So I finished my week of Powering Down and Unplugging. I was on vacation, so I can’t really say I was more productive without being constantly connected, but it was more relaxing, and I honestly (despite being a social media addict) didn’t miss it that much.
But speaking of productivity, I did pick up a brilliant idea from my father-in-law that I intend to implement upon returning to work in January. I lose all sorts of valuable time at work when people just drop in, and ask “Do you have a minute?”
As my FIL concurred, these people always require more than a minute, and I am distracted from whatever task I was working on before the interruption. This, obviously, decreases my productivity during my time in my office. Case in point: this semester when we hit the end-of-the-semester grading crunch, I actually had to take a sick day to finish grading all my students’ projects from home because I couldn’t get anything done in my office. I often end up working from home, after hours to finish stuff I should have been able to complete in the office during regular business hours–had I only not had all those extra minutes stolen from me.
I’d like to be able to unplug more than once a year. After work or on the weekends would be a great time for that–except I can’t because I’m usuallyconnected for work. The number of e-mails I write, read, and respond to after hours or on the weekend is absurd. I’m hoping that implementing my FIL’s idea will help. Here’s what he shared:
He used to have this sand timer he would keep in his office. And when someone would walk in and say “Do you have a minute,” he would flip the timer and say, “I can give you two.” I need a sand timer…because this is brilliant in its simplicity. If people can’t get what they need in two minutes, they should schedule an appointment. Really.
Note: This applies to the administrative part of my job. Obviously, on the teaching side, regularly scheduled office hours are specifically for student drop-ins.