I had a rare break in the action -- one class ended, and my grades are turned in, and the other class hasn't started yet. Instead of doing what I would normally do, I took a few days to do some things that I have been wanting to do for a while (important but not urgent) that usually got shuffled to the back by the day-to-day stuff I have to do (urgent but may or may not be important).
One thing I did was assemble my promotion porfolio as if I were going up for Associate Professor today instead of next year. I wanted to have the whole spread of everything in front of me so that I could see where the holes were. I also decided to schedule a meeting with the person who has to write my letter of recommendation in the hopes of nailing down his strong support for me. Our school doesn't have tenure, but it's still important to me to get promoted.
Going through materials and selecting the ones that were the strongest gave me a sense of accomplishment that I don't really have on a daily basis. Like most people, I go around feeling a day late and a dollar short, always rushing to do one thing or another. Taking the time to put together a strong set of examples of my work and updating my vita reminded me of everything I have done in the last few years. I also included some work I did for my former employer as a consultant, and I remember the work that I did there was always challenging but often a lot of fun too.
I also took the time to talk with some of my coworkers. I have been a bit of a mole lately, staying in my own office or working from home to get more done. Socializing more makes me feel more connected to the place and the people
I need to get back to reality tomorrow and start planning for my class, but I'm glad I took the time to catch my breath and look back. It really helps me feel ready to more forward.