I used to have a hard time saying no to students. The infamous, “Do you have a minute” moments would eat away at my day. During the last four years I became more comfortable saying no. This meant that I referred students to my office hours or encouraged them to email me to set up another time. The first few times that I said no I was a little excited. Did I actually say no?!
You’re probably wondering what is so liberating or dangerous about saying no. Well, when you’re part-time or junior faculty saying no can be an issue. Are you a team player? Do you carry your weight in the department and are you dependable. My Fri Fun Facts speaks to taking time for yourself.
1. In order to have a decent lunch step away from the compute or invite a colleague to your office for lunch. If not you might do what I often do (but try to do less) and eat at your keyboard and not really take a lunch break.
2. Walk around the building or to another building to get outside of the department. I have scheduled e-lerts that say, get outside, walk to DSB (another building), go visit so and so. Seriously.
3. Schedule coffees with friends across campus so that you have to walk across the campus. It’s OK to take 30-60 minutes and catch up with a friend. If you’re anything like me, it will be work-related. It will.
4. Say no and don’t feel guilty about it. Now, when I say no, I am going to picture Rona Maynard’s keynote at #breatheyyj Saying no is acceptable. Saying no can protect your time.
I’ll end noting that I have never had a student get mad that I said no. They are usually good about emailing to schedule a meeting or come back during my office hours. With that–it’s OK to say no.