Friday, June 16, 2017

Spring Fever

(or I think I need a vacation)

Its been really hard for me to focus at work lately. I'm writing this now as I obsessively check my phone for texts from G, who is at urgent care with L, to see if his arm is broken  after a fall off the monkey bars last night. So today's version of scatter-brain has a good reason. (UPDATE: its not broken, I still don't want to work)

But for the past few weeks its been a daily struggle. Every morning its that "ugh, I have to go to work now" feeling. Which isn't unusual, mornings are kind of like that. Typically, though, I arrive and dive right in, immersed and productive, until I'm dragged back ashore by my "leave to pick up B" phone alert. These days its like pulling teeth---forcing myself to get through tasks, frequently finding myself daydreaming, or doing completely non-work-related things like planning vacations, shopping, looking up recipes. I'm doing what I absolutely need to do, but I'm hating every minute of it.

I'm not falling into that amazing phase of "flow", where my brain  finds its rhythm and happily runs along, writing/thinking/researching/analyzing and the time just slips away. This is what I love about academia, the reason I put up with all the associated stress. Without it, I question my whole career.

It has been beautiful outside, particularly on the weekdays. I want to enjoy it. I have good books to read, I want to get back to them. I've been wanting to go shopping, to actual stores. I haven't actually had more than one day off from work since the holidays. We usually take a week off in May or June, and I typically go to a spring conference, that I'm skipping this year. So I probably DO need a vacation, or at least a stay-cation, though I don't have spare vacation days and I really really need to get some papers written before our trip in August.

I'm going to try taking my laptop to a coffee shop on campus later today. Or put my head phones on and listen to background noise or music for a change. I can't keep doing the same thing and excepting different results. I don't want to work, but I want to want to work.


  1. This is what my every IM conversation with #2 on our blog has been like for the past two weeks. (Even after that post where I was like, rah rah I have to work to be happy.) Maybe it's something in the zeitgest. It's not like I even have something compelling that isn't work that I really would rather be doing (I mean, I did have that, but then I kind of finished reading/watching those things when I should have been working and what's left is less compelling). I've been doing a lot of little easily finished tasks (finally got my email down to something manageable, knocked off several referee reports...). But not so much the important work.

    I want to have worked!

  2. When I was in my first real job out of first stint of grad school - and in my early 20s - once a year I would take a 'mental health day' because I would have a day of vacation to burn and was just tired. It made all the difference in my approach to work etc. Nowadays, that seems so self indulgent but even a morning 'off' to not do work, errands, appointments or even organize - but to just 'be' is often really needed. Sneakers