Connecting Comes in Many Forms

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This past weekend I did something I honestly don't remember the last time doing: I used vacation time in the middle of the school year!  My son had a four day weekend.  Our school had a three day weekend.  I took a four day weekend.  And WOW!  What a difference it made.

We can always make an argument for staying at the office another hour.  We can always justify working into the wee-hours to catch up on those last few emails or finalize tomorrow's meeting.  But that can take a toll.  And it was taking a toll.  I was not as productive, tasks were taking twice as long, things were falling off my radar, causing the infamous "fire drill" every day.  On top of that my son was making comments like: "I wish you would just go back to teaching so I could spend more time with you."  Ugh!  How do you argue with that one?

So this weekend I made a conscious decision to lighten up on my connecting with colleagues and my PLN and instead focus on connecting with my family.  If you knew me, you would be asking me how long this somewhat self-imposed vacation lasted.  And you would be right to ask.  I am not good with just "being".  I always have 17 irons in the fire.  But the weekend could not have been better.  I had time to play with my son, hang out with my husband, take care of mundane tasks like pay bills--you know, those pesky ones that don'e have the auto-pay option available yet.  I slept in, took naps, lolled on the couch getting an overdose of post-season baseball, read for pleasure (sorry Zite) and enjoyed every minute.  And what was interesting was that I didn't really feel with-drawls from not remaining connected to my PLN, my Twitter feed, my Google+ communities or my LinkedIn discussions.  In many ways, taking the time to unplug from the outside and plug in to my family was incredibly freeing.  So what if my Klout score dropped.  Just like we tell our students who don't ace a test, "It's not the end of the world!"

Today when I returned to work, I was refreshed, rejuvenated, and most of all rested.  I know that I can't take this kind of time every week.  But it was an excellent lesson in in the importance of connecting with myself and my family on a regular basis.  I know that I was more productive at work today than I have been in quite a while.  I also know that I was more present to my family at the end of the day than I have ben in quite a while.

Finding and maintaining that balance is challenging for anyone in education and I certainly have a long way to go.  However, I am going to draw on this long weekend and remind myself that it's o.k. to take time for myself on occasion.  Reconnecting with "me" is just as important as connecting with everyone else out there.  And the beauty is that my PLN, my Twitter feed, my LinkedIn conversations, my Zite feed, my Voxer groups are all still there waiting for me to jump back in when I am ready.  So during Connected Educator Month, I would make an argument for making sure that you are connecting with all the important stakeholders in your world, including(perhaps most importantly) yourself.  You will be glad you did.


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