Finding and Settings Limits


These past few weeks I have been very busy and stressed as a result. I am not quite sure what burn out exactly implies but I think I was nearing the danger zone.

School and the way we teach have evolved. There are lots of bright and positive aspects to the situation but also some more frightening and negatives ones.

Because my students do not work enough on their own, I have multiplied group work but also feel that everything that is produced needs marking. This means that for some classes I spend at least 50% more time grading papers and projects.

I am also available 24/7 via emails even if I do not check them on Saturdays. For instance at present, some of my students are away doing internships but they still send me work and reports to read and correct.

Thus although I have been on holiday since Friday I have marked about 100 papers in five or six days. I have also been busy writing school reports online. Today I decided to stop for a few days and step back but this is not as easy as it may sound and I keep thinking of all the things that I should/could/can do for work.

I find it very hard to set myself limits and stick to them. I do not want to appear lazy but this often means that I end up working too much for my own good. Dear readers, how do you set yourself limits and does it work?

14 thoughts on “Finding and Settings Limits

  1. Is set limits by trying to balance the five things I love : surfing , martial arts , hiking , music , and writing novels . Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)

  2. Why is it lazy to give yourself some much needed time off? My daughter, for example, delays doing her homework. On the other hand, she makes it very clear to me that sometimes she needs a break. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to breathe and step back.

    The professors that I work for at Rutgers say they love teaching; they get paid to do the grading, because they dislike that part.

  3. As someone who is currently in the middle of several time-dependent projects (hence, my poor, neglected blog… 🙂 ), I can definitely relate to this post! I hope you find a way to make some real time for yourself. Shabbat Shalom!

  4. I’m not a teacher myself, but I have friends who are and I work in the education department at work. I’ve been hearing a decent amount of bitterness about how students are less respectful nowadays, pay less attention in class and challenge the teacher’s authority more. They can do this because class is no longer the only way to get information. They can goof off in class and then look up the stuff online later and still past the test.

    Regarding limits, I am somewhat of a workaholic too. I feel guilty if I’m not being productive all of the time. I am lucky that my current job doesn’t allow overtime (at least not yet for me) or allow me to bring work home — I can’t even check my work email from home. The translation lifestyle was/is bad for me in that there is absolutely no boundary between home and work. Which allowed me to take on massive projects and work 17 hour days. Last week was the first time (after 5 weeks on the new job) that I started taking on translation projects again. But after doing two short assignments, I think I’m going to limit myself to one short assignment per week max. Since I don’t need the money and I’m exhausted from my “real” job. It’s very easy for me to slide into translating all of my waking hours that I’m home, but I’m working hard to fight that.

  5. Teaching requires an immense amount of work, and you should be commended for your efforts and dedication. I’m saluting you right now!!

    I can relate to the difficulty in setting limits and sticking to them. Since I don’t currently work outside of the house, many of my limits are relative to housework. The luxury of being able to stay at home means that I can become overwhelmed and stressed with getting all the chores accomplished, at the expense of my sleep (which is often the expense of my patience, unfortunately).

    My Rav once told me to make a to-do list, and then cut it in half. That makes it easier to accomplish smaller goals. Also, perhaps if you made for yourself hours that you were available online, and then really don’t check those emails outside of the allotted time. Fine yourself if you do, or reward yourself if you succeed. Finally, is it possible to reframe the time off as “time on for recharging?” Sometimes when I reframe my downtime to think of it not as downtime, but as actively recharging time, it’s easier to not feel anxious about what I could be accomplishing, because I *am* accomplishing.

    Hatzlacha raba!

  6. Thank you Rivki for the salutations! I think you’re right about checking work-related emails during allotted time. I have a separate email address for work but this is obviously not enough.

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