Monday, June 6, 2016

Keeping it Simple

I have a lot to do this summer. I mean, A LOT! And, I am excited to get working on it. The problem is that my brain and my actions are not aligned. Yet.

Before I dare dive in I need to figure some things out. If I don't, it will be a long summer of barely completed tasks and a feeling of a thousand pounds closing in on my chest as I awake each morning. So, how will I keep it simple and ensure a productive summer of growth? Well, here is just a sampling of my solution:

I am going to start by getting my mind right. In order to do that, I have to simplify. No, not make it easy. The work I have to accomplish is anything but that. As I sit at my desk this first morning without students or staff in the building my mind wanders. I think of what needs to get done. It overwhelms me. It consumes me. Therefore, I need to have a conversation with myself and accept that there is a lot of work to be done and be OK with that. With that, I am ready for the next step because I have mentally accepted there is much to be done. My mind is right.

The next move to simplifying the work to be done is to make the list of what needs to be accomplished. For this I am going old-fashioned. I am going to use paper and pen and jot down the work that needs to happen. Like you, I often end up with stacks of list. For the work ahead, I am narrowing it down to one list, maybe two. And, yes, items will be added but strategically. Always be mindful of adding too many items to your list. Sometimes we have to say "no" to new requests to keep our lists from growing too long.

Prioritize when it is going to happen and watch the list begin to dwindle away. This can be the easiest or the hardest of all. Some things have to get done sooner than later simply by when events are going to fall on the calendar. For example, I have a conference in July and need to complete the presentation. Even though my mind is saying to get working on that now, I had better finish up the graphics/questions for #OHedchat that I am hosting in two days first. Therefore, look over the list, overlap it with the calendar and mark some dates to get things done.

Final step: Find a way to hold yourself accountable to the work that needs to be done. For this, you might need some help. For me, I lean on my #PLN. People like Bobby Dodd, Neil Gupta and Jennifer Hogan will keep me from getting to far ahead of myself (or not moving quickly enough). For me, I/we schedule weekly check-ins for the work we do together. For other items on the list, I lean on colleagues at work or even at home. Let' face it, if we hold others accountable we need to do the same for ourselves.

Now that I have my head in the right place, the list of things to be done is created and I have put a stamp on when to get them done and who is going to help me make sure it will get done, it is time to make some headway with the work. Remember, you will get overwhelmed. That too is part of the process. There is so much we want to do and so much we could do and time is always a factor. Tackle your list, give yourself a break as you need one, remain balanced and celebrate as you cross the items off.