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New Academic Year’s Resolutions

My main resolution for this academic year is more personal than professional, but I think it could have benefits for both areas of my life. I started this week turning my phone off beginning right before dinner until after my kids are in bed. I have to say that it’s been extremely liberating and has definitely allowed me to focus more on what I’m doing during those hours and spend that time truly being with my family without distractions. The reality is that it’s about a 2-3-hour time span and having that break from technology is important in so many ways. It’s only been several days so far, but I’m going to do my best to keep it up.

And though it’s been a resolution of mine for several years, I’m adding social media to my list again. I realize its power, but somehow learning how to use it most efficiently and keeping up with the latest changes tend to get put on the back burner. This year, I’m going to try and keep it more top of mind, utilize it more, experiment a bit and hopefully get better.

My academic resolution is a bit of personal one, too. It sounds cliché but I need to exercise more, whether it’s going for a run, doing yoga or taking the dog for a walk. Taking a break actually improves your productivity and has been known to cure writer’s block (Ali told me so). Working from home, you are not running around campus from meeting to meeting or taking a reporter to an interview, so after a little more than a year at TVP Comms, I know I have to start getting more active. Especially since I’m not going to give up chocolate!

Since I know you all are wondering, did I keep my resolutions from last year? I’m proud to report that since I’ve started working from home, I’ve put on jeans or shorts every single day. (Unless I was sick, of course!) #nosweatpantshere

My goal for the coming academic year is to set aside time to allow myself to be creative. So much of communications is tied to creativity—whether through our choice of words or the connections we can make with the media. Cristal, Kristine and I are scheduling time to brainstorm pitches, outlets and reporters. I value that time together—sometimes we are goofy, sometimes focused but I always leave those calls feeling energized and smarter. I’m also going to set aside time to write for our blog and the Call to Action blog. There is something therapeutic about summarizing our work into bite-sized takeaways that can help our colleagues. Or, sometimes it’s fun just to make connections between our work and social trends.

One of my resolutions for this academic year is to continue to manage my daily news intake. It’s getting harder and harder to tune the news out, especially because it’s a necessary part of communications. But it’s equally necessary to take a break from it. I’ve been shutting off Twitter for stretches during the day, I try to only turn on the news to watch specific things, and I aim to get through my morning newsletters in one (short) go. And then after work, I shut everything off—no alerts, no news, no conversations ABOUT the news. But, it’s hard to completely sign off and tune out, even for short periods of time, and so this year I’m committing to keeping up with that effort, and hopefully find ways to make it easier. (For example, I’m definitely stealing Kristine’s phone strategy to try!)

Another kind of silly goal for this academic year is to get out more. Since I don’t live near any coworkers, and I don’t travel too much, I sometimes get a little stir crazy in the house. So even if it’s just a quick walk around the block or working at the library or a café instead of my house, I think a change in venue will help keep me focused and creative.

My goal for the new academic year is to be a bit more thoughtful about how I structure my mornings. Because I work from home, I often find that I roll out of bed, start the coffee maker, and head straight to the laptop, essentially starting my workday about five minutes after getting up. This year, I want to build in time for exercise (yoga and running), pleasure reading, or coffee on my roof deck before launching my day. I think I will be able to keep my energy and focus strong through the day if I’m more mindful about how I start it.