Zero Motivation

I have about 3 months left before I start my pregnancy/parental leave (November 15th unless something comes up like bed-rest or Baby G arriving early) , and I have absolutely no motivation to work.

The plan is to use Baby G’s arrival as a kind of a deadline for my academic career – my “get out of academia free” card, if you will. So that means I need to wrap up my work before then. But, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on working on any of my projects, and I find myself wasting time at work by surfing the net, reading blogs, and finding other new, exciting (or not-so-exciting) ways to procrastinate.

I know I just need to deal with it, get to work, and get this stuff done. After all – it’s only 3 more months, and then I’m free!!

So, what would I like to accomplish before November 15th?

1. Get that frickin’ masters paper submitted, and hopefully accepted for publication.
This one is out of my hands right now. I sent the most recent draft to my MSc supervisor at the end of June and am waiting to hear back. Just FYI – it’s been 5 years since I handed over my first draft of this paper.

2. Get a good start on my new post-doc project so that it doesn’t die when I leave.
This includes documenting what I’m doing so I can hand over the stuff to whoever will be working on the project next.

3. Write up how-to packages for earthquake outreach material
When I first started this post-doc, I was given the task to buy a bunch of earthquake-related supplies to create hands-on activities. I need to write up how to use these materials so they just don’t sit in a box somewhere, collecting dust.

4. Finish up a lit-search for post-doc
Another smallish project I was given was to do a lit-search on a certain topic, write up a summary, and include abstracts/links to pertinent papers. I got a really good start on this, then it just died.

5. Education conference duties
I really need to start and finish finding papers by Canadians who have done research on education at the post-secondary level in Physics and Astronomy. This work will be presented at a conference next summer, and then will be put into a paper after that. I’m also on the organizing committee for this conference, so I need to make sure someone else can take over my duties while I’m on leave.

6. Astronomy outreach
I have two events still to come – another open house on August 21st, and then another event on September 18th. I also need to decide what grants to apply to, if any, this year for the observatory outreach program, and I need to figure out what’s going to happen with the program while I’m on leave. Finally, I hope to secure an outreach position for when I come back.

7. Post-doc association stuff
I am a member of the executive for the post-doc association on campus. In all honesty, I haven’t done much, but I do want to make sure someone is able to take my place once I leave (or before).

That seems like a hell of a lot of crap to do in three months. So, why can’t I motivate myself to do any of it (except the outreach stuff, which is fun….and which I don’t get paid for :P)? Is it because the amount of stuff is overwhelming? Is it because I’d rather focus on preparing for Baby G’s arrival? Is it because it’s summer? A combination?

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Comments on: "Zero Motivation" (7)

  1. I hit a wall where I was mentally checked out at work around 30ish weeks. Physically it wasnt difficult to go to work, even at the end…but mentally…ugh…and I do drug assessments/therapy…my assessments were still top notch but I was so over the garbage I was being fed from people that didnt want help….blah!

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  2. You'll get through it :). Now looking back I wish I had done more in the weeks leading up to Theodor's birth because I basically went from having buckets of time to having no time whatsoever for three months. BUT at the same time I think it is part of becoming a mom for the first time. You just don't want to think about anything else:)

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  3. I've got a ton to get done, and I'm not really working on any of it. I have 27 work days until Dot is due, and some of that time will be spent training a GA to do my work for me while I'm gone.

    Blame it on Baby G and the weather. You'll get it all sorted out!

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  4. Hang in there, I was the same way around the same time…and it goes in spurts where I get motivation and then I don't. You will just get stuff done when you need to.

    Right now it's really hard, but I wish I had more work to do to keep my mind off not going into labor yet 😉

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  5. Thanks ladies! Glad I'm not the only one feeling this way!

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  6. Wow, that's an IMPRESSIVE to-do list. Maybe it would help to prioritize them and just focus on your # 1 goal for now — you know the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

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  7. Wool Free – definitely a good idea! Some of the stuff is on-going (like the astronomy outreach and my post-doc project), but it would be nice to check a couple of the smaller things off the list.

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