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Falling Behind

Falling behind

I don’t like falling behind. Most of the time, I’m very organized and keep all plates spinning. But sometimes, things get derailed. Recently, we were coping with the death of a family member, additional doctor’s appointments, and lots of cardiologist appointments for my cat.

In addition, I wanted to finish a large research report and let a lot slide to the side. I finished the report, just in time to face the mad dash for the end of the semester – grading all projects, organizing additional office hours for questions, grading the final exams, and scanning exams for accreditation purposes (I wish ChatGPT or another AI assistant could do THAT for me, instead of spending an hour painstakingly taking pictures of exam pages, turning these into PDF and then coding the file name to have two representative high scores, mid scores, and low scores). Then, I used the remaining days of the semester to prepare a graduate-level course I will teach for Delft in the Fall. We also had to scramble to the finish to publish the May issue of ACI Avances en Ciencias e Ingenierias.

For over a month, I’ve been hyperfocusing on one thing at a time. Granted, I’ve provided feedback to student thesis drafts, participated in a lot of meetings, and have been trying to keep a number of plates spinning.

Yet, a number of plates have slowed down quite some:

  • I have done only very limited progress on the paper I am writing (as sole author, on a topic I’ve been working on since 2020/2021).
  • My mailbox is a pigsty. 330 emails waiting for a reply. Ugh. I hate being behind on emails. I hate half reading an email and then getting distracted and doing something else because I know it’s such a waste of time – and yet, when I’m most pressed for time, I fall back into old habits.
  • I’m behind with editorial decisions and sending out papers for review (sorry authors).
  • I’m behind on reviewing papers.
  • I haven’t had the time to book a trip that I will be making soon.
  • I’m so behind I don’t even know what I’m behind on… (i.e. what else is festering in my mailbox).
  • There were a number of things I wanted to do for the blog/podcast/PhD Talk in general that I haven’t gotten to.
  • I’ve had very limited time for playing music.
  • I’m accruing sleep debt.
  • We broke the frames of some paintings (in January, I think?) and we haven’t had a chance to take them for repair.
  • There are review copies of some books I haven’t been able to look at.
  • I haven’t had much time to work on some online courses I signed up for.

I’m not desperate though. I know that the end of the semester is always too much, so I’ve learned to accept it and do my best.

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