What is Focus and Learn Day?

During Fall 2020, People & Workplace Culture collected feedback from employees, and a prominent theme was the desire for more time with fewer meetings. In response to this feedback, Friday, March 19, will be designated the first Focus and Learn Day for SLCC employees, followed by two more Focus and Learn Days on April 16 and May 21. This pilot program provides time free from meetings or interruptions for employees to catch up on neglected tasks or projects, focus on strategic planning and organization and engage in learning. 

Additional Focus and Learn Days for 2021:

  • June 18
  • July 16
  • August 20
  • September 17
  • October 15
  • November 19
  • December 17

Supervisors are asked to refrain from scheduling meetings on this day, and individuals are encouraged to delay sending and receiving phone calls and emails until the following Monday. Employees will be asked to provide feedback on their thoughts about the day, what they could accomplish, and how often they were interrupted. 

"The goal is to provide our SLCC faculty and staff time to be free of the distractions, ideally poised to go into a weekend with a sense of purpose and accomplishment and ready to start the next week more focused," says Sara Reed, Associate Vice President People and Workplace Culture.

Suggestions to enhance your Focus and Learn Day:

Utilize LinkedIn Learning. 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:

Practice self-care with employee wellness activities:

Other ideas:

  • Organize Outlook. Delete old emails, archive certain subjects and create rules to sort incoming emails into folders.
  • Sign up for newsletters related to your field. Start by searching for newsletters put out by established professional organizations.
  • Collaborate with colleagues — why not reach out to a colleague at another college or university?
  • 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. Be sure to combine sheets with tabs at the bottom! This will diminish the need for separate files and enable you to store a larger quantity of information in one place.
  • Create digital files by scanning paper documents into .pdf files for easier access, storage and organization.
  • Curl up with a good book about enhancing your professional skillset.

FAQs

Of course! Here are some ideas: organize email folders and office folders; organize your office, work and work supply storage space; complete project tasks; create new project documents; complete training courses on video conferencing and team collaboration programs; read professional journals/articles, books and other publications related to your field; identify additional items to include in GPS forms; revise templates; update department forms and prepare meeting agendas. (This list is by no means exhaustive.)
Reach out to your supervisor. Suggest alternatives to the meeting that allow you to participate. You won't want to miss the inaugural Focus and Learn Day!
That depends on your supervisor. They'll decide how to keep up with departmental operations while encouraging employees to focus and learn along with the college.
Thank you for working the front lines! Your supervisor will find a way to maintain essential operations and encourage you and your colleagues to participate in Focus and Learn Day.
Tempting, right? But that's beside the point. The purpose of Focus and Learn Day is to create 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 all email correspondence until the following Monday.
Of course. We encourage all part-time, adjunct and full-time employees to participate in Focus and Learn Da
If your Associate Dean has already planned meetings for the scheduled Focus and Learn Days, try discussing alternate options. We'd love for you to participate in any capacity.
Great question. Here are some online resources for professional development: