“Every now and then, go away, take a little relaxation, because when you come back to your work, your judgement will be surer. To remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgement. Go some distance away, because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.” Leonardo da Vinci
Today, I challenge you to start one habit that you'll be thankful you did one week from now. One habit.
The trouble with this time in the school year is that we are largely, too close to our work and I think we tend to lose our power of judgement. Think about the times when tempers flare the most and when petty disagreements happen? There are times I think, “Really, they disagreed about that?” or I back up and look at myself and say “Really, I'm upset about this?”
Some people call it Margin, others call it R&R, and others call it “getting away” but I call it my weakness.
I admit that right now, I'm not very good at getting some distance away. I read all the time management books… at least 50 to date and learn a lot about being productive but very little about true balance.
I think most of the time management “experts” don't have 12 loads of laundry, three kids, and a husband and three cats and a dog to care for. They probably have a secretary or maid or both.
I'm happy for those people who can jet set around the world, happily pruned and beaming about how they can help me prioritize and monetize my life, but they haven't lived my life. And I haven't lived yours.
You are the greatest motivational speaker ever invented for YOU. What you say to yourself inside your head has more long term impact on your life than any of these voices coming from outside your eardrums. YOU have to determine the next step. YOU have to determine the next course of action.
Pick One Habit today
Pick ONE habit today that you'll be glad you started in a week and DO IT. You know what it is. It will likely mean shifting something else. I wish I had the answers for you, because if you're like me, you may not feel like you have many choices right now. You're a hamster jumping between 5 or 6 wheels trying to keep them all running. You probably feel alone and perhaps even like a slave to the world. I'm with you.
Time is short. It is, quite literally, a dash. You are living the dash between the year you were born and the year you die. This is all there is. If you can manage 30 hormonal preteens in one class period, and take kids on field trips to places that most parents wouldn't take their brood, and get all those grades done and manage all those parent teacher conferences – then most assuredly, you have the organizational acumen to carve out an hour for yourself today to do something that needs to be done to take care of you.
You are a finite resource. There is only so much of you. Teachers don't just try to burn the candle at both ends, we try to add new wicks and make new ends to burn! We are completely out of control some of the busiest people I know.
Do this NOW
But, let's write a new end to this day. Right now, get out your calendar and schedule the one habit you long to do. Make the time to do it today and I will too. Let's add a new end, one where we have some common sense and actually take care of ourselves for a change.
There's more to life than having nightmares about a prom gone terribly wrong and being upset about all of those papers that aren't graded yet and the 6 loads of laundry still left sorted and dirty, ready to be washed. There's more than this and it is time to make time for more of you by doing less running on the endless wheel. Make time for yourself or you break yourself, and you know how tough gets when you're sick.
Wake up that tired motivational speaker in your head RIGHT NOW. Put her or him on task right now to pick and figure out a time to help you start your habit today.
If Leonardo da Vinci had to take time to get away, don't you think we should too?
Last night, my husband and I were looking at all of the films that Anthony Hopkins has made and were pondering his newest film, Hitchcock, and we talked about what it would take to do that amount of work – that is a lot of movies.
You have more stories than Hopkins. You have the stories of hundreds and maybe thousands of children passing through your rooms. You're not going to make it without some rest in between. Music is made more beautiful by the pauses and rests and you'll be made more beautiful too.
Pick a habit today… one habit… and start it. Make it a habit that you'll be glad that you started one week from now.
Remember your noble calling, teacher, but remember yourself. If you give out, your career is over and we need you in education right now. You have my heartfelt love, thanks, and appreciation. Let's get to it.
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