22 Days ’til 40: Slowing Down

30 Jan


I think one of the occupational hazards of educational administration that I did not reference in my recent post is slowing down (or, rather, lack thereof).  I love my job.  The students, teachers, and parents in our community really are special.  They come together and support each other, sometimes in the midst of very trying life circumstances.  Another thing I appreciate about our community is its diversity.  I work in a place that celebrates and honors differences – in colors, abilities, religion, etc.  As a result, we are a community that is rich – we learn from each other.

Yet, this amazing community makes it very hard for me to slow down.  I am often caught sending emails to staff and parents at midnight (or later).  I never completely unplug.  I feel as though my job is not a job, but a vocation – something that does stay with me at all times.  I am learning to find balance, for me and my family.  I am much better than I used to be and I am still growing.  I have learned that I must slow down.  I have started to give myself permission to not answer every email in my inbox, but instead, spend extra moments with my family or even taking time to pause and enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds me.

I have to remind myself that as I pause my levels of work productivity should actually increase – as those breaks are incredibly restorative.  Slowing down is indeed counterintuitive – but it really does work and makes a huge difference.

The other important piece in my slowing down is the example I set for others, particularly my staff.  It is important that I model healthy behaviors that include self-care.  If my staff see me model that it is indeed okay to take a day or evening and unplug, they will begin to feel comfortable doing the same.  As they take care of themselves, they have more energy to invest in our students.

Today, 22 days ’til 40, I remind myself to slow down and understand that it is a healthy choice that will make me more productive in the long run.




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33 responses to “22 Days ’til 40: Slowing Down

  1. behindthemaskofabuse

    January 30, 2013 at 01:40

    it’s so true!

  2. Another Thousand Words

    January 30, 2013 at 02:23

    Wondering if it should be called ‘slowing down’, 400, as opposed to ‘life prioritization’. Many things are not important, and to spend a few extra moments with your family is also a great blessing, which I hardly think you’d get from sitting and answering e-mails! When you take time to make time, and make time to take time, you’ll find you actually have MORE time…at least, that’s what I have found.

  3. walkwiththerabbi

    January 30, 2013 at 02:41

    My G-D, we are so much alike. Oh – we’re not the party types either. Can’t wait for the day when “the four of us” meet in the flesh and break bread together. You’ll love Fran. It feels like we’ve been friends for years.

  4. sapphospeaks

    January 30, 2013 at 02:56

    Good for you! I have been trying to do the same. It is hard to be in the moment if your mind is on a million other things. I didn’t learn this lesson until well into my 40’s so you have a head start! 🙂

  5. sakuraandme

    January 30, 2013 at 03:04

    Have a great day! Wow!! only 22 more days. BTW: 22 is my favorite number I hope you have a great day! hugs Paula x

  6. Jennifer Stuart

    January 30, 2013 at 04:47

    Haha I just started a new job and I’m finding that I do a similar thing. But granted, it’s the beginning of a therapeutic team so there may be just extra stuff at the beginning that will smooth out over time. But I find that I’ve been “on” for days. Right now, I’m taking time to read blogs and make some music and make sure that I unplug for at least a bit before trying to figure more things out. It’s a great balance to find 🙂 I wish you the best!

  7. Spider42

    January 30, 2013 at 11:30

    You are proving once again the truth in the old adage that one should take time to stop and smell the roses… I can honestly say form experience that it’s not easy, but well worth it when you can.

  8. Victoria Oldham

    January 30, 2013 at 11:56

    It’s so true. I find myself going without sleep or meals in order to get things done. But my partner and I make it a point to take a long, unhurried walk through the forest at least one day of the weekend. No phones, no computers. Just us for a few hours, talking, walking, being. The rest of the week doesn’t seem as overwhelming after that, and we’re solid together.

  9. Long Life Cats and Dogs

    January 30, 2013 at 12:47

    This internet world of ours has definitely made it harder to slow down. If there weren’t options to communicate at midnight, you would simply have to leave your place of work and only worry about it again tomorrow. It’s the one bad thing. Of course, I’d never want it to change because that would mean no blogging 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      January 30, 2013 at 23:49

      Yes, what would we do without blogging??? 😉

  10. Julie

    January 30, 2013 at 15:00


  11. fsujoha

    January 30, 2013 at 21:58

    I wish you the best in your efforts to slow down and unplug. I find I struggle with the same thing, I am the sole full-time staff member after school program for 350 refugee and immigrant students — someone needs something pretty much 24-7. Over the summer I moved to a community about 30 miles away (I used to have a 10 min walk to my office) which I have found to be very helpful, and for the first time in 6 years when I’m home, I’m home. A friend recently reminded me that when I’m not healthy and well I can not help my students and families, which is so very true. Good luck, and I hope you continue to share best practices 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      January 30, 2013 at 23:46

      Thank you so much! It is great that your move brought some serenity!

  12. The Siren's Tale

    January 30, 2013 at 22:32

    I work in higher education administration, so I can sympathize with the urge to never slow down. Although I’m new in the industry (my background is social services), I can honestly say — the only person who will be upset with you not overstretching yourself is you. Staff, faculty, and students will pick up on the positive change you may experience after unplugging a little bit… but I can’t imagine them turning around and saying “That so and so, can you believe it? He didn’t answer my email from 5:45pm until the next morning!” From one over-achiever to another, I will you some peace and the self-approval to slow down from doing everything.

  13. kevinat59

    January 31, 2013 at 00:38

    I need to do more of that Slowing down thing myself. Thanks for the like on my blog.

  14. lucie193

    January 31, 2013 at 09:32

    Couldn’t agree with you more. 7 days until 40 for me! It will soon be here 🙂

  15. kkrige

    February 4, 2013 at 21:58

    I am closing in on 40 myself and have been working on slowing down over the last little while also. You are very right in the restorative powers that down-time can bring. Good luck holding on to that.

    • 400daystil40

      February 4, 2013 at 23:26

      Thanks so much for visiting and for your kind words – good luck to you as you head into 40!!! 🙂

  16. simon7banks

    February 10, 2013 at 22:29

    I’ve been very committed to some jobs and also to political work, but I was always too much interested in nature – wildlife and scenery – to be unable to take genuine time off.

    There are some jobs where you’re never completely off-duty – doctor, journalist, police officer for example. You trust that if someone collapsed in the street a passing doctor hurrying to catch a train or a plane would stop, but (s)he won’t appreciate being asked about your aches and pains at a party.

    About 25 years ago, when most British buses still had conductors (someone other than the driver taking fares), the following happened in London. A passenger who probably had mental problems paid a fare, but stayed on the bus after the stop he’d specified. The conductor asked him for more money. The man stabbed him dead and jumped off the bus. On the bus was a German police officer on holiday. He jumped off the bus, pursued the man and brought him down. He was not only on holiday, but in a foreign country, but he still acted as a police officer.

    • 400daystil40

      February 11, 2013 at 22:49

      I can SOOOO relate to your comment! As an educator, I am NEVER off duty…. it makes for such a challenging career!


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