So I've still been thinking of how to get unstuck, and I think I may have found a decent solution. It seems too simple to be effective, but then I think sometimes the simplest things are the best solutions. First, I made a detailed list of all of the work that I feel that I need to get done in the next three months or so. I wrote it in order of importance. Then I really looked at my daily schedule with honest eyes. I can realistically get to work at 8:30, after getting SG on the bus and that still allows me time to bike sometimes. And I have to leave by 4. Plus, lunch at my lab is very important. Everyone stops what they're doing and gets together in the conference room and has a leisurely lunch together. We rarely talk about work, mostly just politics. But anyway, not a long day. So then, I just went through and broke down my schedule into hourly chunks of time. For anyone who's interested here's what it looks like :)
8:30 - 9 matlab problems
9-11 - project for publication
11-12 - acoustics exercises
3-4 cochlear implant chapters
The odd thing about this is that I was working on all of these things before, but in a very scattered way. And somehow, knowing that when I start on one of these projects, that I'll be done in two hours or whatever, makes me really stay focused. And when time comes to stop, I just stop. Then I can take a little five minute break and it doesn't get out of control. And this way, everything really gets the amount of time that it deserves. Granted, if I could work until 6, it would be ideal. But I can't. And I'm just going to have to suck it up and do some work after SG goes to bed. It's also easy to shuffle this schedule around, since it's broken up in such a way, I can prioritize in a pretty clear way.
So that's it. A little piece of paper that tells me what to do and I'm happy. I can sit down at my desk and not feel completely overwhelmed. Here's hoping it will work. If only the rest of my life were as easy. Unfortunately humans are not predictable. Of course, if they were I wouldn't be in the field that I'm in, right?