What is Focus and Learn Day?

Did you know employees who feel their wellbeing is important to their employer are 71% less likely to report experiencing burnout? Focus and Learn Days are a research-backed way to reduce stress and anxiety around your workload, boost your sense of wellbeing, and help you carve out time for intentional professional development. They’re your monthly chance to slow down and get intentional about your needs as an employee, and as a person. How you spend your day is up to you.

The first Focus and Learn Days were piloted in spring of 2021. Based on overwhelmingly positive employee feedback, the Focus and Learn Day Committee, with the support of SLCC’s Executive Cabinet, moved to establish Focus and Learn Days as a permanent part of the college’s annual calendar.

Now, these quiet days to pause and regroup fall on the third Friday of each month. We hope knowing about your Focus and Learn day ahead of time will help you prepare for a day free from phone calls, emails and other interruptions in the way that works best for you. Creating space to focus is most successful when it’s an institution-wide effort, which is why we’ve asked supervisors to come on board with Focus and Learn Day.

Wondering how to spend your day? Here are some ways SLCC employees make their Focus and Learn Days feel rejuvenating and fulfilling.

How to Make the most of Focus and Learn Days

Simply catch up

  • Catch up on emails.
  • Turn your eye to backlogged projects or “deep work” that may be difficult to accomplish with distractions.
  • Faculty members, why not call this a “grading day?” No meetings, phone calls, or email obligations make it easy to catch up on the demands of teaching.

Office Organization

  • Decluttering or beautifying your workspace can help you arrive the following Monday with a clear head, ready to take on your workweek.
  • Organize your inbox. Delete old emails, archive certain subjects, and create rules to sort incoming emails into folders.
  • Create Outlook invites for standing meetings in advance, such as departmental meetings and GPS meetings.
  • Create an Excel/Office365 spreadsheet to organize important information and data relevant to your role.
  • Create digital files by scanning paper documents into .pdf files for easier access, storage and organization.

Wellness Activities

Engage in Professional Development

LinkedIn Learning is a wonderful resource available through your college email account. Search for interesting topics or trainings to boost your productivity and learn more about your field. Here are some LinkedIn Learning training ideas for everyone:

Culture and Connections

  • Sign up for newsletters related to your field. Try searching for newsletters from established professional organizations.
  • Collaborate with colleagues. Why not reach out to a colleague at another institution?
  • Curl up with a good book about enhancing your professional skillset. Why not create a book club within your team?

Innovation and Ideation

  • Slow down, take stock of your current projects and how you divide your time.
  • Research a trend in your field that looks exciting.
  • Brainstorm solutions to problems you face in your workflow.

FAQs

Reach out to your supervisor. Suggest alternatives to the meeting that allow you to participate consistently in Focus and Learn Days. We want the whole college in on this!

If your Associate Dean has meetings planned for the third Friday of each month, try discussing alternate options. We hope the consistency of our new calendar will help you and your department benefit from Focus and Learn Days. 

SLCC’s Focus and Learn Days are intended for all employees. We recognize that Academic Departments and others may have work obligations that prevent them from participating on the dates scheduled, but this should not be a reason to keep departments from participating. The President encourages each of us to be “…intentional about your calendar and make sure you block off time for professional development and focused learning.” Departments are encouraged to be creative in how they support faculty's engagement with Focus and Learn Day efforts. Staggered half-day increments during the same week as Focus and Learn Day may work better for the department. Or consider consolidating meeting agenda items to better free up time for a Focus and Learn Day. Be creative in your efforts.

Contact a member of our team for help or if you have questions.

We know this can get tricky. Your supervisor is the best resource. They’ll help your team find a way to maintain essential operations while encouraging you and your colleagues to participate in monthly Focus and Learn Days.

Tempting, right? But the day is about creating conditions for employees to focus and learn. It's still a workday, albeit one free from interruptions and distractions.

We encourage you to respect your colleagues during Focus and Learn Day. This means avoiding calls, emails, texts and meetings. Try to postpone email correspondence until the following Monday. Utilize that “schedule send” feature!

Of course. We encourage all part-time, adjunct and full-time employees to participate in whatever way fits you best.

FY 22-23 Focus and Learn Dates

  • July 15, 2022
  • August 19, 2022
  • September 16, 2022
  • October 21, 2022
  • November 18, 2022
  • December 16, 2022
  • January 20, 2023
  • February 17, 2023
  • March 17, 2023
  • April 21, 2023
  • May 19, 2023
  • June 16, 2023

Past Focus and Learn Dates (2021-2022)

  • March 19 (Inaugural Focus and Learn Day)
  • April 16
  • May 21
  • August 20
  • September 17
  • October 15
  • November 19
  • December 17
  • January 21
  • February 18
  • March 18
  • April 15
  • May 20
  • June 17