Happy New Year!

2018 is here and I have spent a good amount of time over the holidays resting and recuperating from a full and amazing 2017. Learning how to rest at strategic points was one of my newly implemented goals in 2017 and ending it the way I did with plenty of "me time" was an incredible way to put into practice what I had set out to change. 

I don't tend to set New Years' resolutions since for me New Years actually comes in the middle of my work year. But because I have been given the chance to be quiet, reflect, rest, and rejuvenate myself for a week, I did take the opportunity to include necessary tasks and some new self care routines into my calendar for the next semester.

Intense Scheduling
First off, let's just say that it is going to be a nice full one as I will be picking up some extra teaching duties this semester. My research might not get the full attention that I have been able to give it over the last year, but I think that there is still room for me to include plenty of it–I just have to schedule it in and make it a non negotiable. 

For my teaching obligations, I have taken my syllabi and tasked out each class and assignment thoroughly in my Things task manager. By doing this, I have daily reminders for when I have scheduled to do different tasks that must get done. These tasks include class preparation, grading assignments, and preparing exams. I have then taken the tasks and put them into my calendar blocking out the amount of time I think it will take me to accomplish them. If I stick to my scheduled appointments, I should have no problem feeling on top of what needs to happen.

I am finishing up one project and really need to start putting together thoughts for a new one soon. During the month of January, I intend to get a start on the new one by setting up a new Scrivner folder and gathering the materials I will need for the year-long project.

Taking Care of Myself
One thing that I started to be more aware of in 2017 was to take care of my self. Maintaining two jobs is intense and require me to give a lot in several different ways. When I don't have anything to give because I have neglected to take care of my own needs, I cannot do my job properly. It seems obvious but it is actually so easy to let things get out of control. To make sure that I maintain a healthy balance, I am making new appointments with myself by finding and scheduling "me time" again more strategically. 

Around my senior year in college, I picked up a habit of designating "Elina days" where I could do whatever I wanted but the day had to include something fun and something educational that was not related to what I would normally come across in my day to day living. I kept this up for about two years and then graduate school happened and somehow this went out with a few other things that were healthy practices. Now I am trying to bring aspects of what I learned nearly 10 years ago back into my life. 

My fiancĂ© and I keep a list of museums or cultural events we attend that aren't related to our daily work which is very similar to what I used to do right after college. The effort to find a new thing to experience and bring into our lives on a monthly basis has been a really fun way to stay engaged with the world around us and open our minds to new ideas and possibilities. While continuing to spend time on this fun activity, my newly incorporated "me time" in my calendar includes yoga at least once a week. 

Moving Forward
In some ways, I am nervous for this upcoming semester mostly because I know how much work it will be for me to get through everything that has filled the weeks in my calendar already. In other ways, my approach to every task is strategic and has a clear purpose to it. I believe that this is what will drive forward the first five months of 2018.

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