“There comes a pause, for human strength will not endure to dance without cessation;”
— Lewis Carroll
It’s hard to believe the fall and spring terms of the 2016-2017 academic year are over. The impression I get from everyone I’ve talked with since August is that folks have been busy, busy, busy; lots to do and not enough time to get stuff done or take much of a breather. We hope all that busyness included a significant chunk of productivity and accomplishment, not to mention some time for nurturing personal wellbeing for yourself and others.
The end of spring term is a good time to look back on the past eight or nine months and reflect on our accomplishments and on what we learned. From the perspective of the Sustainability Office I’ll mention a couple of things. Last fall Auburn University became the first and so far only campus in Alabama designated as a Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. In January, we submitted our most recent comprehensive sustainability performance assessment and received a Silver rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System. What comes to mind as you look back?
The end of spring term is also a good time to practice the habit of stepping back or stepping away for a bit. There are multiple benefits in taking breaks of various kinds and lengths: a short break every hour plus an actual break for lunch, taking at least a day off every week, and more extended breaks also known as vacations. Leonardo da Vinci is considered by some to be the smartest, most talented person ever. He strongly advised taking breaks and regularly practiced this habit himself: “…it is well that you should often leave off work and take a little relaxation because when you come back to it you are a better judge….”
So da Vinci’s advice is to enjoy a little break, however long seems reasonable. Then reengage renewed and refreshed.
Reengaging with work feeling refreshed is important because there is always more to do in creating the future we want. Auburn’s Sustainability Policy states in part: “Auburn University considers sustainability a core value and strives for excellence in sustainability through continuous assessment and improvement.” Continuous assessment and improvement. Using da Vinci’s recipe we get the most progress through an integrated approach. Effort + relaxation keeps us in the game for the long term and enables us to be most effective. Not to mention experience a richer, more enjoyable life.
So embrace the habit of stepping away to “often…take a little relaxation” in the form of short breaks, days off, and vacations. You and your work will be all the better for it.