What’s a work week? While I was growing up it was a 5 day, 40 hour work week. I seem to be working all the time now. Some of my work is a self-imposed expectation and some comes from others. I have been struggling with this as the lines between my work, learning, fun, and volunteering blur.
I work as a K12 tech integration specialist. I support teachers and students using technology effectively in the classroom for learning and collaboration. Part of my responsibility is to explore and research new tools, as well as, write workshop and curricular material.
I learn by reading and writing blogs and wikis. I am always checking out new tutorials. I participate in an awesome learning network through a variety of tools. I attend (also present) conferences and workshops face-to-face and on-line.
I have fun creating and maintaining a family website, searching for and recording family history. I love to make movies, work with photos and use iTunes.
I volunteer in a variety of ways outside of the tech world, but one of my volunteer roles is being a member of the DEN in SL leadership council. This group is VERY active planning weekly workshops, supporting a growing membership (555 at the time of this writing), welcoming new members and participating in a variety of Google groups. Honestly this alone could be a full time job, if we really carried out all that we envisioned.
The blending of work, learning, volunteering and pleasure is not a problem, most of the time. I do it because I enjoy it. I think it is pretty wonderful that I enjoy and love my work. But when it becomes an expectation to maintain this high level of productivity, this is where I have some difficulty.
Recently I spent a few weeks just doing my regular job. I was consumed with other obligations outside of school. During that time I received a few comments about my apparent lack of productivity. This is when it really hit home. Have I been setting myself up to appear a sloth if I just did my job in the time allotted?
These were some of the comment/complaints;
- I did not answer work related emails in the evening or weekends.
- I did not respond to some network requests in the time expected.
- I did not have some materials written quickly enough. I was averaging a 2-3 day turn around instead of 1 because I did not work on them at night as usual.
- I was not aware of some application updates.
I do believe I did set myself up for this. But I also believe that we are letting technology play a role. Just because we can connect almost instantaneously doesnâ€™t always mean we should, nor should we feel obligated to respond right away. I should take a lesson from Scotty* who always over estimated his repair times. I should tell people how long it would really take to complete a task leaving out nights and weekends, and add a little extra to allow for interruptions and emergencies.
I need to work on defining my boundaries. I am open to suggestions. So how do you make it all work?
*”How long to re-fit?” — Kirk, “Eight weeks. But you don’t have eight weeks, so I’ll do it for you in two.” — Scotty, “Do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?” — Kirk, “How else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?” — Scotty, “Your reputation is safe with me.” — Kirk. From Star Trek III: The Search For Spock