We're running out of time, fellow professors. Only one month left of summer. Once the semester begins, many of our research agendas will come to a crashing halt. Less time to research and write, and less time to do everything else. Some things to do while you can....
1. Clean your coffee maker. They say mold grows in that thing. If you have vinegar you can clean it. Just use your favorite search engine to see how to do it. This is listed first because obviously if there is no coffee there is no productivity. If you don't need coffee to be productive, you are a superhero.
2. Clean out your closet. In the last two days my clothes donation pile has grown into a heap of shirts that I stopped wearing or can no longer fit into. I cleared out a bunch of clothes yesterday and just did more of the same today. Now I can more easily find the stuff I actually wear and figure out a few new things to buy before the semester begins. Yes, I still do a little back to school shopping.
3. Are there any bills that you can reduce? Bills, bills, bills, a stubborn fact of life. Can you shave a few bucks from your mobile device bill? If you haven't cut the cord, can you get your cable provider to cut you some slack? How about your insurance? Call around and see if you can find a nice customer service rep to help you out. Or maybe it's time to change services? Or at least figure out a way to spend less on groceries and eating out? Do what you can to save some $$$$$.
4. What's your lunch plan for the upcoming school year? Eat on the fly? Skip meals? PB & J? Packaged salads? I can't go without lunch because I'll crash in the classroom. I usually go with leftovers from dinner or a turkey wrap or hummus wrap. or PB & J in a pinch. But I'm thinking of getting off PB & J because I read something about peanut butter a few years ago that disgusted me and I can't believe I'm still eating PB & J if it's true but in any case I think it's time to quit peanut butter. I also am close to dropping cold cuts and just going with veggie wraps and hummus wraps. I love the fall, it's my favorite season, I think the back to school vibe is part of the reason, and fall means soup season so I'll mix in some soups too. Shout out to Buzzfeed Tasty for meal ideas.
5. Are you happy (or content) with your routine? I mean, the entire morning to night semester routine. Do a quick inventory and reflect. Maybe you need to start or adjust your exercise routine. Maybe you need to change up what you do in the classroom. Maybe you need to avoid negative colleagues and spend more time with positive ones. Maybe YOU can be a better colleague (that includes me and I try and will try harder). Think through your routine (the routine is so comfortable, being that many of us are creatures of habit) but the routine can always be tweaked.
6. Plan. I'm not the best planner. I'd hesitate to even call myself a good planner. It's one of those "areas of growth," I guess you could say. But plan ahead if you can. Or check in with colleagues who are good planners, that's what I do. I'm lucky to have more experienced colleagues who always have their eye on the next step. I try to soak up their skills. I have 16 years in the game but there is still so, so much I don't know. Lifelong learning, as they say.
7. In the last point I typed the word 'eye' and 'know' so now I have De La Soul's "Eye Know" on the brain so listen to the song because it's lovely and has a reference to Lottos. So wipe your Lottos on the mat and get ready for the upcoming semester!