I always find it exciting when new academic year beckons, and not just because of the interesting students I will be meeting and the new challenges ahead. I also look forward to getting back into a routine again.
I have high functioning bipolar disorder and hypo-mania is pretty much part of my daily life experience. I manage my bipolar disorder and the inevitable ups and downs using cognitive behavioural techniques and an organised routine is very important to me as it helps to manage expectations and brings much needed structure to the day. Like most associate lecturers I am not employed by the university over the summer, at least not until the new contract comes in, and my teaching responsibilities are mainly in term-time. My doctorate also has term-based deadlines, though there is plenty of reading to do over the summer. As much as I love having a nice long break from the day job from mid-June to mid-September, I can sometimes feel unsettled and disorientated with the lack of structure to my day. Obviously, my doctorate is helpful at the moment for giving me something to focus on but I decided that I needed to establish a firm routine early before the new term starts to help the transition back to work.
So, on the first of September I got back at my desk and organised myself. As I have some tight deadlines this year (it’s my research data collection this year, alongside my usual teaching, and I also have draft chapters of my thesis to write) I gave myself writing deadlines and planned ahead with my studies. This has really paid off; I am back to my regular routine of a walk in the morning then at my desk at 9.30 to check the emails before setting into the day’s work. It’s been very productive due to the lack of interruptions; I’ve re-drafted two thesis chapters, done my annual admin and research planning, as well as some mentoring work and writing teaching resources. Getting all this done early has made me feel more confident and relaxed about the new term starting and I’ve also been able to reflect on what I want to achieve in the year ahead. It’s going to be a great year.