Time for You — R Voice

Time for You

Does anyone ever feel time-warping itself when you're busy?


I feel like I'm always working towards a goal or a deadline, and when I come up for air I feel like so much time has passed. I love my work, my research, and I make sure to spend as much time with family and indulge in my hobbies as I can, but I wonder if this is a phenomenon experienced by those of us who are goal orientated and part of the 'academic life'?


Hope you're all keeping safe and well! :) And remember; you cannot pour from an empty cup, so make sure you're looking after yourself. 

Comments

  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 145 admin

    Hi @Hollie McDonnell - thanks for this. You've perfectly encapsulated how I feel, and I'm not even an academic :-)

    I think this is a phenomenon of people who are emotionally attached to their work, regardless of field. You are fascinated by it, and want to know everything and add to this communal wisdom - but it's hard to do that to the extent you want to and walk the dogs/load the dishwasher/make dinner for the kids etc.

    I've got better at focus recently. Spending less time prevaricating, on social media, doing more 'background' reading and setting micro goals for myself (using the Pomodoro method). It's easy to say I'm going to process my emails as far as I can in 25 minutes, then switch to something else. Otherwise I get distracted by what's in there and can spend way longer than I needed to on that job (meaning all others get squeezed too).

    It's not perfect, but it's a 'sufficing problem' - any improvement is good.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 581 admin
    edited October 21

    Thanks for putting this out here @Hollie McDonnell. It's so relatable! Like Chris said, it's almost like you're perfectly describing how I feel. Especially in a WFH setting, I often feel like time and the day is getting away from me. Then I'll suddenly look up from my laptop and it's no longer daylight.

    I feel like this happened much lesser when I was working at the office and was around colleagues that would take me along on coffee breaks or remind me to eat lunch on time. I'm pretty bad at sticking to a schedule when it comes to these things if I'm left alone.

    This probably does happen more often to goal-oriented and driven people. I feel like maybe it's also because we overcommit on our to-do lists for any given day and want to do a whole lot more than is possible in the available time. So maybe it always feels like we're racing against the clock?

    Lately, I've been trying to be strict with myself and at least do coffee/tea breaks at a set time and I also try to shut shop at a reasonable time. I usually workout after work and it's a pretty rigorous schedule so that helps me ensure that I'm not working more hours than I should. It also helps me REALLY disconnect from my work because of all the physical movement.

    Do you have something you do to help strike a good balance?

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 581 admin
  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 60 ✭✭✭

    Thanks, @Hollie McDonnell , for sharing this. Thanks to @Andrea Hayward and @chris leonard for your contributions. I agree with @chris leonard that "it is a phenomenon of people who are emotionally attached to their work, regardless of field". Time flies when you are busy with something that is a passion. At times, when I am glued to doing something that has captured my attention, I would love to get it through without knowing I have spent so much time. Like yesterday, I was so glued to the work to the extent that I forgot I did not have my meal! 🙈 It's good doing something that one is passionate about. This is justice, going by Plato's definition: doing what one is best fitted!

    One thing at a time

  • Adaora Anyichie - Odis
    Adaora Anyichie - Odis Member Posts: 102 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @Hollie McDonnell and @Andrea Hayward I honestly do not like keeping my work undone when a due date is involved. However their are situations that can arise and put me on my toes like I felt from October 7th - October 13th when my husband travelled leaving me alone with 3 children 9, 6 and 2 years old. I had deadlines from 3 different online courses. I survived

    @andreadyanne azores

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 342 ✭✭✭✭

    YES! @Hollie McDonnell - it's like your post is written just for me about how my life feels sometimes in research/academia. Thank you @Andrea Hayward for tagging me in this thread.

    It's really tough to remember that I am a person outside of academia/my job sometimes. Especially when my mind is swamped with all the things I am trying to do/feeling guilty about not doing/planning to do to try and be successful. Even when I try to relax and take a holiday or just spend an evening with my husband my mind is on work or my career and what I could be doing to get to the next step.

    I find a mindful (but physically intense) yoga practice at the end of my work day is wonderful to break that cycle a bit. Once yoga is done, all things work related for the day are done. If anything comes to mind, it is written down in my notebook to be dealt with the following day.

    There are weeks that I look back on and wonder where the time had gone? What have I achieved? Whereas others, that I wonder how I even had time to eat because of what I've done. You're right, I totally agree with your sentiment that we can now pour from an empty cup. Personally, I think the key is balance..to go with the ebb and flow of academic life. BUT, I realise as I write that it makes it sound so easy...if only it were! I think keeping these thoughts in the conscious mind is the way to go..

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 581 admin

    @Omololu FAGBADEBO True, doing something one feels passionate or strongly about is invigorating! And it's probably what keeps us going. I'd like to share one tip that helps me. If I know I'm in for a busy week or know I'll probably lose track of time because of the kind of work I'm doing, I block 20-30 minutes on my calendar for lunch or another meal break or add a reminder on my phone. This way, even if I forget, the reminders are front and center and I can take the necessary breaks. Maybe this might work for you as well? 🙂

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 581 admin

    @Shruti Turner this is so relatable! "Even when I try to relax and take a holiday...my mind is on work or my career and what I could be doing to get to the next step." I've been feeling this a lot lately and I find my mind wandering about what my next goals or steps should be. I am extremely hard on myself sometimes and think to myself "Okay you're here. Big whoop 🙄 now what? Do you even know what you want to do? There's so much more you could be doing!" I know that this is very negative self-talk and I'm not ashamed to admit that I don't get it right every single day. But I'm trying.

    I'm so glad you mentioned yoga! I'm new to it and as a former critic, I couldn't have been more wrong about yoga. Now even if I spend 10 minutes doing a quick slow flow session after a walk or workout, it leaves me feeling truly relaxed and calm. I've realized that there's not much you can think or worry about when you have to focus on breathing and breathe deliberately. This has helped me immensely and I try to practice yoga at least 3 times a week now.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 60 ✭✭✭

    Thank you, @Andrea Hayward . I appreciate this counsel. I will try to explore that. Thanks.

    One thing at a time

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 342 ✭✭✭✭

    It's such a tough spot to be in...I know I should be doing better with work/life balance and taking time for me..but then I struggle and feel the guilt and then I get stressed about it which leads me to have a poorer balance and the cycle goes on.

    I feel we should not be too hard on ourselves..this mentality has come from somewhere and I believe there is a mixture of nature and nurture as they say. Some may be just the type of person we are due to genes etc. but also I think that it is due to the mentality of those around us in our formative years. I found that my family at times had a mentality (and still do) of what next? What are you doing that will help you? How is what you're doing now going to help you? etc. etc.

    I feel that guilt so much...even if I feel like I want to change career path, I feel like I'm going to be a failure (even if I'm not!) The questions of well why did you do a PhD? The judgement that if I'd started a job after my taught degrees I would be well into a career by now.

    "I'm new to it and as a former critic, I couldn't have been more wrong about yoga." - this is where I was with yoga and then I did and mind blown!! Your reasons for how it helps, are exactly mine too. I can't just "chill" and forget, I need something to focus on that is also calming. I wish I'd started sooner in so many ways. I think the right type of yoga finds us at the right time. We have to have the right mindset to allow it to "work". If that makes any sense?! I just don't think that yoga would have worked for me if my head wasn't in it. It's not a very scientific or rational mindset....

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 225 admin

    @Hollie McDonnell I feel seen. I think you've articulated EXACTLY how I feel especially during the busiest phases. I don't even realize that I've not only plunged but meandered into some depths while working. And this happens mostly with projects I'm very passionate about or things that're totally manual/mundane. It's terrible that I don't realize this when it happens and I just can't explain how time just got away from me. I then get pretty unforgiving - feel useless and being calm doesn't come easily. I've tried a few things to try and not get lost but it's a process. ☺️

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 204 admin

    Jumping in late into this conversation - this resonates so well with me! For me, it comes with a never ending cycle of guilt. When I'm working too hard, I feel guilty that I'm not making time for my family or myself, and when the scales are tipped even so slightly towards personal life, I keep questioning myself - am I doing enough at work? Sigh! Don't know how to stop that perpetual negative chatter in my head! :/