Work has been unfortunately uninspired for a time and has recently become a bit slow. I do not do well under these conditions but have sought out a fair bit to keep my mind occupied.
Learning Something New
I have a habit of starting a lot of new things at once which is not ideal. I experimented a little while ago with learning some motion graphics fundamentals and am starting an open online course to learn a little UX design. It’s not the class I wanted, but I missed the start date on the perfect course, so this lighter course is maybe a good place to start before the interest passes.
Work gives me access to these online courses through our Adobe Creative Cloud account. The UX class will be my third course. I completed the first, but not the second – fingers crossed time is on my side.
I am not new to podcasts and have listened to roughly the same few for the last year. I have some which I love, Revisionist History for one, that don’t seem to be producing any new episodes. They just sit in my podcast queue – sad and silent. Recently Bonni Stachowiak of Teaching in Higher Ed put out a list of podcasters within her professional community worth checking out. I’ve listened to a couple, but I get a little overloaded with too much political chat. This episode was a favorite among the new channels I’ve checked out recently.
The day before I heard the episode I learned I would be developing a data analytics course for a new program on campus, so I enjoyed this episode as a foundation. A development always runs better if I have some theoretical foundation or vision for where a course fits into the greater society. Faculty focus a lot on nuts and bolts-type training pieces at the onset, generally. I need more of a purpose than those lines of conversation offer. I have a few others I will continue to listen too. Despite the constant space warnings, my phone is throwing up quite regularly these days.
First, I started using Zotero and reduced my browser’s bookmarks to a more manageable size. Mostly. Right now my Zotero account is a bunch of folders, but I’m hoping it will evolve. I’ve also ventured into Diigo, but I can’t get the free version to function the way I’d find ideal. Without a paid account, I am not able to annotate PDFs. This sucks. I understand it probably has value, but I’m not sure if it has value to me yet. Time will tell. I also need to find a functional purpose for all of this saving. Why do I need to save this article or that infographic? That I still need to identify.
My most recent, as in this very evening, epiphany is to set up some block times in a Google calendar. Right now I have little work coming in for me, so it’s easy to spend time here or there focusing on professional development and networking. I know it will not stay this way. The nature of my job is unbearably busy to underwhelmingly engaged and back again. The page will turn. I think block time may help me maintain some sanity and consistency day to day. As work picks up, I don’t want to forget about the pieces which add meaning to my role at the university and amplify what I have to provide to the conversation.