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Meeting Your Future Needs Today

As we grow comfortable in our professional positions, we anticipate major milestones of work duties that are coming soon, or shortly. For example, we look to the summer season in anticipation of the start of a new academic year in the fall.  We use the months of April, May, and June in reconciling budgets for fiscal closing.  We calendar out an upcoming event that has outward-facing components but requires build-up, involving behind-the-scenes planning and completion. We know that a good way to adhere to these expectations involves reverse planning and outlining a schedule through project management practices.
While a lot of these accomplishments are necessary to help sustain the operations of the university, our departments, and teams; this is only possible because employees put a lot of themselves at the forefront to make things progress. To sustain our teams, it is important to encourage ourselves and each other to factor in employee wellness, when setting out to accomplish our goals.
This week’s edition of Wisdom Café Wednesday introduces you to some new ways of practicing wellness with your desired outcomes in mind. To focus on employees like yourselves, and how you want to see yourself in the future, it is best to be centered on future goals (i.e. Achieve Together criteria, major milestones, and meeting supervisor expectations).  This does require some planning as a way to serve as an investment in ourselves, our time, and our ability to give and balance our lives. It is not a secret that remote work has given us a chance to multi-task and approach a lot of work on the GO. As this trend continues, it is important to re-center ourselves to see how we want to look at ourselves in the future and what steps we want to take now.

UC Berkeley employees have found peace, wellness, and allyship among each other. Having relied on communities of practice, email listservs, mutual colleagues, and referrals; employees thrive when they know they are not alone in experiencing challenges and have an outlet for support. The following article, Love Your Future Self was written by Helen Kotke, UCPath Training Coordinator with Berkeley People & Culture. She brings years of expertise in technology and training with course design, in education, social services, and healthcare industries.


Love Your Future Self

On a day I felt like my schedule was crushing me, I decided to take a break and use an open moment to refocus by checking in with my sister, Heather. She is in her final year as a medical student in Norfolk, VA. During this time, we teased out a concept that I am bringing to you in this Wisdom Café Wednesday article in anticipation that it might resonate with you as well.

Between Heather and I, I am the optimist – always jig-sawing my schedule to fit in everything that “needs” to fit. Heather is the realist – leaving space for the missteps, spilled coffee, and traffic jams of life.

I’ve struggled with Heather’s outlook because I often feel like I need to guard myself from pessimism or impending disaster. I never liked the idea of assuming the worst, or that things won’t go well and thereby planning for it.

On this day though, it became clear that her outlook is not about pessimism or expecting every disaster, but instead acknowledging what you might be feeling or needing in the future. One of the heart rather than fear or pessimism - loving your future self.

Have you heard of the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino? Spoon Theory is a way of articulating that it might take different units of energy to complete a task depending on the day or person.

Loving your future self is about protecting the energy you have on a given day in the future, as much as it is buying your favorite sweet or tea/coffee to have available on a day when you might need the extra comfort. It is also shifting your mindset - so chores or other activities are done out of caring for your future self, rather than just the drudgery of the fact that it’s a chore and it must be done. 

So, if you have been feeling like you have no spoons left, I challenge you to love your future self. Find actionable ways to bring peace, love, and confidence to your coming days – rather than living in a state of survival day by day.

Here is the list I have started:

  • Make space to take a walk or spend time outside just being (not working on outside chores)

  • Write encouraging notes, and place them in future days or pages in my calendar

  • Buy a gift card for a café to have to treat myself on days I’d love a treat, but the budget is tight

  • Have my “no” be as firm as my “yes,” when allocating my time

  • Meal prep out of love each week

  • Schedule time with myself to go over my goals and the plan to accomplish them

  • Have a weekend with no plans, to just relax, read, and watch the sun rise and set


If you have great ideas on how to “love on your future self,” please do share. 


Helen Kotke

UCPath Training Coordinator

UCPath Operations Team, People & Culture

2+ years within the UCB community

The idea of reinvesting in ourselves for the future can come in a variety of settings that work to our comfort and advantage. However, there is also a form of structure and schedule that we need to adopt to make this feasible.  As we grow more comfortable and accustomed to working remotely, there also comes a time for us to re-evaluate our spaces, based on new workloads and trends to improve and enhance our spaces.

The following LinkedIn Learning e-course Time Management: Working from Home breaks down various scenarios we have all experienced in the past few years and offers up some tips on how to address them through direct action as well as in a remote physical space. Presented by Dave Crenshaw, Author and Leadership Coach in Productive Leadership, he brings his talents related to workplace efficiency and time management to a setting of the home workspace - where we are in control of our own time and atmosphere.

Wisdom Café Wednesday invites you to look at the 4 sections in which the e-course is broken down and pick one section in which you want to improve.  Challenge yourselves to embrace the gaps you face and use this as a way to enhance your spaces over the coming months.  The concepts outlined are not new to the remote workforce, but rather a way for each employee to assess an area in which they can see an improvement in utilizing their home office, while still finding a way to be present for their workplace needs.

Wisdom Café Wednesday Feature

Incorporating Your Wellness Breaks As Part of Your Scheduled Time

Outside of your commitment to your work, teams, and others; there is also an important factor in wellness for yourselves and schedule it. Take some time to disconnect from your screens and reflect on the most recent task that came from a meeting, utilizing a break to chart the best path forward. It helps to narrow the thoughts in our minds and use our strengths to apply the information that we have just absorbed.

Rapport Building for Collaboration

Part of building rapport between colleagues involves getting to know each other beyond the transactional meetings relegated to Zoom calls.  Sharing some of the ways you take breaks between work allows for rapport building around the things that bring you joy and give you balance during work hours.  This helps in getting to know each other, and more about the settings we occupy as part of who we and our colleagues are.

Take a Be Well at Work Course Together

Be Well at Work offers a variety of workshops and opportunities to address employee needs.  Each semester, this team from University Health Services hosts topics that stem from the proactive and reactive needs of our employees. As a way to build our campus culture of wellness, many participants in their workshops have returned to their teams as wellness ambassadors and often can lead the charge in helping their colleagues get the help and support they need.

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How to Share Your Insight on Wisdom Cafe 

Discover the benefits of sharing your professional insights on Wisdom Café Wednesdays and how to do it here.
-Reading about and reaching out to featured colleagues.
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-Using resources to start your own network.
-Signing up for this Wisdom Café Wednesday Newsletter to ensure you get a message that you can use to support your development every week!
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The Wisdom Café Team
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