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Too much to do (#997)

Topics/tags: Overcommitment

I spent most of yesterday AFK [1]. On the few occasions in which I had a bit of free time, I tried to use my so-called smartphone to catch up on my email. Along the way, I made a list of things I needed to do when I got back to town. I think I came up with 45 or so tasks, most of which will take between five and fifteen minutes. Of course, that’s not all I have to do. I also listed ten tasks for the weekend, each of which will likely require an hour or more. I wrote them down in the notebook I usually carry with me; if I’d been more sensible, I would have recorded them in Todoist. However, restart use of Todoist is enough of a complicated task that I’m leaving it for this weekend. And you know what? I didn’t even list the homework I have to do for Justin and Ralph. There are times that I very much empathize with Grinnell students.

I had hoped to check off some tasks in the afternoon or evening. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back until 9:00 p.m. or so. While that may be early for some folks, it’s late enough for me that I accomplished none of them. It didn’t help that I’d gotten up at before 6:00 a.m. I did manage to write a musing, which I suppose should make me proud.

Come Friday morning, I got into work at 7:45 a.m. and started to prioritize. Here’s the order in which I did things once I got to work [2].

First, I tried to fix the e key on my laptop’s keyboard. It hasn’t been functioning well. It wasn’t letting me type. I did the obvious thing, at least in my world, which is to pry off the key and see what I can figure out. It’s an old scissor switch. I tried to figure it out, cleaned things up a bit, and pushed it back into place. It’s was not perfect, but it seemed better.

Then I met with a student who was scheduled at 8:00 a.m.

After that, I started this musing. That probably wasn’t the best use of my time.

I thought it would be good to drop a note to my Division Chair and primary EC rep about my frustrations with the lack of announcement about the temporary closure of SHIC [3]. I think the College had some reasons to need to change how SHIC operates, but I would have preferred to learn via an official message, rather than via Facebook. And, because I’m a buttinski, I wanted to make sure that appropriate resources continued to be available. We did get an explanation in the afternoon; I wish we had gotten that first.

I received a note from CTLA [4] indicating that because of the weather [5], we had some cancellations for the Faculty/Staff lunch and we could try to recruit more people to come in their place. I posted a message to Facebook. I was going to say that I have no idea whether or not it had any effect, but I see that one of my favorite colleagues was not on the original list and was at the lunch. Yay!

I went through email from my department that I could not read the prior day. Why couldn’t I read it? Because most of my department encrypts email using PGP [6] and I can’t [7] read encrypted email on my phone.

Somewhere along the way while I was doing all of that, I answered a variety of short email messages that arrived.

I also cursed that my e key fix failed. That is, it was back to working intermittently rather than consistently, which meant that I had to watch the screen to see whether or not it worked.

I’d received a request from this year’s SIGCSE Student Volunteer Wranglers to provide some documents from past years. I dug those up and sent them along. Of course, I also wondered why they were continuing to use the creaky old SV coordination software when the Conference Chairs and the SIGCSE Board decided that we should get rid of it. One of the reasons that I was comfortable passing on the role of SV Wrangler was that I was told no one else would have to figure out the system. Perhaps it’s time for SIGCSE to invest in the necessary rewrite.

I had a 10:00 a.m. meeting at the Green Creepy-Face Credit Union to learn about setting up accounts for political campaigns. It was planned as a meeting to set up an account, but I assumed that we’d need to learn some more before doing so. Before heading over, I re-checked the information that I had received and had previously skimmed.

On the way out, I met with colleagues in AIR to discuss today’s Faculty/Staff Friday. I really appreciate having the AIR folks around.

I visited GCFCU at the scheduled time to discuss the account. I was correct; we needed an EIN [8], Articles of Incorporation [9], minutes of the Meeting approving the use of GCFCU as our financial institution [10], and a few other things.

I got to walk back through the snow. Admittedly, I walked to the GCFCU in the snow, too. I need to find my boots. Once I returned to my office, I decided to log what I’d done in the morning. I quickly realized that Green Creepy-Face Credit Union has a lot of es in it. Here’s what I wrote [11] next. I’ve intentionally kept it in my not-so-grammatical form.

Curse my keyboard. Try to set up Bluetooth keyboard. Realize that it won’t fit with the trackpad [14]. Curse some more. Pound on e key until it works, more or less. Consider dropping note to ITS to find out when the new MacBook arrives. Note that they’ve told me that they ordered it already and decide that a message would just waste their time.

I then emailed the candidate to summarize my meeting with GCFCU.

There were a few short email messages to send on my list. What list? The list of 45 things to do that I mentioned at the start. I sent some of them.

Then I went over to the JRC to prepare for the Faculty/Staff Friday. Because some colleagues have been posting about more sustainable behavior, I brought my own plate, bowl, silverware, and napkin. Because I am unable to free myself from some habits I developed in graduate school, I also brought a bunch of reusable containers for people to use to take leftovers. I also brought pens and note cards. A co-leader brought placards and markers.

There were a few minutes of downtime, so I used those to take some notes on musings I had thought about on the way over.

And that was my morning.

I’m not quite sure what I got done in the afternoon, other than catching up on some email and dealing once again with my e key. In the end, it broke completely. I found my official Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, which fits nicely over the MacBook keyboard. However, it was out of batteries. My Apple Extended Keyboard didn’t fit nearly as well and required a USB port but at least it let me type. Once I got home, I put new batteries in the Bluetooth Keyboard. The e key works. Unfortunately, the space bar doesn’t work consistently. And it doesn’t always let me tab between applications. It’s not my day. I hope I get my new laptop soon, or at least that I learn how to make keyboards work.

[1] That’s Away from Keyboard, for those who don’t speak the same acronyms that I do.

[2] Before going to work, I washed out about twenty plastic containers to bring to Faculty/Staff Friday.

[3] Sexual Health Information Center.

[4] The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.

[5] Lots of snow.

[6] Pretty Good Privacy, or something like that.

[7] Or won’t.

[8] I should have known that.

[9] Those aren’t supposed to be my responsibility.

[10] There’s no committee. Right now, it’s just the candidate and me. I guess I need to meet with myself, unless the candidate has appointed a campaign chair.

[11] Typed [12].

[12] More accurately, attempted to type.

[14] That is, the keyboard sat over my trackpad, making it unusable.

[15] Some habits developed in graduated school never go away.

Version 1.0 of 2020-01-24 .