Time to Reset
It goes without saying that we're currently living in uncertain times.
Whilst I love an opportunity for planning, organising, and all things productive, that doesn't feel right to do at the moment. This really is a time to stop and reflect, not to get more completed than the next person.
Like many people (especially in academia), my working life is changing; moving exclusively online - teaching, meetings, and support. This has made me re-think the way I do things, but not just for work, but more broadly too.
I have spoken before about my love for to-do lists, but over the past 6 months I've steered more towards the concept of 'maintaining questions' - these help me centre my focus on the things I find most important, and whilst there are kind of to-dos associated with these, it's more about keeping on top of things than overloading myself with work (there is a difference I promise!). I come back to these questions weekly (some more frequently), as a way of grounding me, and not giving too much time to the tasks that inevitably come up, but take me away from I find important.
Coming back to the time to re-think the way I do things - below, I've given examples of my revised 'maintaining questions' for different scenarios - feel free to adapt and change as works for you, if you'd like to try them out!
W O R K (for the end of the week, looking ahead)
[ ] Have I checked in with tutees?
[ ] Have I checked in with dissertation students?
[ ] Is there any marking due soon?
[ ] Are my classes & associated materials prepared for the week ahead?
[ ] Have I worked on my book recently?
[ ] Have I checked in with the research group?
[ ] Are there any emails waiting to be answered (48 hr turnaround)?
P E R S O N A L (I usually check-in with these at the weekend)
[ ] What groceries do we need?
[ ] Is there anything else I need to buy / order?
[ ] Is the dog stocked up on food & treats?
[ ] Have I rang around family?
[ ] Are there any Maid Of Honour jobs to do?
T E C H N O L O G Y (carve out a little time each week for this, usually Friday)
[ ] Do I have any bookmarks to clear on my phone / tablet?
[ ] Can I upload any photos to cloud storage?
[ ] Have I backed up all my work to cloud storage?
[ ] Do I have any tabs left open that can be moved to a to-do / closed?
This is just an example for a things I like to check in with. For me, framing it as a question allows me to reflect, and make a plan as necessary, rather than making it feel like an overwhelming list of things to do (for example - my book has definitely been in the back burner for the last few weeks...but coming back to the question above gave me space to think and schedule in a day of leave soon to work on it).
Are there any other kinds of 'maintaining questions' you ask yourself?
I'd love to hear from you :)
Take care x