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.