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Doctoral Journey Reflection W3

Hello again! If you’re just joining, for my Doctoral Seminar course, I am writing weekly (or bi-weekly reflections) on various topics related to my doctoral journey. If you are browsing this space... enjoy! I will try to keep them real and authentic (one of my core values), and I hope you learn a little more about me. This week's reflection is about work-life balance. Let's see what my brain has to say.

Reflect on how you currently manage your time and what a successful day looks like to you.

Set a goal to improve one aspect of work-life balance.

I used to be very bad at scheduling and to be honest, used to procrastinate a lot with assignments, projects, and tasks. My junior year of my undergraduate studies, I took a behavior change course that was required for my psychology degree. We had a semester-long project that was to target a specific goal and behavior that we would like to change. I decided to change my “procrastination.”

This book was my bible for a whole semester, and I’m sure my young college student self wasn’t very appreciative of this experience then. I worked on changing underlying pattern behaviors such as planning short and long-term tasks, setting goals, scheduling my days and weeks out, and rewarding my accomplishments. It was a long time coming, but I was able to change my behavior for the better. I’m still not perfect and will slip up every now and then, but for the most part, I have been pretty good! Now during my doctoral studies, if I didn’t have those skills, I would be struggling big time!

During my time at Idaho, my roles include full-time student, graduate support assistant for Vandal Health Education, instructor and teaching assistant for my MP, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association, part-time bicycle mechanic at Paradise Creek Bicycles, the occasional sport psychology consultant gigs, student delegate for my professional organization (AASP), husband, dog dad, and homeowner. Needless to say, I’m busy! During my “study breaks,” I am currently training for my first full Ironman triathlon. I have been training, coaching, and racing triathlon for about 8 years now, and have done numerous half-Ironman races. I told myself when I started my doctorate, that I wanted to train and complete a full Ironman race, and now is that time!

Dog Dad takes up a good amount of time! (left: Charlie, right: Tito)

With so many roles, a work-life-school balance is almost a requirement for me for my own sanity. I use Microsoft Outlook as my online calendar where everything goes on including my workouts. If it’s not on that calendar, then I will most likely forget or miss it. For my triathlon workouts, I am training about 8-13 hours per week, and I use a training software called Training Peaks to make sure I am on track with that. My workout times are times for me to either “shut off” my brain, or if I’m on the indoor bike trainer, I will read required textbook readings for the week.

When it comes to time with Erin, my wife, it means technology shut-off times, morning coffee time, nightly dinners together, and weekend dates. We both lead pretty busy lives, so we try to spend time together when we can. A successful day for me is when I can do all of my “event” style tasks (meetings, class, teaching), get my workout(s) in for the day, and complete my priority tasks done for the day. I have all of my weekly school and work-related tasks written out on my notepad, and I usually mark a few of them that I want to get done that day.

With all of this being said, I do need to have more unproductive days. I have recently measured my success by completing things and getting s#*t done. But there can also be value in “shutting off” and not doing anything at all. I know that it can be unhealthy to go, go, go all day long, and I need to be okay with slowing down more often. This is a goal that I have is to have a day where I don’t have a “to-do” list on my mind and can just chill all day! Maybe I will take a day this next week… or maybe I’ll wait until Spring Break 😊 We will see!


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