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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Work and Non-Work time

It's been said that people generally pursue opportunities during their leisure, non-work hours, that are quite different from their workplace environments and roles. For example, someone who operates in a work climate that is rich in human interactions (intense traffic with people on work teams or in a human service agency serving countless people) is likely to invest their time out of work on solitary or more relaxed activities, like hiking, gardening, relaxing and listening to music, photography.... Conversely, someone who spends eight hours confined at work in a cubicle laboring on paperwork, phone calls and individual tasks may spend their off-work hours in a group oriented activity, like team sports or group recreational experiences, or social gatherings, like book clubs or church groups.

Naturally, this Blog perspective was intended as a general observation that is certainly not universal. However, as I examine how my work time and leisure time I have found one explanation that may support the distinctions between the two points.

Most of my decisions as a superintendent are based on long-term issues. For instance, selecting a textbook series or developing an operating budget or hiring a staff member are all decisions that represent long-term investments and do not produce immediate results. It will be years before we can categorically state that the new texts have improved achievement or the budget will further our pursuit of our mission or the staff member will positively impact performance levels of others.

On the other hand, I find myself choosing to immerse myself, or prefer to immerse myself, in activities outside of work that are much more short term, which also provide more immediate feedback. That is, there is no question after a sporting event whether you or your team were successful or not. Likewise, at the end of an exhausting day of work around the house (painting the exterior of the house, planting shrubs, fixing a broken item) you can readily assess and quantify your progress and realize a sense of achievement without having to wait months and years to determine outcomes. It's rewarding to be able to check off tasks from a to-do list and realize closure - all in one day instead of waiting on and wondering about the outcomes of decisions.

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