Friday, January 15, 2010

Saying no: good or bad?

Today, the page proofs for my book arrived.

It's very cool to see your book all laid out and looking like a book, for real, with page numbers and fancy chapter title fonts and everything. But it also represents another boatload of work to do in a very short time period. I'm going to blog the process as much as I possibly can, but I just want to mention that page proofs and indexing are two things that I need to do by the end of the month, along with:
  • read books related to a grad student exam
  • read and grade said exam
  • read and comment on a colleague's draft of her book introduction
  • read a recently-published monograph and write a book review
  • prepare a work plan for research trip
  • clean and organize office in preparation for trip
  • do taxes
I was also supposed to write a draft of a paper for Kalamazoo, but that's just not gonna happen.

So, here's the deal: I'm saying no. No more committees. No more last-minute meetings with students. No more dinner parties. I'm not happy about this, because it seems like I'm starting off my year already breaking my resolution to find more balance between my work and my life. But what can I do?


squadratomagico said...

Balance can also be found in not over-committing yourself. I've found that I'm much less stressed, more focused, and feel more balanced and harmonious generally if I have a manageable level of obligations. So, for now balance might mean "manageability;" after the proofs are off, maybe it will mean "diversifying."

In other words: say no, and forego guilt.

heu mihi said...

I agree with sq. Also, can you do your taxes on February 1?

Dr. S said...

I too agree with squadratomagico: achieving "balance" might for now mean cleaning up what's left to do before the research trip, and imagining how you're going to apportion your space and time when those things are cleaned up. And what I've found about committees (which I'm admittedly not good at not joining...) is that people seem to respect others' abilities to say no. I think it's because everybody wants to be able to say no but not everybody can. Or something.

Dr. S said...

And instead of dinner parties, can you have quick one-on-one dinners with people you want to see before you leave for the trip?

Bookbag said...

I second squadratomagico. Sometimes saying no is necessary to maintain balance, so no need to feel guilty.

Congrats on seeing your page proofs! That must be very exciting.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

argh. I need to start doing that. But I need to start saying no to things that distract me from being unhappy, but lead to more stress...

I second doing the taxes later -- you have till April, don't you?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Thanks, all. This makes me feel slightly less stressed out. I especially like Sq's "manageability" vs. "diversifying" thing.

And taxes... I'm going to do them feb 1 or 2 (if I have the forms) because I'm returning from my research trip *after* April 15th.