Friday, June 05, 2009

Time-wasting and Productivity

I'm somewhat hopeful that the dead silence here and at Anglo-Saxon Aloud is coming to an end. I'm slowly but steadily extricating myself from the gigantic backlog of work and deadlines caused by:

1) the economic crisis causing me to have to spend inordinate amounts of time with spreadsheets, budgets, etc. as well having to reshuffle and reschedule the department's course offerings three times;

2) the unexpected good news that I need to do a new edition of Beowulf and the Critics;

3) my ill-considered decision to assistant-coach two different youth baseball teams (although this is incredibly fun, and I will do it again next year, it has been a huge un-budgeted time-committment);

Before those three things happened I was already scheduled to the hilt, but I would have made all the deadlines, etc. Once number 1 hit, I pretty much had to run as fast as I could to stay in place.

So having finally worked out from under most of my administrative responsibilities (annual reviews, etc.), in the past couple weeks I was able to turn my attention to real work, and it's amazing what you can get accomplished when you have a break from 40-75 emails per day, paperwork and meetings (Oh, how I hate meetings).

In a little more than two weeks I was able to:

Turn my paper from the Bergen conference into a real essay for a forthcoming book. The essay is “‘I am Large, I contain Multitudes’: The Medieval Author in Memetic Terms.”

Do revisions and complete proofing of the course book for the latest course from Recorded Books, The Anglo-Saxon World, which should be out very soon.

Finish identifying all of the "voices" in Tolkien's "Babel of Voices" in "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics."

Write the first large article to come out of our lexomics research: "Lexomic Methods for Analyzing Relationships Among Old English Poems." (it still needs some revisions, but I think we will ship it off to a journal at the end of next week).

Although a couple of those things were "finish," that was a lot of work to get done in a little more than two weeks when I also wrote three annual evaluations. But it as basically easy, because my time wasn't being fragmented by useless meetings and incessant email. Think of how productive we could be if we could find ways to skip all that crap.

Thus you should not expect to see me writing reports or going to meetings. I am now on a crap-skipping crusade.

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