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Getting things done

This summer there are many balls in the air. I'm ostensibly on vacation in Maine, but there are some significant responsibilities to take care of before heading back to Canada in August. In decreasing order of importance, these are:

1) Wedding planning. People warn you about how many details need to be looked after, but I severely underestimated the amount of work it would be. And doing many things ourselves (especially of the craftier variety) reduces cost but increases time and effort. Even though we're holding a low-key, casual affair, the to-do list goes on and on. Fortunately, this kind of project is agreeable to work on, and Isaac and his family have been doing a tremendous amount.

2) Reading for comps. My exam has been scheduled for the beginning of December, and there are so many books to read! 150 in all, in 3 lists. I have a handful under my belt so far, but it never really feels as though I'm going fast enough. My problem might be that I'm a fast, retentive reader, so I find it difficult to follow the advice to read the books' introductions and conclusions, and skim the rest. I guess I worry that I'll miss something important. Another problem seems to be that the books I've brought with me are all between 300-400 pages, making them easier to postpone for another day. My goal is to reduce the time I spend on one book from 3-4 days to 1 day; to that end I have stacked the remaining books on a dresser, as a visual reminder of how many are left to go before we leave Maine.

3) Spontaneous Generations, which I'm co-editing with Ari Gross. With an intended publication of August-September, the gears are moving a little slower on this one currently, as we're still waiting to hear back from many authors and reviewers. But things will ramp up quickly once we're back in Toronto.

[4) TAship. This one doesn't really count as something going on currently, but once I get to Toronto, I have to mark the exams and final papers for an undergraduate course on Technology and Civilization. This reduces the other work I'll be able to get done in August, which puts more pressure on getting as much 2) and 3) done in Maine.]

Having so many important projects on the go at once is interesting, from a time management point of view. In one respect, it's helpful because to take a break from one job, it's convenient to have other work to do. On the other hand, the bulk of everything that needs to get done means that I often feel guilty that I've neglected one task for too long.

So that's my busy summer in a nutshell. Of course, it's punctuated by fun relaxation, such as a trip to Boston for a concert, a 4th of July lakeside BBQ, and the Spiderman reboot. All work and no play, after all...


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