Lean On People….Because They Are Leaning On You!

So...I have just came off of my first proper session of 2021 where I set goals, stuck to them and I feel productive. I hope the feeling lasts but I know that it may not and I have to embrace this.

This term has been tough. Really bloody tough.

Leading a faculty remotely, with increased pressure from national and local government to “up our game” in the digital provision and the lack of clarity of where we are going when it comes to exams has been like trudging through thick mud. Something more akin to my Spartan races. I am exhausted. My staff are exhausted. Everyone is working as hard as they can to give the best for our young people.

My #StrathEdD work has taken a back seat and with a formative feedback loop becoming a closer deadline than I comfortable with, I have joined the Saturday morning writing group organised by the amazing Lorna Anderson. This is a really supportive group which is informally formal (is this a thing?). It allowed me to set a goal, and then gave me time to stick to it, and then come back to report to the group.

At first, I tidied up my office (one of my classic procrastination tactics). “It really needs done” is what I kept telling myself. So I did that. I then went for another coffee. “I really need this” is what I tell myself. I then looked at the time and 20 minutes of my first hour had gone! I really needed to get on as I couldn’t go back to the group with nothing to show for my efforts other than a tidy office!

And with a target of screening my articles through their abstracts, I set to work. Having a target to get to and having the social pressure not to fail led me to finding the motivation to keep going. Then what happened? I actually became engrossed in it all and didn’t want to stop.

This is the stage that I love of academia. I always find starting the hardest. Then I get into it (often after an hour or two) and I don’t want to stop often at the most inappropriate times as I only have a couple of hours to spare and the motivation comes too late. I love the feeling of getting engrossed in a task, reading research, finding differences of opinion and generally getting involved in all things academia.

Seeing everyone’s faces, hearing stories and sharing our progress at the end of the session was great. I managed to get to my target and start writing this post and I was chuffed to tell everyone. It was also refreshing to hear from others who hadn’t quite made their targets and that it was okay. “You are further than you were at 10am”. Lorna’s encouragement echoing the thoughts of all others.

I have learnt a valuable lesson today. I may have already knew this but it is certainly brighter lesson now more than ever. If I am going to get through the work of this EdD, as well as balance my professional life and my personal life, I need to

”Lean on others….because they are leaning on you”

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