This New Adjunct is a Multi-Tasker

millerBy Melissa Miller, Ed.D., M.Ed.

I am writing to you from underneath the hair dryer, with my hair in foils, and the shower cap holding it all in place. I am at the downtown hair salon, where others are leisurely reading magazines and enjoying their “me” time. I, on the other hand, happily view this “free” time as uninterrupted writing-grading-planning time. As I sit here with my head baking, and with enough foil in my hair to contact another planet, I’ve begun thinking about the ways in which being a New Adjunct has led me to creatively multi-task in order to fit it all in.

Of course, being a new mother gives me a jump start on this multi-tasking lifestyle, but working as an adjunct at two schools has really kicked the multi-tasking into high gear. As a side note, I’m not one of those people who are constantly over-scheduled and overbooked. I plan my time to include down time, time for play with my daughter, date nights (with my husband, usually — just kidding), and other necessities for a well-balanced life. I try to squeeze work or running a household into every free minute. The other day I fantasized about outfitting my car a la Homer Simpson. In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer discovers the joy of a cell phone and buys things to plug in to the car’s cigarette lighter. The next scene shows Homer driving while using his fax machine, snow cone machine, deep fryers, DVD player, a fog machine, a record player, and a Lite Brite!

Sometimes I feel as though I’ve moved a duplicate home office in my car and work bags. I like to have this portable work station so I can use any spare time to grade, design lessons, write, etc. I am that mother in the preschool parking lot, using the extra fifteen minutes before pickup to send e-mails or respond to a student. Part of this is because when I’m with my daughter or family, I want to be fully devoted to that role. But being an Adjunct, I am learning, has a way of seeping in to all aspects of your life! I don’t just turn work off because I work at home and on-the-go. This is actually one of my favorite things about being an Adjunct, but I find myself always thinking about work! Others who work a nine-to-five job may have an easier time leaving work at work, thus my need to become an expert multi-tasker.

Some of my New Adjunct multi-tasking tricks include, but are not limited to: keeping a pen and paper in my nightstand for late night epiphanies; keeping papers to grade on a netbook so I can make comments on papers while waiting at the doctor or dentist; thinking about topics for my blog while in line at the grocery store; conceptualizing lesson plans while waiting for an oil change; using my Blackberry as a voice recorder to record thoughts that pop in to my head while watching my daughter at dance class… I don’t want to forget these ideas when they come to me, and I don’t have time to “waste,” so I am working hard at multi-tasking efficiently.

What tricks do you have for “getting it all done?” Do you have multi-tasking stoires or strategies to share? Please submit a comment via your Smartphone, preferably while you’re running on the treadmill!

About the New Adjunct: Dr. Melissa Miller completed her Ed.D. with an emphasis in Teacher Leadership from Walden University. She holds a M.Ed. from Mary Washington University and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Tech. Dr. Miller’s professional and research interests include adult and online learning, professional development, and literacy. Presently, Dr. Miller works as an adjunct instructor and an evaluator, while also enjoying her role as a wife and mother.

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