University of Wisconsin–Madison
Providing central coordination for the undergraduate advising and career services communities

Using time strategically during the Fall 2020 semester

In the advising and career services communities, it can often be in our nature to want to help more, give more, and to be more involved. While this inherent generosity and drive is something that can be of benefit to ourselves and others, especially during times of crisis, it can work against us and the communities we serve too. And as the challenges continue in Fall 2020, we’ve noticed that it’s become increasingly important to strategically save time for the unexpected, as well as rejuvenation and recovery from stress.

Many of us, to varying degrees, have experienced periods of time when our back-to-back schedules leave us skipping lunch, working into the night, and squeezing 10 minute meetings in between appointments. But this isn’t sustainable long-term.

With that in mind, we are encouraging all members of the advising and career services community, whenever possible, to safeguard time in their schedules to be able to think strategically and to actively pursue self-care. We are hopeful that supervisors of advising and career services staff will encourage this within their respective units too.

We also humbly offer three potential practices for strategically carving out time:

  1. Practice defensive calendaring. Block off time in your calendar, maybe even months in advance, for projects that come out of nowhere, learning new information, training on new tools, and taking in all the change happening around us. You can indicate that this block of time is ‘Tentative’ in Outlook so your colleagues know they can schedule over it if absolutely necessary. You can always delete the holds on your calendar if you no longer need them.
  2. Try scheduling 45 minute meetings instead of one hour. 15 minutes between meetings might just be enough time to catch up on those lingering emails or take a much needed computer break with time to breathe and stretch between commitments.
  3. Strategically blocking time to digest new information and updates. There is a lot changing with how we all do our jobs and how the university will look this fall semester. Preserving 15-30 minutes to review websites, emails and articles with important updates at the beginning and end of each day could save time later on..

We understand the demands of student appointments, meetings, and personal commitments are intense – yet we still encourage you to try these approaches if you haven’t already. Remember that taking time to care for yourself and to strategically plan will directly and positively impact the quality of care you can extend to students.

We also know that different strategies work for different people! And we welcome you to share your strategies with us at info@advising.wisc.edu.

With great respect and gratitude for all that you do on campus and beyond. –OUA