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Executive Board column: Downtime as a source of new inspiration

We asked a lot of everyone last year. The Personnel Monitor showed that the workload was high in 2022 and Covid took its toll. I therefore think everyone deserves some downtime. Time away from the daily grind.

In this column Annetje Ottow, Hester Bijl and Martijn Ridderbos give a peek behind the scenes at the Executive Board of Leiden University. What does their work involve? What makes them enthusiastic? What challenges do they face? Building a healthy and engaged learning community begins with sharing what you are up to. This time it’s Annetje Ottow’s turn.    

The best inspiration comes from letting go and allowing your mind to wander. For me, one example of downtime is getting up early and cycling 30 kilometres to work. This clears my mind and gives me energy. And what I see along the way cheers me up. Just recently I saw a hare in the fields while I was cycling and that kept me going for the rest of the day. For me, downtime makes it easier to cope.

Annetje Ottow and Hester Bijl at Leiden Institute of Chemistry.
Annetje Ottow (third from right) and Hester Bijl (second from right) at Leiden Institute of Chemistry.

Downtime means something different for everyone. Some people get energy from a walk whereas others get energy from being busy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be during your free time. At our new year’s drinks, I heard from people who said that downtime for them is a chat at the coffee machine or a visit to a conference. They gain inspiration from others and find they can mark theses much faster afterwards, for example.

I can identify with this. For us as the Executive Board each and every visit we paid to as good as all of our institutes last year was a fantastic experience. You were bursting with pride and enthusiasm to show us all the wonderful things you are up to. It was clear that we as lecturers, researchers and professional staff members have our feet firmly on the ground. We work day in, day out to create a better world. This is something we can be most proud of.

I wish you all a wonderful and inspiring 2023!

Share your thoughts or experiences by sending an email to nieuws@leidenuniv.nl.

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