I think about motivation a lot. I try to understand what motivates my students, what makes faculty want to improve their teaching or participate in professional development. I know that what motivates me may not motivate my students or fellow faculty. I sometimes have to give myself little incentives to get through tasks I don’t really like. So I’ll say to myself, “Work on this for an hour, then you can get some hot tea.” It mostly works.
Since my injury, my motivation has flagged a bit. I’m able to do what needs to be done, but the extra things I used to do–the extra reading or writing, being on Twitter, participating in some on-campus events–those have mostly fallen by the wayside. In part, it’s a natural consequence of a lack of energy brought on by everything taking so much longer for me and thus, being exhausted. All those extra things took a fair amount of mental energy and the events, well, the difficulties of getting around have hindered me from going certain places on campus. But for all the time and energy those things take, I also find they are in part what motivates me to do my regular job and what motivates me to keep improving at my regular job.
It’s also true that my regular job takes up more time than my job did before. I’m in meetings a lot more which means I have less time in the day to prepare for class or grade or think about things. And so I’ve let some the extras go because of that. But I need to get back to them. A new semester begins for us tomorrow. I’m not quite prepared for it, but it’s coming, and I want to use the opportunity of a new beginning to restart some of those extra things that really, you know, aren’t extra. They’re part of what makes me feel like I’m fully invested in my work. So look out, you might see more of me here.