The first week of the year puts my feet in two worlds—one foot in the winter break and a flexible schedule, and the other in work ahead. I’m struck by what happens when my calendar is not peppered with meetings and work. I wind up scheduling things to do with friends and family. Many productivity and calendar self-help gurus claim that we should plan what we want to do first, then fill in what we must do. What does that look like for me? I’d block off time to see a movie with my family (by the way, I saw Avatar: The Way of Water this week. It’s impressive in IMAX 3D. You should see it if you liked the first Avatar film. I still don’t love the Papyrus typeface in the titles.) I’d block off time to go to dinner with my wife. I’d set aside time for writing, research, and developing my teaching first before the week’s work crowded them out.
Soon, I will set up my calendar for the semester. I know when I will be teaching, and some weekly, semester-long meetings have already been set. This year, I will block off time or the things I want to do—the stuff that, if I do them, I can grow and develop (and, in turn, better help others). My week’s calendar included an Eagle Scout ceremony, a movie, two dinners with friends, workouts at the gym, and lots of web development for a research project. The work got done, and I had moments with the people I value in my life. They both can co-exist. I just have to set my priorities so they co-exist with a better me among them.