I knew in advance that September was going to be hard because of all the service obligations I had, the office move, and the difficulty of getting back into a working mood after a long summer vacation. However, I envisioned October as a month when I would have a lot of free time to work on my research and enjoy existence. October was going to be very productive for me.

Of course, when you convince yourself that something is imminent, it is bound to happen.

During the entire month of September, I was pretty much useless. In spite of teaching only two sections of the same course that requires no preparation, I was a mess. I simply couldn’t get myself together for anything. I kept forgetting, oversleeping, losing papers, not managing to do anything on time, getting confused and upset over insignificant little things that I saw as insurmountable problems. No research was getting done, mountains of paperwork were accumulating, and I felt completely adrift.

Copying a file from my computer onto a flash drive would take hours as I wandered aimlessly around forgetting what I was supposed to do. I’m not exaggerating. It once took me 8 separate trips downstairs to fetch a flash drive. I’d go downstairs, fumble in my handbag, forget what I was looking for, go back upstairs, and then the entire charade would repeat itself. I was also permanently sick. Mind you, there were no actual reasons for me to feel and act this way. I only did because I had convinced myself I was going to.

On the morning of October 1, however, I woke up, attacked the mountain of paperwork and student assignments, worked on my translation, and did a lot of research-related reading. The forms that had been daunting me for three weeks got done in one hour twenty minutes. I honestly did more in these first two days of October than in the entire month of September. I felt (and still do) energetic, efficient, and in control.

It is all in the head, people. What’s sad is that I had to waste an entire month to get this thought really to sink in.

7 thoughts on “Psychological

  1. I totally now the stair thing.

    I often am in my room and think something like “I need to fetch my lockbox’s key from downstairs”. Now, I start to walk down 2 floors and as I walk, I start thinking about something entirely different. When I arrive downstairs, I don’t remember anymore what I came down for and where to go, so I go up again. When I go upstairs again and see my lockbox sitting square on my desk, I facepalm and start walking down again, often again forgetting what I was going for. I think my record for doing this is like 4 times in a row or so.


  2. Is it psychological or is it the weather? Fall is good for productivity. When it is 20 degrees celcius or above outside the only thing I can do is sunbathing while reading books and driking wine. Now that Fall is back here I completed an essay and I submitted two conference proposals.

    Following Montesquieu, I do believe that climate influences our behaviour!


    1. We have the weirdest weather here. Very hot and sunny during the day and freezing temperatures during the night. I don’t like this climate at any point during the year. One thing I hate about this place is the weather.


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