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Logging my time (Week seven of Spring Semester 2018)

Number five in a series.

I realize that almost everyone is bored with this series by now. Nonetheless, I’m going to continue it for a bit longer so that I have a record not only of how I am spending my time, but also my reflections on that time spent. Perhaps I’ll find them useful when I reflect back in a year or five. We’ll start with the data.

wilson  10       0:10   Work on Wilson committee material
tec154  20       0:20   Think about TEC 154, which I'm teaching this week
clean   45       0:45   Straighten my office and/or lab
glimmer 50       0:50   Work on my research
rec     100      1:40   Write letters of recommendation
admin   130      2:10   Administrative paperwork
work    165      2:45   Other kinds of general work
oh      255      4:15   Meet with students in office hours
musing  380      6:20   Write these things
email   460      7:40   Read, write, and respond to email
csc32x  585      9:45   Prepare and teach CSC 321 and CSC 322
csc151  885     14:45   Prepare, teach, and grade CSC 151
dept    990     16:30   Assorted department admin responsibilities

If I total that correctly, that’s about 61 hours of work. There were a lot of extra department meetings and paperwork this past week. One of my favorite parts was writing a last-minute addendum to a request that we’ve had out for four weeks. If I could get rid of the department work, my life would seem almost reasonable.

The week started poorly. Bot Monday and Tuesday were 13-hour days. But the rest of the week got better. I actually worked less than I planned to over the weekend. The dead computer is one reason. But I also had some unexpected [1] family obligations.

It was a week in which I had lots of things I wanted to attend. Let’s see … I made it to two showings of The Little Mermaid [2], an Arlo Guthrie concert, and a Grinnell Singer’s concert in Des Moines where I had the pleasant surprise of hearing Mark Laver accompany the Singers on soprano sax. I also made it to both CS extras and CS table. However, I also missed another choir concert in town [4], a play which involved my students, and both days of Erik Simpson’s Lighting the Page.

My use of the time log has evolved a bit. I’ve been using the time logs to set out the expected parts of my day. For example, I know that I’ll be in class from 8:30 to 10:00 and from 2:00 to 4:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I also know that I’ll be doing some class prep before those classes. But I’ve started to use the time logs as a quick and dirty to do list; I add entries without times and then plan to fill them in later. That approach has not worked perfectly; I’m finding that I copy some of those items from day, to day, to day.

What should I take away from this week? I need to avoid 13-hour days. Some amounts of time spent are fairly consistent; I spent about six hours per week on musing, about six or seven hours per week on email, and about ten hours per week on CSC 32x [5]. Time on CSC 151 seems to vary a lot. Office hours vary a bit, but are generally about half of the available office hour time. Administrative work, on the other hand, varies the most significantly. I suppose that’s to be expected.

This coming week, I’m guest teaching in TEC 154, the Evolution of Technology. We’ll see how that affects my schedule.

I’ll be back in a week with another report. Then it will be spring break, and I’ll plan to take a few weeks off from reflecting on how I’m spending my time. But for now, I plan to report back next week. See you then!

[1] But pleasant.

[2] Youngest Son was a sailor, a water spirit, and master carpenter [3].

[3] Two of those are roles in the play. One reflects his work before the play started.

[4] Knox or something like that.

[5] That number is likely to change as the structure of the course changes for the second half of the semester. I expect some variation as large parts of projects or other assignments come in.

Version 1.0 of 2018-03-12.