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You may, or may not , have notice my absence from social media and email lately. I have been at a point where there were so many projects and tasks on my list that I was paralyzed. When I find myself only doing the minimum to get through the day, snapping at people, and getting overly snarky (beyond my usual snark) I know it is time to reassess.
For as long as I can remember reassessing meant diving in for long periods of time and churning out work, and not always my best work. Something has shifted in the past year and I’m finding myself unable to ‘churn’. I don’t know if it is age, life situation, or lazy (but let’s hope it isn’t lazy). So, no more churn means something has to give. Which means…
Even though it may disappoint others, which is difficult for me. Or passing on an opportunity, which I hate to do.
On the upside it means really focusing on those things that will help me grow.
It is still difficult. I recently had to send an email to an editor and co-author that article wasn’t coming together and a new project at work was going to be taking up some of my free time.
I’ve had to let go of my dream of earning a PhD. Calm down, calm down. I should have said “let go for now”. Getting back into academic life isn’t feasible at this time.
And yesterday I found out that I’m going to be letting go of some time at work. July 1 all ‘part-time’ people will be limited to 24 hours a week. I currently work 37 hours a week and could use those 3 hours that would make me full-time. I’m not sure of what duties I will need to let go, or what parts of my current caseload. I understand why, but that isn’t making it any easier. I never intended to work part-time after graduation and 37 hours a week has been difficult to swallow, 24 might choke me.
So, for those of you on the wrong side of my ‘letting go’ I apologize. But I also promise that when things clear I will come back to our projects and be a stronger partner.
From Student Affairs Women Talk Tech the prompt is <insert drumroll> “Pick a relationship, any relationship, and describe what makes it special to you.”
Wow, this is a tough one. Do I do revealing or stay safe. I’m not much of a ‘gushy gusher’ unless you ask me about my kids. And why did I pick this week to try and get back on the blogging train? HMM??
Oh well, on with it then. I’m going to use this prompt as a way to say thank you to one of my long long long (yes, we are getting that old) time friends Suz (aka S to my J).
S and I met on line 17ish years ago when our youngest kids (Emmy and Bry) were just babies! We’ve been through a LOT together, and sometimes gotten into some good natured trouble together.
S was there through my divorce, when I met TheRPh, the moves, the hours and days and years of school. We’ve lost touch once or twice because life just gets in the way.
What makes our relationship special? The fact that we can go months, and at one point years, without talking and then pick right back-up like almost no time as passed. We don’t exchange hours and hours of phone calls or chat sessions like we use to. We don’t visit several times a year as we did in days past. But she still knows where the bodies are buried, where my heart is, and what truly matters to me. Through all of it she is always on my side.
When I see cute little sayings like “We will be friends until we are old and senile…then we’ll be new friends!” I think of S.
Thanks S, and I love you MOSTEST!
Several great people have blogged about their word for the year, and I’ve heard several words put out via Twitter. I like the idea of having one word to bring focus to all of my activities for the year. Which is partly why coming up with a word for the year was a bit of a challenge. What word could I use to encompass all of the roles that I have? After spending several commutes considering various options the one that seems most fitting for what I want to accomplish is. . .
It is going to be a year of growing for our family as TheGirl leaves the house for college in the fall and TheRPh and I look at where we want to go next.
I want to focus on growing professionally. Learning, listening, working with students, working with faculty and staff, writing, presenting. I want to grow my professional relationships with some of the fantastic women I have met this past year at conferences and via Twitter. I want to grow as a mentor and resource for new professionals, grad students, and colleagues.
I want to grow personally working on self-discipline, self-confidence, and becoming the best me I can possibly be.
So – here’s to 2011 as an opportunity for us all to grow together.
Back in June (yes, I’ve been procrastinating) Arthur Levine posted an interesting piece discussing how many of our institutions such as banking, healthcare, and higher ed were designed to function in the industrial era and now need to be refurbished and retooled to meet the needs of a global information based economy.
I agree with many of his arguments about institutions needing to advance new andragogies (pedagogy is the wrong word!) as well as the need to explore some less traditional methods of seat time and standardized scheduling. At least I agree to a point.
Digital natives do employ technology as a learning medium and they are use to a 24/7 world with information at their fingertips. However I don’t believe they understand technology as a tool or a learning platform. I also believe that we should not assume that all millenials have the basic technology skills to deploy technology as a tool. I say this not only as a student affairs professional, but also as the parent of four millenials. Technology is often an advanced toy or communication device.
Gen Xers, like me, can remember being told “get off the phone” because our parents were waiting for a call. The phone for us was an entertainment device. We knew how to use it to talk to our peers or order a pizza, but how many times did we get in trouble for not taking a proper message or answering the phone incorrectly? (Come on – I know it wasn’t just me!)
Digital natives need to be taught to deploy technology as a tool and not as a toy. Formatting emails, accessing LMS, even using Word. I often find myself taking a step back with my students and teaching them how to format a document, attach a file to an email, or locate information, things that as ’digital natives’ I presume they would already know.
So we can begin to develop andragogies that include technology, but we also need to remember that we have to teach the technology as well.
Groundhog Day, Procrastination, and You!
Welcome to February! The semester is well under way and while I am looking forward to some signs of spring the winter weather can keep me from springing into action! So in this month’s email I want to talk about downtime, dawdling, lingering, loitering, postponing, stalling… you know . . . the big P. . . PROCRASTINATION!
Merriam-Webster defines procrastinate as: to put off intentionally and habitually. Sometimes we must intentionally put things off, but when ‘habitually’ enters the definition it can be troublesome. So what does procrastination have to do with Groundhog Day? Well, groundhogs burrow underground dens that have many chambers and more than one entrance, and in an effort to quash habitual stalling it is also helpful to have many ‘entrances’. And, like Bill Murray, in the movie Groundhog Day developing healthy new habits may require several tries!
So here are several tips for motivating past the procrastination tendency.
Eat the frog first. “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day.” – Mark Twain Do that most dreaded task first before you check your email or turn on the tv. Make it the first thing you do today, before checking email or anything else.
Get rid of all distractions. Including turning off the Internet, the cell phone, the TV, the IPod, and any other distraction that you have control over.
Just get started. Nothing is worse than the first few sentences of a long paper, or a stack of reading that seems endless. Diving in and getting the first few sentences done, or the first paragraphs read, can go a long way in decreasing your dread and improving your motivation.
Tell yourself you’re just going to do 10 minutes. This rule is most useful for tasks that are necessary but that you really don’t want to do. You will not only make 10 minutes worth of progress when you return to it the negative connotations of “starting the dreaded task” will be gone.
Forget about perfection. Turn off spell check and grammar check; do not search for synonyms or additional resources. Put pen to paper, or use a simple word pad, to focus only on getting the gist of the assignment done.
Spread out your work. Marathon sessions are impossible to sustain, and if you do sustain them the quality of your work is sure to suffer. Start early, work in short focused bursts, and schedule reasonable amounts of time for the task.
Tell everyone. Make a HUGE deal out of how tough this task is and how you are dedicated to completing it. Tell them what times you’ve set aside for working on it and what progress you intend to make. Taking your goals public not only provides everyone with an opportunity to support you it also makes it harder not to complete the task. How embarrassing would it be to talk it up and then have to report a lack of progress!
Even challenging tasks can be made lighter by a positive attitude!
Verbalize your excuses. Literally speak the excuse out load. Something that sounds acceptable in your head can seem ridiculous when said aloud.
One more thing is similar to “just get started”. If you’ve been working hard at a task and are feeling like you can’t possibly get it completed make a deal with yourself to do just “one more thing” before you take a break or put the task on your calendar for another day.
A few reminders:
The class schedules for Summer 2010 and Fall 2010 are now available online. Registration begins March 1, 2010. Be sure to make an appointment BEFORE your registration date! Delays can result in classes filling before you have an opportunity to register!
The registration period is as follows:
Earned 55+ hours – register beginning 8 a.m. Monday, March 1
Earned 35+ hours – register beginning 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 2
Earned 0-34 hours and new students – register beginning 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 3
I hope your month is productive and happy! Remember what Phil said “Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”
Facts about groundhogs
Dead simple guide to beating procrastination
Seven powerful steps to overcoming resistance
The Science of procrastination
Learn to want it
Three rules to fight procrastination
Don’t interrupt me, I’m procrastinating
Article Review “The Mobilization and Return of Undergraduate Students Serving in the National Guard and Reserves”
Bauman, M. (2009). The mobilization and return of undergraduate students serving in the National Guard and Reserves. New Directions for Student Services, 2009 (126), 15-23. DOI: 10.1002/ss.312
This article by Bauman covers the three phases of the stopping-out process experienced by students serving in military reserve unites and the National Guard. The author interviewed 24 citizen soldiers from two institutions to provide a snapshot of they experienced as they were mobilized to active duty and returned to civilian life. The three phases, as described by Bauman, are pre-mobilization, separation, and return.
During pre-mobilization the students prepare to separate from employment, family, friends, and their educational institutions. It is a time of anxiety without a true deadline for mobilization. Interviews with students indicated that it can be difficult to make definitive plans at this time without the knowledge of an actual deployment date. However, planning does begin in this stage as drills and connectedness with the military unit increase.
The separation phase begins when mobilization orders are received. This is the longest of the three stages, and by many student accounts the most emotional. Most students make a clean break with their educational institution during this time. Bauman also states that this is the stage during which faculty and staff at the institution can make a “profound difference” (p. 19). By maintaining contact with the students during their deployment staff and faculty can ease the transitions that students experience.
Phase three is returning to civilian life. Students during this stage experienced mixed emotions. They were elated to return home to friends and family, anxious about the changes that had occurred during their absence, and uncomfortable with the lack of a clear purpose that they felt. Many did not want to face returning to their education due to the fact that many of their peers would have graduated or be ahead of them in the curriculum. There are many other emotional and social aspects that can make the return difficult. It is important for institutions to have staff available to help returning veterans navigate the administration of the educational benefits they are entitled too.
In the summary and recommendations Bauman encourages campus leaders to explore ways of supporting student veterans socially, emotionally, and administratively. One of the ways I believe we can do this is to support our student soldiers through all phases of stopping-out, including making the effort to stay in contact while they are deployed and encouraging them to return to our institutions by providing the best possible services upon their return.