I have heard other folks say good ideas come when they’re in the shower. Could it be because that’s one of the few minutes within our busy days we actually get to think freely and not get distracted with the worries and issues we must face at work and in our lives?
It’s been a hectic year at work. We started several major projects and maintenance of existing systems kept increasing. This is a sign of the increasing role of technology in how we do business in student affairs and on our campus. In my role as information systems director, most of my time is spent in meetings from steering committees, oversight committees, project work groups, and with my supervisors. These meetings are in addition to managing resources, providing leadership and support to my staff, working with our business units to plan projects and to solve unexpected issues. There were times when I had to remind myself to step back and take on tasks one at a time. It’s been stressful and I definitely felt drained and frustrated at times. I took a much needed vacation this week with the goals to just read, write, and review my future career goals. It’s been awhile since I’ve actually had the time to think and reflect. As I think about why I felt so frustrated at times, I began to realize what I stopped doing the last few months — I stopped learning, thinking/dreaming about new ideas, and reflecting on growth and accomplishments. I was so busy at work managing that I had gotten away from the two activities I enjoy and used to spend a lot of my time on – reading and blogging. I read a lot of books in 2013 but not so much this year.
I’ve only written a few blog posts this year as well. One of the many things I enjoy about blogging and reading was that one idea led to another and when different topics like politics, history, culture, and technologies came together, there was a sense of personal satisfaction in being able to synthesize these different perspectives. It was even more fun when I was able to apply what I’ve learned to my work. For me, learning and reflecting energize me. To be able to dream about the future in a world filled with pessimism and constraints is liberating. To be able to reflect and document on my challenges, and accomplishments this past year also provided me with a sense of growth and progress. It’s hard to fully appreciate the blessings and the relationships I’ve developed without spending some time reflecting on them.
It’s amazing how easily we can get into the routine of just dealing with what’s immediately in front of us and forget to dream about possibilities and reflect on our experiences. Taking some time away from our day-to-day grind is healthy and something we should all consider.