Having time to work IN our craft is the act of getting things done. It is the act of working through the to do list of conversations, tasks, and managerial hoops. It is often what is urgent in our daily lives. It is what "keeps the lights on" in our jobs. It is the stuff that makes us feel like we have had a successful day. Linking enough of these days together will get us praise, promotions, and a growing perception that we are mastering our jobs.
In reality working IN our craft often allows us to fall out of balance with the act of working ON our craft. There is praise and immediate feedback from working IN our craft, but the payoffs for working ON our craft come with a longer tail. Working ON our craft means taking time to reflection on our work to make it better. Working ON our craft means reading new ideas, materials, and resources to see how they can be incorporated into our current practices. Working ON our craft means building networks of people that can support our work through conversation, ideas, and modeling. Working ON our craft means assessing our health and well being, and working to be whole educators.
When we fail to work ON our craft, we end up in moments when we can't figure out how and why we no longer like our jobs. Not working ON our craft leads to life on the hamster wheel where the affirmation that we get from completing our to-do list loses its luster and the happiness quotient of our work doesn't feel the same.
Don't forget that working ON our craft is work, and it requires attention, time, and energy, and no matter how much time you don't have to work IN your craft, it is key to seek a fresh balance between IN and ON.