Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Summer Schedule: Selectively Working

by Ann Abbott

Yes, this gazebo is in my back yard.

Yes, this is where I plan to several hours each day. With my laptop. With a pitcher of herbal iced tea. Listening to the birds. With some privacy, while the kids are in just a few steps away in the house. Away from the phone. Alone with my work.

I'm trying to balance work and family; disconnecting from work yet advancing on projects; enjoying my creative process without burning out; keeping my family close while also claiming my own space.

Does this sound anything like your summer? Maybe the particulars are different, but do you also have to manage competing needs? Between wanting to be active and wanting to just still your mind? If you're a mother, do you want your kids to have fun yet refuse to turn yourself into a taxi driver and money machine?

Summers are a little complicated.

I hope that by limiting my summer goals, I can both accomplish something and revive my spirit.

Online course development

I am designing the fully online third-semester Spanish course. I'm excited! I plan to blog about that process, so I'll fill you in on the details as I go along.

Personal, entrepreneurial project

For some time now, I have wanted to add a "services" page to this blog and offer my consulting services. I'd like to help organizations, especially small/medium businesses and nonprofit organizations, better reach and serve Spanish speakers. That might be through bilingual social media marketing--something I teach in my Business Spanish course. Or it might be consulting on services and programs to ensure that they are linguistically- and culturally-appropriate.

And since I have a tendency to go overboard...I also really want to start a second blog. In fact, I already bought the domain name and hope to launch it this summer. It would give advice about college--from getting in, to succeeding in college, through transitioning out to the professional world. Now that I've given away my secret, I think I'll have to actually follow through... Keep me accountable, friends. Please!

Academic writing

Confession: I had a mini identity crisis these past few weeks. Although I've always been non-tenure track, within the past few years I have felt more push to "remember my place." Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I am reading too much into things. And maybe not. So I've been questioning: why maintain a productive research agenda and publication schedule if it's not really "my place"? 

Why? Because, I have decided, I have a lot I want to say. That I want to share. That I think deserves to enter into the scholarly conversation. And I care deeply about the topics. I think they matter. They deserve "a place" within Spanish studies.

So this summer I will write. Not at a break-neck pace. Not feeling external pressures--because there are none. Just slowly, surely, one-hour-a-day, putting my thoughts and insights into writing. I'll write-on-Skype with a good friend for both accountability and encouragement. I'll work towards these goals, but I won't fret if I don't accomplish them all:
  1. Revising and submitting a manuscript to Foreign Language Annals with data from the survey that Rejane conducted with our community service learning students.
  2. Writing and submitting a short piece to The Language Editor about teaching digital literacies through bilingual social media marketing. Due July 1.
  3. Writing and submitting a chapter for the volume related to the LSP conference. Due July 31.
  4. Drafting a short piece for the AAUSC 2017 volume.

Healthy, relaxing meals

I don't want to call it dieting. I don't want to feel restricted. So I'm trying to take an approach that focuses on slow cooking. Slow eating. Enjoyment. We always cook from scratch and include fruits and vegetables, but sometimes I get caught up in tasks and come to the kitchen late, resentful of  the labor of cooking, indecisive about what to cook. Instead, I want to come to the kitchen con calma. To eat con calma. And to clean con calma.

Lots of movement and exercise

I've bumped up my strength training from three times a week to four. I hope to find a power lifting competition and train with a mind towards that. But because I spend so much time on the computer (writing, social media, email, oh my!), I tend to live a rather sedentary life. So I want to walk more. Bike more. 

Family, fun and relaxation

Okay, the kids have been out of a school for a week, and I'm already going a little nuts. And when they do finally begin their activities (though one refuses to join any activities), I think I'm going to find myself negotiating schedules (drop-offs, pick-ups, car swaps) in three different places at once. Frankly, I think Giulia, who is sixteen, should get a scooter for the summer, but I've been out-voted due to safety concerns.

I plan to knock off all work at 3:00. Then we can go to a park, a movie, the pool, the library...wherever we want to go to do something fun. If not, we'll end up spending the whole summer in the house, in the A/C. Which now that I typed that sentence, it actually doesn't sound too bad...

Relaxation. Now that is what I'm really thinking hard about. Let me tell you my ideal scenario: One a month (June, July, August), I would have a three-day weekend all to myself. In a nice hotel. Not very far away. Maybe even here in town. But just by myself. No responsibilities. Nowhere to go. Writing. Daydreaming. Sitting in the jacuzzi. Let's see if I can make that happen...

What about you?

What are your plans? What are your goals for the summer? Do you also have the occasional identity crisis like me? Do you crave time to yourself? Are you carving time out for yourself? I'd love to hear your plans and tips so I know that I'm not in this alone!

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