So I got to feeling very overloaded this week at work. Tuesday was the worst; every time I finished one item, two more were in my inbox. My e-mail notification was popping so often that I had to silence my laptop and flip my phone over so I couldn’t see the screen–each “ding!” was stressing me out more and more.
I decided to take the advice I’d been giving out to others over the years, and establish some healthy boundaries to keep me from feeling like I’d never see daylight again. Here’s some of what I decided to do:
- Me Time: I have been taking from 10-12 each morning to work solely on projects of my own choosing, at the cost of all the random tasks everyone else has been giving me. It’s important to me that I try to keep long-term goals in my mind, even when short-term problems seem overwhelming. I’m thinking of making this a semi-permanent feature of my day, since I was very productive with it this week. I’m behind on where I should be on several projects–this started helping.
- Prioritize Teachers: Sometimes I get lost in administration-driven projects and tasks that I forget my stated purpose: to support classroom teachers integrate technology in instruction. I took the time to help several teachers with their gradebook incidents, and they were all very grateful. It’s gratifying to feel that I was able to help someone with a classroom need. The random nature of technology incidents makes this hard to schedule, but I’m toying with the idea of focusing on teacher incidents from 8-10 each morning (working on structuring my day a little more, see above).
- Choose Battles: If it’s easier to complete a task–even if it shouldn’t be my responsibility–than to go to war over making a point that it’s not mine, I often do it. Especially right now, when I don’t have time to fight every battle. That said, something on my to-do list this year is to sit down with a copy of my job description and figure out a way to unload as many of the tasks that don’t advance me professionally as possible.
It’s way early in the year, and I’m certainly open to adapting myself in new and different ways, but I feel these few changes have made me more productive (and more sane) so far.