Beyond Busy: Developing Life Work Integration for Women in Student Affairs

with Amy Homkes-Hayes, Jennifer Wegner

About This Course

Student affairs professionals are managing more with less. So many demands on our time suggests our purpose is defined by how many things we have to do. The often relied upon phrase "I'm busy" contributes to a culture where busy matters most. What if we stopped saying busy to explain how we feel? What does it look like if concede work life balance is a misguided framework? Join us as we struggle with the culture of busy, understand its implications, and introduce a model of life work integration for inspiring us to craft a different narrative as women in student affairs. 

Within the last few years there has been, a largely online, push examining the culture of busy. Bloggers and popular media, relying in part on neuroscience research, have challenged the notion that the more busy you are the more important you are (Kreider, 2015). Linguistic research studying holiday cards finds that over the years the narrative of hecticness appears in increasing rates (Rosin, 2014). Neuroscientists have researched multitasking and found that it is not something the human mind is capable of (Rosen, 2008). Mindfulness research shows the positive effects taking breaks has on productivity (Hurley, 2014). So many of us feel like with a phone, tablet, or laptop at our side we are “on” 24/7.

Student Affairs is not immune to the effects of the culture of busy. Although we acknowledge almost all of us are being asked to do more with less, we are struck by how often we hear others lament about how busy they are. Why do we rely on talking about how busy we feel all the time? In this session we will examine the culture of busy and its implications for student affairs professionals, and specifically focusing on the intersection of gender and "busyness".

We will start by presenting popular and academic research on the culture of busy and its implications both individually and systemically (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). We will introduce the challenges and limitations of authentic engagement and productivity when our common denominator is how many things we have going on (American Psychological Association, 2015). We will problematize the notion that work life balance is a desirable outcome worth achieving, and rather present an alternative paradigm predicated on life work integration. Along the way we will share compelling anecdotes of women who have vowed to stop saying their busy, neuroscience research on multitasking and mindfulness, productivity strategies, and will ask our participants to do their own self-assessment of how "busy" behaviors manifest themselves. We will conclude by inviting a call to action on how to take one, or many, steps towards eliminating busy in our participants lives.

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