Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm Swamped

If you have sent an email to me and not heard back it is because I'm swamped. It happens every fall so it is not new, but somehow I always feel surprised by it anyway. I've got a stack of grading to do and this weekend is already committed to paper-grading, and my schedule of appointments with students (posted on my door) is jammed... I feel "trapped" by a trap of my own making...

When I get swamped like this I usually go through several stages:

1. Work faster. I try to work my way back above water first. That always fails eventually.
2. Work slower. Then I get depressed and do nothing for a while--which makes matters worse.

3. Kill stuff. Finally I see the house burning down and I act-- I cancel engagements, do a sloppy job of giving feedback on papers, delete all the email in the in-box and just don't show up to committees.

4. Fresh start. After all that I pretend I am caught up even though I actually just buried the overload.

I'm at stage 2 today.


Scott Hendricks said...

Sorry. I'm still laughing inside from reading this post.

Chad said...

Drury you crack me up! You also seem on top of everything. It is good to see you too get depressed at being behind!

Kathy said...

I go through this occasionally -- after a baby is born, after a move, etc...and realized I was living life playing defense. Only reacting to things happening to me. Once I get out of that mode I realize I like playing offense better and "I" control things not me just reacting. Just some thoughts from your sports minded daughter in law. :)

Keith Drury said...

Updat first week of October.. I moved to stage three... soon I'll be on top again... or at least I've fooled myself with a fresh start!

Dewing said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. Well, glad isn't the right word... I guess I feel less guilty about my own progress through these same stages if Coach Drury--who is always "together" and highly productive--feels the same way. Is it healthy to jsutify myself that way? Probably not...but I'm told that chocolate milk isn't healthy either...

Amber Janelle said...


Do you think my professors at WBS would be ok if I entered stage 3 and just didn't do my work? :) Sorry you're so overwhelmed, but your post seriously cracks me up. I have to admit--it's saddening to me that I'm not one of the students signed up for a talk with Coach!

David Drury said...

Perhaps those who look more productive are just those that move though stage 3 and on to stage 4 fast enough so that no one notices.

Perhaps the key is not to stay in stage 2 long.

For instance, staying in stage 2 for an entire year would be too long.


(been there)

James Watkins said...

Hey Keith,

Misery does love company! I'm at about 3. (I will have spoken at twenty conferences this year--which will not look good at my sanity hearing--as well as a busy schedule of writing and editing.)

I've been using your Don't, Delay, Delegate, Do strategy for years and that has really helped!

Here's my own formuala:

YZ > AR = C

If "Your Zeal" is greater than your "Area of Responsibility" you will experience "Composure." If not, you reverse the formula and feel CRAZY!