Fast Track

estimated 4 min read

What do you do when you discover that something, a very large something that means a lot to you, that you thought was due in “about a year” will be completed essentially seven weeks from today?

I had a few comments on a twit I wrote this morning that “the sound you heard last night? That was my universe flipping inside out.”

Yup. Sometimes life throws you something that you didn’t expect.

Condensed yet semi-vague background: I am in a brand new Graduate Program (it’s part-time) at a University draped in Ivy. I have strong opinions about said program which I will leave out of this discussion as they are natural but not for this space. I entered in September of 2006 with my classmates as the first cohort. This semester we’re taking two courses, as we have each Fall and Spring: the last core course and a little course titled “Master’s Project”.

I have been known not to reread the program’s main website to learn more details of things and wait for the instructors to send us the syllabus. I’ve had many friends do various masters and PhD programs.. I didn’t think about this course very much and figured in it we would chat about the projects and methodologies of our proposals and then we’d have until we finished the program (we have four courses remaining after this term) to finish the Project.

I was terribly mistaken.

Last night my classmates and I were hit with the syllabus. The Project is due May 9th of this year. I have a pretty good idea what I’m doing and how I plan to go about doing it. The minimum requirements aren’t excruciating, especially since I expect to lift large chunks from my prior projects. It’s the time frame which is scaring the @#($*& out of me. That is good. Because I’m scared there is a huge fire lit under me and it means that I have no choice or time to procrastinate. We basically have to complete the first draft of the project and presentation by Spring Break. As in about seven weeks from yesterday.

So what does all of this mean?

1) I’m happy we began the kitchen when we did.
2) I’m happy I was sick last week.
3) I’m happy I didn’t yet commit to any more large projects and that I actually finished one over the break.
4) I’m sad I didn’t finish the Dragon Wrap.
5) I’m happy I dropped Tuesdays and Wednesday from my posting schedule. That will remain in effect until May. I may be better with twitter, I may not.

How do I plan to try to keep my sanity ?

1) Remember the Milk. I’m doing a combination of FlyLady and Getting things Done and whatever else some guru has found, but in a manner which works for me. I hope/think.
2) I have consolidated all but two email accounts into Gmail for checking for the foreseeable future.
3) I got rid of the crackberry. R has it now. This is good. I will make time for email, but not obsessively. [That was the plan for a while].
4) I bought a new spindle. Actually this may not have a been a good move, but it wasn’t expensive and I think it’s nice.
5) End Note. I’ve been using this for over seven years and love it. The Uni provides a license to current students. No, I will not share. BibTex rocks too.
6) Eating proper meals.** I need lots of help for this one. I need Gluten-free Kosher meals that I can carry without taking up lots of room (i.e. bulky containers) and without waste (i.e. lots of yucky ziplocks) and can survive hours without refrigeration and fill me up. Oh and are inexpensive.
7) Sleeping when I should.
8) Making time for me (and E) EACH DAY and SHABBOS.

What do I need to do?
0) Find a second power adapter for akepa so I can leave one in my campus locker and one here at home.
1) Stay away from random mindless web surfing.
2) Stick to my schedule but not obsess over scheduling to the point that it all I do.
3) Be prepared to tell others that NO I cannot assist them with a large project.
4) Keep my head and believe in myself that and I complete this and be proud with the final result.
5) Remember to backup backup backup my work.
6) Backup my work again. In various formats and outputs.

Next week I’ll have made a decision as to Scrivener. If anyone has any linux or web-based solutions (with off-line ability) of programs which do similar things to Scrivener — I’m all ears! I can find Windows alternatives but not *nix or web without building my own, which I don’t have time to do.

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2 Replies to “Fast Track”

  1. Good luck and stay sane!

  2. Oh my gosh. ((hugs)) and calm thoughts headed your way! I’ve found that saying NO and keeping others out of my process (when necessary) can be really difficult. I wish you luck with everything, and especially with that part of it.

    You can do it!!

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