Guarding my time

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As the spring semester winds to a close, I’m a bit ashamed, sad, and excited to admit: I’ve become one of “THOSE” faculty members.  I close the door, I ignore emails and phone calls, I hide out at home when I need unsolicited quiet time.  I’m guarding my time the way the royal guard looks after Buckingham Palace.  As I polish this post, I’ve closed myself in my office and at home now for the last two days, only going to campus for meetings and obligations.  My email is backlogged (just like everyone else’s) and I sort of feel like I’m merely putting out fires.  I may need a vacation. Correction: I need a vacation. I saw a few articles this week about overworked America and working 40 hours a week and wondered what would happen if I stopped working for a few days–NOTHING?  I can’t seem to get any work done.  The old “do you have a minute?” or “I just have a quick question” have taken over my life, my soul, and are inhibiting me from getting what I need to get done: WORK!!! Quite frankly, it’s making me a little nuts.

To compound my sad sally state: my wrist and eyes are killing me–two sure signs that I’ve been spending way too much time in front of the screens that are ruining my eyesight and hands.  SERENITY NOW!!!

In the end, it’s me and my attitude, but I am looking forward to the semester ending.  As I wrap up my first full semester as a new faculty, it’s time to take stock in what I’ve been doing well and what could use some work.  Here we go!

What’s gone well:

  • amazing opportunities that have come along for the ride such as other grant proposals, teaching, advising, networking, and travel
  • working with some of my favorite groups of people: teachers and students
  • publications
  • an offer to write some chapters in a book for a major publishing company
  • creating a great network of professionals for guidance and working to maintain positive relationships with others

What needs work:

  • stepping away, turning it off, unplugging from work for longer periods of time
  • taking a real vacation (a half day on Friday does not count)
  • writing- it will always need work
  • graduate student interactions-those started off rocky but improved over the semester
  • saying NO and not feeling guilty to the point where i’m hiding out in my office 🙂
  • ending immediate response. people can wait, i wait for them all of the time
  • send less email….

As a new faculty, how do you reflect on what’s going well and what needs work?  What benchmarks do you set for yourself?  How do you carve out your time for putting work aside and enjoying life?

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3 thoughts on “Guarding my time

  1. […] Closing the door.  I know I’ve discussed it before but valuing my time over others has become more important than anything.  I covet my time, create small pockets for a few minutes of solace and while I used to feel bad, I no longer feel bad about coming to the office, unlocking the door, letting myself in, and then promptly closing it for several hours.  I don’t tell anyone where I’ve been or where I’m going, unless it’s someone that needs to know or someone who I’m actually going to meet.  I finally understand it. In terms of my digital life, I’ve taken steps to get away from social media, separate my life and compartmentalize things in a more efficient way that works for me.  I’ve begun purging friends, blocking people who are too aggressive for me, and getting rid of connections that no longer exist.  Instead, I have great people sitting right in front of me, next to me, and around me.  I’ve begun investing in them. […]

  2. […] 2013, I need to stop being so generous with my time and guard it more. I let it get away from me, allowing me to be sucked into projects that honestly, I just […]

  3. […] still guarding my time like a watchdog with a herd of cattle. I share just enough but also block off time for my own work. […]

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