Showing posts with label WorkLifeBalance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WorkLifeBalance. Show all posts

Monday, September 1, 2014

Work-Life Balance for Higher Education Professionals - Limiting E-mail from 8-5

This academic year, I focused on the importance of work life balance. When I began my current role, I was known for sending e-mail at 3am or 4am in the morning when I could not rest and for sending e-mail during peak hours of the weekend.

THEN it dawned on me, I was not promoting positive work-life balance for the team or for myself.

The team works so hard for the students, faculty, and staff at our campus that it is only right to respect their weekend and nights with their families (or time spent on hobbies).

No E-mail Outside of the Typical Workday to Promote Work-Life Balance...
Now, I do not send any e-mail outside of the 8-5 workday unless an emergency arises or if an important report is due and I need questions answered at the last minute.

Still Working...
However, I do work on e-mail on the weekend and I save each "to be sent" message in my drafts folder and I send the e-mails to the team early on Monday morning.

A Work in Progress...
This is one practice that I will definitely have to modify, because it could feel alarming to the team if they receive four e-mail messages from me at 8am in the morning. I plan to only send one message at a time (if they are not urgent) during certain time intervals in the morning.

Looking for More...
I definitely want to respect work balance for the team as well as myself. Therefore, I need to look for more practices that will contribute to a positive work environment.

Additional ideas?

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU

Monday, January 2, 2012

Keeping a High Level of Motivation in 2012! - My Goals for 2012 (Reflections from 2011)


Happy NEW YEAR! I am energized, excited, and ELATED to spend this next year in higher education (and blogging). During the weekend, I started thinking about my goals (research, teaching, and blogging goals) for 2012!

2012 Goal #1 - Keep a steady focus on my research interests (social media and organizations, communication technology, work-life balance of the millennial generation) and write at least one journal article every three months (a minimum of four in total by December 31, 2012).

2012 Goal #2 - Keep a high-level of organization in my personal and professional lives. Using my Google Calendar, personal labeler, color-coded file folders, and Post-it notes will definitely help me to keep my life organized.

2012 Goal #3 - Involve at least 100 students in undergraduate research endeavors (inside and outside of the classroom environment). At least three of these students' papers need to be accepted for publication.

2012 Goal #4 - Take some time for myself. I love gardening and reading non-fiction books, but sometimes my professional life takes priority over these simple pleasures. I need to carve some time in my schedule for those tasks that help me to reduce my stress.

2012 Goal #5 (Goal Extension from 2011) - To promote my blog and to gain at least 50 additional followers. (I will need some help with this one).

2012 Goal #6 (Goal Extension from 2011) - To promote my business and to gain at least 5 additional speaking engagements this year.

2012 Goal #7 (Goal Extension from 2011) - To lose at least 10 pounds by next December 

Here are my goals from last year (2011)...

New Year's Goal #1 - To write at least one journal article every two months.
Done! Four of the articles were published this year! I am very thankful!

New Year's Goal #2 - To read at least one non-fiction book a week.
Done! I LOVE non-fiction books and there are MANY new books focused on organic gardening.

New Year's Goal #3 - To promote my blog and to gain at least 50 additional followers. (I will need some help with this one).
Not complete. I created a Facebook page this year, but I need to gain more additional followers, but I still think that this is an attainable goal.

New Year's Goal #4 - To promote my business and to gain at least 5 additional speaking engagements this year.
Not complete. I enjoyed traveling to various conferences this year and reviewing Adobe products, but I am interested in working with some additional companies and affiliate programs. Any suggestions?

New Year's Goal #5 - To lose at least 10 pounds by next December (to accomplish this, I am giving up bread for Lent and beyond)...
Due to unforeseen circumstances and LOTS of work, I am definitely planning to reach this goal by June 2012, but we shall see! ;)


J. Edwards

Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Finals Prep-Week! - The Long-Semester To Do List

I am very excited about next week...finals week! While preparing for finals week, I have to persist through my end-of-the-semester to do list. This list usually includes:

- Saving several blackboard data files in PDF format.
- Clean my office "pantry" (a clear Rubbermaid box with snacks) and refrigerator.
- Finish grading extra credit assignments.
- Distribute pre-finals grades to students.
- Return library books and other "borrowed" items.
- Save blackboard courses and place data back into the course repository.
- Plan the Communication Department's Winter Party.

What is on your end-of-the-semester to do list?


J. Edwards

Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healthy Meals for Professors-on-the-Go (4/5) - Academic Travel and Cooking in Your Hotel Room/Eating Between Conference Sessions


Every year, I present sessions for at least five to six local, regional, and national conferences. Fortunately, our university offers a slight amount of funding for academic travel, but the other sources of funding have to be either funded by external grants or our personal funds. During my first year out of graduate school, my family had to drastically reduce our personal household budget to accommodate my conference travel. As a result, I have had to adopt a very frugal lifestyle when it comes to attending academic conferences. However, this year I have to focus on living a frugal, yet healthy lifestyle when attending my conferences.

Usually, I travel with the following items:

- At least five pieces of fruit and veggies (bell pepper, avocado, bananas, grapes, etc.)
- A plastic bag filled with Planters Nut-rition goodies!
- A plastic bag filled with five or more Honey 
Ginseng Green Tea packets from the Republic of Tea.
- Instant soup and oatmeal packets.
- An empty reusable bottle.
- Kashi Granola Bars
- My hubby's Texas A&M Coffee Mug (great for instant soup and oatmeal)

This instant breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner kit helps me survive the long conference days and the equally long grading sessions at night for my online classes. It is very interesting how some professors stop communicating with their students and grading papers when attending academic conferences. I set boundaries with e-mail response times and I might have to alter my virtual office hours, but I never stop communicating with students (even when my schedule becomes quite hectic).

Recently, I started exploring additional ways to become more productive in my hotel room while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some great (yet extreme) videos focused on how to cook in a hotel room. Some of these might be great for you! :)


J. Edwards

Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Healthy Meals for Professors-on-the-Go (3/5) - Wandering Wednesdays - The Healthy Professor Blog


Today's Wandering Wednesday's post is focused on "The Healthy Professor Blog". This blog is written by Dr. Nina Marinello for one of her local newspaper's websites. She is the Chair of Nutrition at the Sage Colleges and her posts focus on her classroom, her personal (and healthy) interests, and several tips for the community!

One of her most recent posts is titled "Fatigue, Food, and Friday". Here's the funny thing, I experience this phenomenon every Friday. During my 3pm slump, I have to find some nourishment and my body says...SOMETHING WITH SUGAR PLEASE! So, lately, I have been prepared to answer this daily message from my body with grapes and a cup of green tea.

I can tell that she LOVES her job, but I realize that sometimes we can become so focused on our work that we forget to eat and our bodies can definitely remind us of our mishap by growling or completing shutting down at 3pm/5pm. I can relate to many of her messages and I hope that she will continue posting messages to this blog!

Here's one of her most recent video-based posts. My husband LOVED the video and he plans to use it in his Biology classroom.


J. Edwards

Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Healthy Meals for Professors-on-the-Go (2/5) - Quick and Easy Recipes in a Mug!


Lately, I have been eating breakfast (usually two slices of cheese toast and a glass of water) in the car while commuting to work. However, by 9:00 a.m., my body has used all of the energy from the cheese toast and I am hungry again. So, my doctor wants for me to integrate more protein in the morning to avoid any negative health consequences in the morning. So, my husband and I decided that I need more eggs and peanut butter.

Here's a recipe that I am definitely going to try this week! It is called the Microwave Egg Scramble and I can make it in my office before my morning classes!

recipe image

This recipe is from the Incredible Edible Egg website:

Ingredients Needed:

2 Eggs
2 Tbsp Milk
2 Tbsp Shredded Cheddar Cheese


  1. COAT 12-oz. microwave-safe coffee mug with cooking spray. ADD eggs and milk; beat until blended.
  2. MICROWAVE on HIGH 45 seconds; stir. MICROWAVE until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
  3. TOP with cheese; season with salt and pepper.
Also, here are some additional "egg mug" recipes from the Hungry Girl website:

- All-American Egg Mug

- Egg Bene-Chick Mug

- The Hungry Girl Special Egg Mug

  • Enjoy!

  • J. Edwards
    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Healthy Meals for Professors-on-the-Go (1/5) - Stocking Your Office with Healthy Snacks for Your Busy Lifestyle


    This semester, my health goals have focused on eating fruits, veggies, and fast/healthy goods in my office while working on my action items for the week. For the first few weeks, I started the backwards slide towards sugary items after the 3pm office slump. However, this week I started the week on the right foot and I brought several healthy items to the office including the following:

    - Justin's Almond Nut Butter (Small Packages)
    - Kashi Pita Crackers (A GREAT product!)
    - Planter's Nutrition Mix
    - Green Grapes, Red Plums, and Avocados
    - Two Lean Cuisines - my fridge can only hold TWO meals :(
    - A Large Bottle of Ozarka

    As you can see, this week is dedicated to educators who are actively seeking more energy and small start towards living a healthy lifestyle when they have limited time to do so. This week, look forward to several quick tips and recipes focused on fast meals that you can integrate into your morning and afternoon routines.



    J. Edwards
    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Faculty Work-Life Balance Series (4/5) - Yoga and Higher Education (Celebrating National Yoga Month)!

    I am excited to tell announce that this month is National YOGA month! This exciting because many Yoga studios are offering FREE classes this month! Enter your information in the National Yoga Month website to find classes near you!

    This summer, I started practicing yoga to become more flexible (I hate injuries), to gain a stronger focus on my work and family life, and to minimize the impact of stress on my life. Life for faculty and students is a hard life and many people outside of higher education do not realize the stress level of both of these groups.
    Through yoga, I have met a wonderful group of older and younger women (and men) who embrace fitness and health. The older women use the balance balls in the back of the room and the rest of us are on double-mats. I try to avoid double-mats, but the nice women who are taking the class with me make sure that I have an additional mat before the class begins. God bless them!
    During the summer, we had 105+ days in July and August and this prevented me from walking to the local gym to persist through my yoga class. However, the meteorologists predict that September is the month to expect cooler weather (and possibly rain). So, later this month, I plan to continue my yoga journey and to meet my old (no pun intended) friends again.

    Do you practice yoga or another fitness activities to relieve your stressful days? Please share! :)


    J. Edwards

    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Faculty Work-Life Balance Series (2/5) - Tips for Faculty Work-Life Balance (A Few Neat Resources)


    Work-life balance is one of my favorite subjects to research in my organizational communication endeavors. I usually research millennial employees and their perceptions of work-life balance, but I really think that I should apply the work-life balance research and issues to my own life. 

    Here's a great TED video from Nigel Marsh on How to Make Work-Life Balance Work:

    If you need to discover exactly HOW MUCH time you are spending on each of your daily activities, here's a neat calculator from CNN:

    Also, CNN has a neat quiz focused on Weisure (the combination between work and play):

    Here are a few additional resources that would help male and female faculty members survive the work-life balancing act. 

    San Francisco State University - Top Ten Tips on Finding Personal and Professional Balance 

    A More Family-Friendly Ivory Tower

    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Faculty Work-Life Balance Series (1/5) - 10 Ways to De-Stress This Semester!!


    This semester (and other semesters) are usually filled with stress (at one time or another). This year, I plan to minimize my stress as much as I possibly can by doing the following: practicing yoga, eating healthy foods, maintaining an increased level of organization between work and home, attending church, and maintaining a positive attitude. 

    In addition, the local public library is sponsoring a reading challenge for adults during the fall semester and I cannot wait to start reading my fiction and non-fiction books related to non-academic issues (a slight break). I plan to read at least one book a week (or every two weeks). We shall see!

    During the labor day weekend, I started planning my fall garden and reading the forgotten magazines from the summertime. I am finally finished reading my issues of Self, Glamour, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Inc. (one of my favorites), and Woman's Day. I enjoy reading magazines because this slight break enables me to refocus on my academic schedule during the week. 

    In the September 2011 issue of Self, there was a great mini-article titled, "Self's 10 Quickie Ways to...Get Rid of Your Stress". Here are the quickie ways:

    1 - Download the Just Inhale App (4.5/5 Stars)
    This app is FREE and it encourages users to practice several breathing exercises.
    Breathing Zone Free - Relaxing Breathing Exercises

    2 - Chomp on Chocolate

    3 - Strike a Yoga Pose
    *Oh yeah, this month is also National Yoga Month. Find a FREE Yoga class near you!

    4 - Say NO! 
    *This semester is going to be an extremely busy semester for me and my daily mantra is focused on the word, "no". I will NOT do anything that will not benefit my tenure portfolio this year.

    5 - Give Back by Volunteering
    *As academics, I think that we have the volunteer aspect covered, but just in case you need some additional service on your plate, you can search for local volunteer opportunities on

    6 - Pucker Up
    *Kisses actually help humans release feel-good hormones. :)

    7 - Play Away Angst (DOWNLOAD a GAME)! :)
    *Right now, I love the Angry Birds Game - Rio Edition. :)

    8 - Light a Lavender Candle
    *I love lavender, but unfortunately we are not able to have candles in our offices. As a result, I purchased a few Glade Sense and Spray devices which spray a beautiful fragrance when I enter my office in the morning. In addition, this device is GREAT when a student enters the office as well. Sniffing lavender can help us lower levels of stress-related chemicals. :)

    9 - Plan a Vacay
    *This is one thing that I have NOT planned this semester. Most of my travel plans involve academic travel. I need to plan a short vacay for a few days around Thanksgiving. Any ideas?

    10 - Pet a Pooch
    *Our family has a miniature schnauzer that makes our lives complete! There is nothing like coming home to a furry dog that is excited that you have arrived back home after a long day! :)

    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    Hello Fall 2011 - Post 4/5 - My Personal and Professional Goals for Fall 2011!

    Here are the goals for this semester! Keep me accountable!

    Professional Goals:

    1 - Help at least four student groups submit their research papers for publication.
    2 - Help at least six student groups submit their research papers for the various symposiums this semester.
    3 - Submit at least three of my own articles for publication.
    4 - Write at least three articles this semester.
    5 - Plan the "Social Media Conference 2011"! :)
    6 - Keep my blog updated.

    Personal Goals:

    1 - Save, save, save! :)
    2 - Start fall/winter garden.
    3 - Cook meals at home instead of eating out.
    4 - Serve the college student ministry at our church!
    5 - Build better interpersonal relationships!


    J. Edwards

    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Hello Fall 2011 (2/5) - Time Management Strategies for the Semester (Responding to E-mail)


    This semester, I decided that I need to refine my time management skills and to establish a better balance between work and personal life. I usually respond to messages from my online and face-to-face classes within an hour (or two), but this year, I think that I am going to move to a 12 hour time frame. Responding to e-mail messages can become a very time consuming process and I have to reduce the amount of time that I spend typing and retyping replies to e-mail messages.

    Here are some time management strategies that I currently use:

    1 - When a few students have the same question, I send the students an initial response and then I send the response to all students in a question and answer format.

    2 - I save ALL of my received messages and sent messages every semester. The pdf documents from each semester have helped me to form a wonderful repository of message replies. Then, I copy and paste the answers to questions that I typically encounter every semester. :)

    Here are some time management strategies that I plan to use:

    1 - Replying to students within a 12 hour time frame (while I am at work and during office hours at home).

    2  - Typing responses on my iPad. For some reason, I dislike my pop-up iPad keyboard and I started using the Apple bluetooth keyboard instead of the keyboard on the screen. I love this keyboard MUCH better than the keyboard on the screen!

    Do you have any suggestions for me? I value your suggestions! :)


    J. Edwards
    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.
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    Monday, June 6, 2011

    Have You Selected Some Good Books for the Summer? Take a BREAK!


    I know that many of you are gearing up for the summer and many of us spend A LOT of time teaching, reading, and traveling in June, July, and August. I have a stack of books that I purchased from Barron's Bookstore before they went out of business in Colleyville and most of those books comprise my reading list! 

    A Great Website -
    When I find a book that I really love, I think that I will enter the title of the book on Through this website, you can discover which books are similar to books that you enjoy!

    Another Great Website -
    Lats summer, I became very interested in a website titled, Goodreads! This website enables users to rate and write comments about books for which they have an interest. In addition to the ratings, you can sign up for a reviewers list and the publishing companies can send the books to you via mail.

    Enjoy your summer! Read some great books! What books do you plan to read this summer?

    Oh yeah, I plan to finish reading The Help by the time the movie arrives in this area over the summer. This book is just VERY mentally exhausting! :)


    Millennial Professor - Jennifer T. Edwards, Ed.D.