Superwoman or just well organized: which is it? College Life / Home Life

Hello everyone:

We all know someone who seems to accomplish a whole lot in her 24 hours. Maybe she is your college professor who teaches 6 different classes at three different colleges, all of which have different starting dates. Perhaps she also writes two blogs twice a week while writing a novel and making presentations on the topic of her dissertation. Perchance she is also keeping her family fed, clothed, and the house clean while also running 8 miles a day, biking 3 miles a day, and walking 4 miles a day.

What in the world? Is this woman nuts? Does she ever sleep? Is she Superwoman? Nope. None of the above (I hope). She is simply organized.

So how is this done while not losing one’s sanity? For starters, she keeps a “to-do” list and crosses things off as they are accomplished. She makes a daily list of what must be done and also has a list on the same page of what it would be nice to do that day. If something is vitally important, it needs to be done FIRST so that the rest of the day will not be spent fretting about having not gotten it completed.

Let’s follow her through a typical day. She keeps her exercise clothes in the bathroom and puts them on before she is totally awake. By the time the fog clears, she is already dressed to exercise, so she might as well do it. Three miles on the bike, eight miles on the treadmill and that is done. BTW, if she was taking a class right then, she would have a study guide for one of her classes blown up into 16 point font and displayed on her bulletin board in front of the treadmill so she could study while running. If she was not taking a class, she would pray for her students and the folks on her church prayer list (again, posted on her bulletin board, filling otherwise non-productive time).  Ninety minutes later, she is done and it is only 7 am.

Next, she gets ready for her day, studying while blow drying her hair or reading a current magazine in the 7 minutes it takes to get her hair dry. That way, she is keeping up with the world in general while using otherwise non-productive time. She does her makeup without distraction because telemarketers haven’t figured out that she is up and at ’em by 7 am. She dresses in an outfit suitable for the entire day (when possible) so that she only has to dress once.

Breakfast means Bible study time and/or catch up with the family.  She is out the door by 8:30, to walk 4 miles, grocery shop, or run errands. Home by lunchtime means no fast food (that adds pounds very quickly) and on to her online classes.

She can check in on 6 classes within a couple of hours, if there are not many assignments due. She grades on a daily basis, so that there are very few marathon grading sessions and so that her students can get immediate feedback on every assignment. They appreciate knowing how to improve their grades for the next assignment by following her in-depth feedback on this one.  She keeps a month-at-a-glance calendar next to her computer so that she can track which week each of the three colleges is in, which students will have assignments due that week, and when her discussion boards open to students.

During the online class time, she makes a point of getting up and moving every 45 minutes by setting an oven timer. She also has a Varidesk, which allows her to fluff her pillow as need be. Classes are usually completely done by 2:30 or 3, so she can take a few minutes to fold the two loads of laundry she did while teaching (the 45 minutes between breaks is enough time to transfer washing into the dryer and then take it out when it is dry).

She can spend the rest of the time until dinner preparation time to blog or write her novel.  To remain faithful to writing, she sets her oven timer for 45 minute increments. After visiting with the family during dinner, she can spend more time writing until Jeopardy is on. Following the game show, there is time to watch a little bit of Doc Martin before an early bedtime.

Do you think she is nuts or just well-organized? I hope you think the later, instead of the former!


Dr. Sheri

P.S. Welcome to my life!



Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.


  1. Kayla Carlyle Says: January 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Professor Parmelee,

    Reading this has given me a push to keep going, only I wish I could be as physically fit as you ! I have been feeling like I’m going to lose my head between school, work, and trying to figure out what career path i want to take. I have as o started volunteering on a local EMS squad. It is very fulfilling and I also began taking ballet once a week as I am very interested in dancing. The pressures from family and spending time with my boyfriend and friends are driving me crazy and I wasn’t sure if I should just give up things or keep going. I think the biggest thing that is causing me stress is worrying about my future career and how to choose it. You are a great inspiration and still the best most organized class I have taken at UMUC so far.

    Kayla Carlyle

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