This is one of those times I wish there was a 24-hour surveillance camera on me. Not because what I’m doing is so fantastically interesting, but because I’m trying to do what we tell our students to do when they’re working on homework and large projects.
First, it’s chunking large tasks into smaller ones. So, for example, I need to work on updating our library manual. I started by establishing the major categories, like vendors or book processing. Then I guesstimated how long it would take to update those sections and how much I could accomplish in 3-4 hours a day.
Second, I set up a schedule based on that guesstimate. Day one, these sections. Day two, this section. Days three and four, another section. Etc..
Finally, I’m keeping to my timetable. If I start at 7am, I’ll finish between 10 and 11am (yes, I’m an early riser). If what I planned for that day is finished earlier, I’ll start on the next day’s project. However–and this is important–if I don’t finish the task, I don’t keep working until it’s done. I stop.
We’ve had a lot of discussions about homework and the time allotted to it. Because most of our students are overachieving, driven students, they don’t listen to the “this should take you 30min, so stop after that point” instructions. They keep going. And going. If they could see more adults following that same guideline, they might feel comfortable telling their teacher that they could only complete two of five problems, or write one essay response instead of two, knowing that this would not have a negative affect on their grade or the teacher’s impression of them and their work.