A glimpse into a day in the life of Olaf Morales, languages coordinator at the Todos Santos Center.
What does an average day look like for you at the Center?
Home office is a term that has become very popular these days. Since the pandemic started, all the staff at the Center started working from home. At first it seemed a bit strange for me because I am the type of person who follows routines — when you work from home, it is basically a whole new routine and it can be super easy to forget that you are still working.
During the first weeks, I developed and wrote a new protocol. This would help me as a guide in order to know when I had to check emails, plan classes, teach classes online and also have breakfast or lunch. I decided to stick to my new plan because that would be key to staying productive and efficient.
In general, a regular day in my home office starts before 6 a.m. One of the first things I do as a task is my morning reading, I usually read for about 45 minutes when everything is calm. I cannot say I am a coffee lover (I know it sounds weird) but once in a while I also drink coffee during the first hours. Then at about 7 a.m. I open my agenda notebook and plan my day; I check all the activities I have during the day and adjust if necessary. At about 8 a.m., it is home office time, and one of the first things I do is to check emails, answer the ones that are urgent, and leave some others when they require more time. From here my whole morning is basically having meetings, planning classes, creating content for now-online courses, and also generating all type of activities for my classes. I take little breaks for breakfast or lunch. Definitely I cannot think clearly when I am hungry.
Home office can be very tricky at times because there is not a real check in and check out schedule. I usually try to finish at 4 or 5 p.m., but some other times I get super excited when I am creating some new content or working on a digital presentation and I can finish around 10 or 11 p.m. I would say that I try to balance my schedule between things to do at work and also my personal activities — this is why having a schedule helps me a lot to organize things I must do during regular days.
What are the biggest changes during the past few months? What has stayed the same?
One of the biggest changes is to know when it is work time and leisure time, it has definitely not stayed the same. My life has changed for the better surprisingly since I have been able to manage my time more effectively. For example, the time that I used to go from home to work, now I use it for checking emails or planning classes. Which means that you can incredibly be more productive if you learn to manage your time and create an effective schedule based on your daily activities.
What are you doing for fun outside of work?
I consider myself a super active person, I am a person who likes to do things and learn new ones whenever possible. I love doing CrossFit and also train other people in Todos Santos, for now I create online workouts so people can exercise at home.
I also like to take photos and record videos; I just recently started a new hobby: “flying a drone.” I am still in the learning process, but definitely I have so much fun when I do that.
Another thing I like to do for fun is to take online courses and read books — generally non-fiction books. I am currently learning about how to make investments and create online businesses.
Any favorite TV shows/books/movies/music or new hobbies?
My favorite books are:
- The Art of Happiness – Dalai Lama
- Cien Dias de Felicidad – Fausto Brizzi
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown
- The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
- The Leader Who Had No Title – Robin Sharma
My favorite TV Shows are:
- Game of Thrones
- Stranger Things
- The Universe
My favorite movies are:
- The Fifth Element
- Shutter Island
- The Lord of the Rings
What are you most looking forward to when the Center is able to host people in person again?
I believe that running programs online brings new opportunities for people who are not able to travel for different reasons, however having programs at the Center is something unique. Every time students come to the Center they bring not only their enthusiasm but also energy that the Center needs in order to live.
I am really looking forward to welcoming new students and faculty, since it also helps the whole community. My English students are always excited to talk to someone who is a native speaker and learn from them, and on the other hand, CSU students also benefit a lot since they can learn and understand how people live in Mexico. Many people can tell you how this feels, but you need to live it in order to understand it fully.
About the Colorado State University Todos Santos Center
Located in Baja California Sur, Mexico, CSU Todos Santos Center serves as the University’s international hub, providing research and educational opportunities in alignment with existing University curricula. Advancing CSU’s mission of teaching, research, service, and outreach, the Center collaborates with Mexican universities and organizations, and provides workshops and programs for visitors and local residents.
CSU’s vision in Todos Santos is to cultivate generations of global citizens and to partner in the creation of thriving communities through experiential learning and the exchange of knowledge. For additional information, visit todossantos.colostate.edu.