Academic common room
Anyone else really struggling to get back to work?
DinkBoo · 04/01/2022 14:32
I made the 'mistake' of actually taking a proper break over Christmas, after a stupidly hard term, and just cannot get back to work now.
I came in to the office today in the hopes that the change of scenery, and being in the professional setting would help. But nope.
I've checked my emails, done some very basic module admin, but haven't started marking, haven't started work for my new module that begins in 2 weeks, and I was really excited about (I'm not really unorganised btw, short notice, short term, but heavily loaded appointment means I would only ever have had 2 weeks to plan before term started). I've been here since half 9, promised DH the house to himself all day, so I'll be here for a while yet.
I could be setting up my moodle pages as a low brain activity. But I'm not.
The marking needs to be done by the 10th Jan, I'm teaching two modules this term, one totally new and completely unplanned right now, and I have a load more marking coming in in week 1. So why am I staring at the walls/my phone like I have all the time in the world?!
ghislaine · 04/01/2022 15:09
Can you try the pomodoro technique? Set a timer in your phone and do as much of one task eg marking or noodle setup as you can in 25 mins. Break for ten mins and then do another “pomodoro”.
Itchylegs · 04/01/2022 15:13
yes, I totally know the feeling. I just cant gear myself up for any of it. And now the difficult requests for change of status, mode etc are coming in too and I am tired already.
DinkBoo · 04/01/2022 16:08
I should try pomodoro, I've never managed to convince myself to try it, possibly because it always feels too little time to accomplish anything in
I did manage to sort out the weeks of my upcoming module, it looks so much nicer now when switch into student mode. Empty, but nice.
This module and last terms I was convening are being set up on the basis that I can add to moodle, and hide things, but not delete anything (so they can be recovered when I leave) . It makes it a lot harder to set the course up, and navigate the planning than a blank page is.
This is my first year marking online, and I think not having a pile of discrete objects (that aren't yet another thing to do on a screen) is making the task harder. May have to bite the bullet and print then upload feedback.
@Itchylegs I hope motivation and some energy comes your way very soon! It is so odd feeling knackered in spite of a break.
I'm glad I'm not alone.
pawpatrolneedaunion · 09/01/2022 20:07
I've been the same. Very hard to get back to it. I've tried to allocate each day in the week a different task, but then all my teaching gets left to the evening and then I hate my life. I kind of wish I'd never taken a proper break and just worked through, at least I wouldn't have a huge backlog of stuff to wade through.
KittyBurrito · 09/01/2022 20:29
I have this all to look forward to tomorrow. Sending sympathy
DinkBoo · 10/01/2022 10:49
for @pawpatrolneedaunion and @KittyBurrito
Today is the official first Monday, I had planned to get up early, get in and get decently through work. I woke up at 1, and got back to sleep at half 6.
I managed to first draft exam questions for a module today. Still not started my marking... Feels like my brain has just switched off and I can't find the on switch.
I have never struggled like this before in spite of an entire career of precarity and too much work and too much stress, for too little pay, DH (who has been permanent for a long time now) is in a similar slump which is probably not helping both of us.
Itchylegs · 10/01/2022 12:49
Yes, cold in my office, unfocused, hearing lecturer bashing on the radio for being cautious. We are online for 2 weeks because the situation was very unclear at end of term and it was better to plan for it than have to rush it. But still they moan .....so great to be alive
SaberToothKitten · 10/01/2022 14:29
This is me too - sitting staring at my emails, making lists of tasks. I feel like I used up every last bit of motivation and energy over the past 18 months. I'd just got used to being in the office and around colleagues again when it all flipped back to wfh unless actually teaching. I can't get started with anything substantial.
DinkBoo · 10/01/2022 16:21
Gentle hugs to you both!
It's now really dark here, and feeling a lot later than quarter past 4.
I've managed some light emailing, and more moodle setting up. I need to add all my readings, but I haven't time to read any of them before the relevant weeks which makes selection a little harder (I am using an old module reading list which helps narrow it down, but I'm not doing the weeks the same way, so doing a lot of quick skims)
We're face to face from the start again, and there is no requirement to only be in for teaching, but everything feels very up in the air and staff are generally being very cautious in my dept so rarely see any colleagues. Uni communications sound worried about staff absences for the first time in a long time.
I should be going in to help me get through the work, but I have a family funeral on Wednesday and don't want to risk not being able to go, so we are isolating at home till then.
The uncertainty is definitely not helpful to motivation. But it is nice to know it's not simply a personal, failing, right? Right?!?!
I hope you all have a restful evening, even if you haven't been as productive as you need to be today.
goingpearshaped · 10/01/2022 20:49
Me too. I was about to start another thread but saw this one. I was okay last week albeit daunted by task and emails ahead of me. Today, I would literally resign if I could. I feel so burned out after all of the pandemic teaching, schooling etc. I have an admin role that means all extensions come to me and it is so draining. I am so fed up with dealing with unhappy students, it's so demoralising and I literally can't do right or doing wrong. I am someone who really wants to do a good job but now I can see little point as whatever I do to help students is just not enough apparently. I have nothing to give.
As for research, that feels laughable atm. I have been hasslign my uni about reintroducing sabbaticals as the thought would help me but they are stalling which I think is utterly shit tbh. There is no reward at all anymore (not just financial but gratefulness from students, dept) and I am struggling to see why I even do this job. I used to love it. Sorry for the splurge!
goingpearshaped · 10/01/2022 20:51
@DinkBoo, really sorry to hear your sad news and I hope all is good to enable you to make the funeral.
The uncertainty is not a personal failing at all, truly. It's really tough right now
DinkBoo · 10/01/2022 21:06
Thank you @goingpearshaped. And and for you!
You absolutely have my sympathy, DH is an exams officer and I see the toll it takes on him having to cope with what feels like nothing but complaints and problems all the time. It has really dulled his enjoyment of the job. Precarity has a lot of downsides but I really enjoy the lack of an admin job.
I hope tomorrow feels a little brighter than today for you, and if not, feel free to come offload here as often as you like .
I have always found it really hard to just do enough and not feel terrible about it. But that's not sustainable long term, let alone in the past few years. And it's good to remind each other of that.
LaChanticleer · 13/01/2022 10:57
Totally feel it @DinkBoo
I usually love my job. I've got a new book to start writing which is usually exciting, but I was planning my work for this week and realised I just have no idea where to start.
I just want to eat biscuits and watch television . And a big teaching module starts next week ...
pawpatrolneedaunion · 13/01/2022 16:30
I've managed to put together a few bits of teaching content but it is taking SO LONG. Online teaching and over work last year has killed any desire to teach ever again. I'm just hoping getting in front of students in person again will help.
wordleaddict · 13/01/2022 17:13
Teaching online. Tried to prerecord a lecture today. Twice panopticon failed me. Twice I read it through. Got to try again tomorrow. Sick of my own words.....boo boo.
DinkBoo · 14/01/2022 15:46
Argh! So sorry everyone is struggling, and fighting against stupid technology on top. Having to re-record is a special kind of hell.
I thought I would bounce back from the funeral hanging over me with renewed vigour, but am actually worse if anything. Just want to get in to bed and hide today. 'Reading' but not taking anything in.
Also hoping actually being in front of students will reinvigorate my motivation on Monday. Normally the thought of being in as seminar room that soon would be enough to panic me into action if nothing else
Scottishflower65 · 10/02/2022 09:33
Agree with a PP who mentioned sabbaticals. That was the time to reinvigorate and get past burn out. Almost unknown now / never was a thing in post 92s. I know many hard working successful academics who, in the past year, have reached the point that they can’t face it and need to take time off for anxiety / depression.
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