Today’s post was inspired by a suggestion from my friend and Catholic University colleague Kimberly Hoffman. The new school year has started, and both teachers and students need a framework for managing themselves in navigating the fall and spring semesters. Consider these tips in the days and months ahead:
1. Coursework can be all-consuming. Make sure you are maintaining your health by taking some time for exercise and mind-body activities such as yoga or the Alexander Technique.
2. Determine what constitutes your “total life” during the school year. Make a list of all your activities and commitments (especially work and family obligations) inside and outside of the classroom. You will then be better able to summon the proper effort for schoolwork.
3. Make communication a personal priority, both in speaking and listening. Are you clear about the commitments and expectations for each class?
4. Inside and outside of class, look for activities that encourage the highly-engaged, mentally stimulating feeling of flow, as outlined by the psychologist/author Mihaly Csiskszentmihalyi.
5. Make time for reading of books in subject matters outside of what you are studying or teaching, even if it’s just a few minutes each night before falling asleep, or while riding on the bus or train.
6. Stretch beyond your regular subjects by attending at least one public lecture or presentation by a visiting speaker on campus (or at another local school) in another discipline.
7. Look for the sense of meaning in what you are studying or teaching, and how it relates to your life, now and in the future. You can help maintain a proper attitude and sense of belief in your abilities by applying principles from positive psychology.
No matter how many of these seven tips for self-management you employ, I hope you find them useful. Additional suggestions are welcome!
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