8:30 pm is the time I typically stop doing ‘work-related’ stuff. This isn’t just grading, but this is often the monster load of it. I find myself researching topics related to class content, reading updates that are related to my field, answering the never-ending flood of emails, working on projects that are happening this semester and thinking about things for next semester…you know how it is, we all do it. I tell my students that being a student is like having a 24-hour job and yes teaching is that as well. We are working on the weekends, we are working in the evenings, we are working during our lunches, and even before the sun is up, as corroborated by fellow coworkers each morning!
Several weeks ago, I was texting a good friend/colleague back and forth one evening over just this issue. I asked her if she thought it would be ok if I just read a book for pleasure that was not class related or approved for any type of project. I had a good laugh when she replied that I might have to use sick time if I wanted to read for pleasure.
This week in my psychology classes we are studying motivation. We watched Daniel Pink’s Ted Talk on the subject. According to Pink, if you want people engaged in meaningful work, self-direction works. If you are looking simply for ‘compliance’ then management is the answer. Pink went on to talk about business models where people are valued and cared for beyond what we have thought of in a traditional way. It made me think of what that might look like for us.
Imagine if we were instructed to keep a log of our self-care. A minimum of 60 hours time spent on non-work related activities, such as time spent with family (while not grading), engaging in creative projects that enrich our lives (that actually exist outside of NMC), taking care of our physical, emotional and spiritual needs (as a priority-not when we have time for it, such as at the end of the semester….) This idea would align itself with all the research out there that tells us that self-care makes for happier employees, more productive employees, less turnover, more engagement, less sick time. Now that’s a pd log I would feel good about.