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Fall Break, Two Thousand and Sixteen, Common Era

Fall break. It’s aptly named. When things fall, they often break.

Usually, I plan to use fall break to catch up on the enormous amount of work that has built up over the first half of fall semester. Unfortunately, by the end of fall break I usually find that I still have an enormous amount of work left to do.

This fall break was supposed to be different. This year, I’d promised Michelle that I wouldn’t work during fall beak. I even cancelled my registration for the Grace Hopper Celebration so that we’d have time with Michelle. We even made vague plans to get out of town together.

I did get out of town with Michelle for a day and a night in Des Moines, which was nice. Of course, I did need to do some work during that day and night, mostly getting my online class ready. (Yeah, the week before fall break is hard for faculty, too.) I also had made some plans for things I might/should do: straighten my home office (which makes my work office look organized), think about two upcoming grant proposals, maybe catch up on a little grading. But almost everything was optional.

What did I end up doing?

I slept.

I slept some more.

I read a bit. I wish I’d read more.

I tried to straighten my home office. I failed. I did, however, make a bit of progress in the family room. Unfortunately, that progress is rapidly coming undone.

I watched TV with my family. (Mostly Luke Cage, plus whatever else the kids decided to turn on.)

I ignored (or at least set aside) a lot of administrative email. (And yes, I count some email from students among my administrative email.)

I listened to an NSF Webinar related to one of my grants. I decided to skip the next two Webinars, which I think I can watch later.

I did a small research project in the archives on end-of-course evaluations and then sent some followup email. (Don’t ask.)

I attended a dinner and concert with some great friends.

Finally, on the last day of break, I got sick and spent most of the day asleep in bed.

So, I did what I was supposed to do … I took a break.

Now break is over, and I’m paying the price. I still have all the work that I had at the end of week seven. I have about a dozen new tasks that developed over break. My home office is still a pit. I have lots of students coming to see me because I wasn’t available last week, or because they weren’t here last week, or both. Our visiting professor is in town, and I need to spend some time with her. We have our second year session tomorrow. (I guess that should have been my essay.) Yeah, the ducks are back, and they’ve brought a whole bunch of ducklings with them.

You know what? Even if I’d tried to get work done during break, I would probably be in a similar situation. (That’s true, historically.) So, I’m glad I took a real break. I hope you were able to, too.

Version 1.0 of 2016-10-23.