won't get done? It's enough to make one want to pull one's hair out, strand by strand. Combine that with the fact that I don't exactly have a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings for my department lately, and you've got a recipe for resentment.
My goal for the summer is to take back my life, both at work and at home. I do pretty well at carving out time for research during the academic year and the summers, but the past few weeks have demonstrated that I need a better way of dealing with email, with other people's demands, with saying no and extricating myself from time-sucking and unfruitful commitments. And I'd really like to make time on a more regular basis for pursuing my other interests--I feel like I spend too many evenings working and not enough rejuvenating myself. This is summer, for crying out loud, and it should be a time for doing less work and spending some time enjoying the supposedly "lighter" schedule. I tend to forget this during the summer, and not take time off, and then start off the year burned out and miserable. This year, I've deliberately NOT scheduled the second half of my summer, so that I will take some time off and/or at the very least reduce the hours I work.
My hope is that I can form enough good habits during the summer to sustain me during the year as well. I'm not sure if it's possible, but what I do know is that if I continue on like this, I will burn out completely, and that's not good or healthy.