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Best Practices: Setting Boundaries and Being Productive

An example of the small, but generative, changes that individual faculty can make to practice guerrilla health (i.e., develop a healthy productivity even in an organizational culture that is hostile to it) involves discreetly setting new boundaries for some practice such as processing e-mail. In a workshop, one faculty member testified to the incredibly positive ripple effects of simply not answering e-mail on Saturday mornings. In the same workshop, another faculty member was so impressed with the pleasing outcomes of this modest, doable boundary setting, that he declared that he would try for one week not working after dinner on Wednesday nights to see what the effect of this mid-week break would be. Usually when faculty try these mini-experiments in boundary adjustment, they find that nothing bad happens even though all those years they had feared the worst.

These ideas about faculty health are not just for faculty but also for organizational leaders. A department chair recognized the power of departmental culture to influence individual experience and wanted to use that power to encourage healthy productivity among her faculty. Rather than normalizing overload, she wanted to “abnormalize” it. So she purchased copies of Making Time, Making Change for each of her 29 faculty, asked me to facilitate a workshop on the book, and consistently made it clear that healthy productivity was a core value in her administration which would be supported and rewarded. Along similar lines of systemic intervention, I have had the president of a distinguished liberal arts college with 110 full-time faculty participate in a half-day workshop and go forth enthusiastically with all kinds of ideas of what he could do to encourage healthy productivity at his college.

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Published In

16-Feb-08


Thriving in Academe

  • anc_dyn_linksFeeling Overloaded?
  • anc_dyn_linksTales from Real Life: Searching for Answers
  • anc_dyn_linksOverload Epidemic!?!
  • anc_dyn_linksBest Practices: Setting Boundaries and Being Productive
  • anc_dyn_linksIssues to Consider: Overcoming Resistance
  • anc_dyn_linksReferences & Resources

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