(Subtitle: If you've seen my brain, could you please return it to me? Thanks!)
After returning from the last conference, I decided to give myself a little break from work. I originally thought that after a couple of weeks, I'd be reenergized and ready to spend a few hours a week on my work again---mostly research, with a bit of teaching related stuff.
That hasn't happened yet. I'm finding I have zero motivation to get any work done.
I've been thinking about possible causes for this professional malaise, and here are my current theories:
1. It's back-to-school time. The blogosphere, my friends, and my colleagues all have the start of classes on the brain. I'm not teaching this fall. And oddly, I am missing the last-minute scramble and the anticipation of a new set of classes and getting to know a new bunch of students. And this is translating into me not wanting to work, because I feel disconnected from the rhythms of my job.
2. I spend so much time and energy just trying to get through the day, working in "now" mode: Comfort the baby. Feed the baby. Entertain the baby. Clean up that mess. Do Yet Another Load of G*ddammned Laundry. When I do have a free moment, it's hard for my brain to immediately switch to "smart" mode, let alone remember what the hell I was working on a few months ago. It's easier to blow off work and save myself the trouble of thinking. And this is making me feel disconnected from the work that has defined me for so long.
3. I am anxious to return to work in the abstract, but have mixed feelings about returning to my current position (still). (Which reminds me, I should probably finish that series I started a few months ago, "To Stay Or Go", since I only got to Parts 1 and 2. Look for more posts on that in the future.) And this is making me feel disconnected about my place in the world---I don't want to be a stay-at-home parent, I want to continue being a professor, but I'm not sure if I want to be a professor at my current institution, so where does that leave me exactly?
I'm hoping that just sitting down and getting some work done will be enough to get me out of this slump. I know that if I really tried, I could squeeze out a few hours of work this week, and Mr. Jane has already said he'd support me however he could. It's just a matter of commitment, I guess. (But will that help with the disconnected feelings? I'm less sure about that.)