Yesterday, I got out of Palermo for the first time since the Christmas holiday. It was also the first day since the Christmas holiday that I didn’t do something ELT-related – be it teaching (obviously, 5 days a week), teaching-related admin, prepping for teaching, marking, IHCYLT course modules/assignments/portfolio tasks, blogging, reading ELT-related books/journal articles/blogs, preparing for my webinar etc. It was lovely to actually see a bit of Sicily (which turns out to be rather beautiful when you get out of the city – which isn’t a bad city, but is a city!) to go horse-riding, enjoy the wonderful colour of the countryside and relax! It was also quite an effort, getting up early to get the station for an early train, after a tiring week at work – but so worthwhile.
Now, one of my resolutions for this year was to achieve a better work-life balance – do you think I’m succeeding? I’d say I’m not. And now that the IHCYLT has come to an end, I feel it is time to do something about that… Now that I don’t need to divide my weekends between course-related work and recovery/sorting life and flat out/batch cooking etc, I would like to start getting out of the city on Saturdays and doing day-trips to see a bit of the beautiful surrounding countryside and towns. So that when it eventually becomes time to leave Sicily, I’ve actually seen something of it. I think the thing about doing the ELT thing abroad is that unless you are proactive and make time for it, do something about it, you just end up working and not seeing much of where you are, which is a shame really. At this rate, when my visitors come here during the Easter break, they will end up seeing more in that week than I will have seen in nearly 7 months. On the plus side, I will be seeing it with them! 😉
Ironically, next Saturday I’ve got my first Palermo-based social commitment in a while and in a couple of weeks I’m pretty sure there’s some more Speaking examiner training which I shall be doing. (Unless it’s on a Friday this time, I can’t remember…) However, that aside, when there are no other commitments, I want to commit myself to getting out and about! There is life outside of ELT (believe it or not!) and I’d like to taste that part too. So that even if all the rest of the time I sleep, breathe, speak and live ELT, there is ONE day a week where I DON’T. Where I switch off, do something else, go somewhere else, think about something else.
So that’s me. And in thinking about me, of course I started to wonder about the rest of the ELT world. Are you all as obsessed as I am? Or are you better at managing the whole work-life balance thing? Do you leave work at work during the week? I find that difficult. When I’m not actually at work prepping, doing admin or teaching, which doesn’t leave much time anyway as I’m at work between 9 and 11 hrs a day, I’m either anticipating what’s to come (if it’s morning before I go in) or my brain is spinning with what’s been done (if it’s night and I’m finally home). I often dream about it, I generally wake up thinking about what I’ve got to do at work (or worrying, if there’s a lot on to remember!) and it takes time for my mind to stop spinning when I go to bed at night (despite always reading for 40 mins before bed, non-ELT related things that is!). If I wake up during the night, sometimes I can’t get back to sleep because my brain starts thinking about work. I do other things in the morning before I go to work (study Italian, do yoga) but it’s always there at the back of my mind. Yet, I’m *sure* the sky would not fall and the world would not end if I weren’t like this! I’d just be less strung out :-p
So, to reiterate my earlier questions, the answers to which I’m interested to hear/see, and to add a few more: What is your work-life balance like? How do you manage it? Do you leave work at work during the week? How about weekends? If you have reached a good work-life balance, have you always been able to do that or did you have to work at it? Any tips for me? 😉