Enrollment Managers know all too well that our job descriptions rarely reflect all we do. An Outlook calendar that would make some people see double is usually a standard way of operation through the grind of the admission season. So how do we keep ourselves up for the enduring race?
The post-pandemic feeling of exhaustion isn’t going away any time soon. The new normal means planning both a virtual and on-campus event, trying to predict an even more uncertain next year projection, and trying to grapple with the long-term effects of families demanding more flexibility is here to stay. So, with these worries, evolutions, and changes, I have found three secrets to help improve the work-life balance.
1- Stop over-scheduling. Type A admission professionals always want to say “yes.” However, new committees, events, meetings, conversations, or tours that are back-to-back day after day are sure to bring exhaustion or burnout. Having at least 10 or 15minutes between events is crucial to your brain. Doing less, you can accomplish more. You’ll be more likely to find time to stay organized and follow through with the things you said you would do by building a buffer between calendar commitments.
2- Tell your dog to walk itself (figuratively). I have seen videos of dogs holding their leash, which is the kind of attitude we need to have to balance the constant influx of demands. As enrollment managers, we open doors for people all day long, offer them coffee or water, and remain gracious to their needs. The chronic need to take care of others can extend into our home lives. It is necessary to have days where cereal is good enough for dinner or a weekend where you schedule a “do only what is fun and nothing on your to-do list” type of day. After all, we are human beings, not human doings. A refreshed mind can indeed focus and accomplish more.
3- Incorporate a smile-stone in your life at all times. Like celebrating milestones, “smile-stones” are occasions you can purposefully schedule to bring a smile to your face. We all need something to look forward to, and since over-scheduling is in our DNA, find time to schedule a vacation or night out with friends so you always have an upcoming smile-stone to look forward to. The rigidity of thinking you do not have time will only lead to you not taking the time to actively bring joy into your life. We can be our best selves by connecting and recharging. Explore what ideas bring a smile upon your face and build smile-stones around them.
It's not easy. The work to-do list never truly goes away. And a successful admission season does not guarantee more success the following season. Meanwhile, we notice the years go by quickly as we watch Lower School children we admitted years ago graduate. Each year and season come with its own challenges; the things affecting our process can be outside of our control. Finding small strategies to give you wings in your journey can make all the difference when you look back.