My question pretty much self explains what I've been feeling since four years, when I achieved tenure. As I moved up in the academic hierarchy, from undergrad to post-doc, then tenure-track Professor and finally tenured Professor, I realized that the burden of responsibility was always incremental, but I was prepared and after a short period of adjustment, found my way to dwell in the system and balance my obligations. I felt I was constantly learning, keeping up with administrative obligations, and contributing new ideas to my research field. However, I feel that after achieving tenure the administrative load broke that balance and four years later I'm seeing the consequences. The most unsettling sensation is perceiving that I stopped being up to date in my field. Now, I spend so much time writing grant proposal, dealing with committees and doing administration that I struggle to find time to read and stay abreast with the literature in my field, propose new experiments and “do science”. Sometimes I even feel I am starting to forget concepts and abilities that were natural to me and that are at the core of my field.
Don't get me wrong, there are many things I enjoy from my position. I like teaching, tutoring the students in my research group, every now and then I'm able to put together an interesting project with a colleague and get it running. Also, considering that I'm still relatively young and have fuel for a couple more of decades, I'm concerned that eventually I won't be able to fulfill my duties and enjoy the things I mentioned out of sheer burn out.
Is it normal to feel this way? What are the causes? Does this feeling recedes with time? Could this be an indication that I should start considering a Plan B before I get to old and moving in something else becomes harder?
I want to note that I am not in an exceptional situation: I work at a good university, salary and benefits are above average, the head of the department has never complained about my job, my student are very intelligent and independent and I already sought professional counseling (no diagnostic or conclusion.)