- Author: Wendy Powers
I like having a day off in each January, February, and March. Other institutions have a run from New Year's Day to Memorial Day without any days off for faculty and staff. That's a long stretch, so I consider us lucky at UC to have little breaks. I believe a number of us needed a break so hopefully, all took full advantage of the holiday.
After hearing quite a bit lately about stress, I recalled a TED talk that illustrates different perspectives on the impact of stress – be sure to watch it all the way to the end to catch the video about stress. The concept that one's mindset influences outcomes may be familiar to most of us. Building on some of the Fun Facts I shared previously, studies conducted by Monell Chemical Senses Institute demonstrate that, when told they were exposed to an odorant, panelists reported symptoms of illness, difficulty concentrating, and belief that they performed poorly on a skill test administered while the odorant was misted into the testing room. In fact, there was no odorant administered, and the group performed no differently on the skill test than a control group who received no information about an odorant. But is leading a low-stress life that simple? Or is the point of the TED talk that we ‘own' our time and commitments to a large degree?
I took the time to watch another TED talk about time management. Rory Vaden talked about purposeful procrastination, a strategy to delay doing something until it is not only important (how much does it matter?) or urgent (how soon does it matter?), the attributes of two-dimensional prioritization, but also significance (how long does it matter?). Because of the ‘significance' factor, this new method to time management involves a Focus Funnel that eliminates, automates or delegates tasks. Tasks sit in the funnel until one is ready for action. I think my To-Do list already functions much in this way, though I don't often automate tasks.
Tomorrow is booked solid with meetings. The rest of the week I am scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., weather permitting. I plan to have a few Zoom meetings while I am away. However, given the weather in the Midwest and East, I opted to purposefully procrastinate today thinking that I might have a few more hours free than I had initially planned. If that doesn't work out, those tasks I could have worked on today will go back into the Focus Funnel.