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The problem with Fridays

By Robin Dearing

I’ve worked in various kinds of offices for the last 25-plus years. The last 16 months have been the first time that I haven’t had to leave the house at least 40 hours a week for work, school or both. I know I’m very lucky to be able to work from home. And I also know that it took a lot of hard work to get myself into this position.

I’m very happy with my situation. But know that even though I’m mostly at home (I do teach a class on campus twice a week), I work a lot. I have a lot of students and I try to be attentive to them. That means answering emails, grading papers, etc., nights and weekends. The fact that I don’t have to wear proper pants makes it all worthwhile.

Last spring, I taught a brand new class for the Art History department. It took a lot of preparation (understatement). I worked very long hours putting together that class. All the while I was getting sicker and sicker from my then-undiagnosed Addison’s disease. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to finish the class. But I did. I’m very proud of that.

This semester, I’m teaching a survey class. While I’ve never taught it before, it’s material that I’m much more familiar with. Putting together these lectures is much easier. It’s still a lot of work; I’m writing lectures and homework assignments and exams for a very large class. But it’s so much fun. Really serious, nerdy, art-history fun.

It’s so much easier, that finally, I’m already done with next week’s material and can continue to prepare future lectures. This is a first for me. Last year, I was struggling to just get next week’s lectures done.

So, here’s my problem: Friday. For the last two weeks, I’ve been done with next week’s work. The good, organized part of me is happy that I get to spend my Fridays getting ahead. The naughty, lazy part of me suggests that I don’t really need to worry about getting ahead. Instead, it suggests that I take a nap or spend hours reading the Breaking Bad sub-reddit.

I always start my Friday with good intentions. I start work at 8 like I normally do. But then around 9:15, the kitten has run off with my pen and I wander off to find it and end up lying down with my Kindle “for just a few minutes.”

Today, I’m not falling for that. Today, I finishing my lecture for the week after next and I’m going to start writing new exam questions for my online class … probably … the kitten is on my desk with my pen in her mouth as I type this.


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Working from home take a lot of self-discipline. I’d suggest getting ahead, so that on a day when it all falls apart, and it always does eventually, you can focus on the problem at hand and not have to worry about your classes. But, a nap sounds really good right now too. I’m jealous.

Yeah, I picked getting ahead. But I did watch the end of an episode of “Say yes to the dress: Bridesmaids.” So that’s something.

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