8 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE You Plan Your Summer Calendar

It seems that there is a pivotal way that the uber-productive should travel: through time. What about holding still in one place and letting time travel through you? What about letting your body stay still and letting your mind wander?

A marvelous verse in the Bible says “Be still and know that I am God.”

Be still. Who can do it? It is harder than you might think.

I once learned a strategy for falling asleep – focus on your breath. When I take the early flight, I never sleep. Getting up at 3am so worries me – the perpetual hard sleeper – that I often find myself cat napping (pun intended).

The other night as I focused on the movement of my breath to attempt sleep, I realized what a gift a breath is. Then, I thought of a what Pico Iyer says in his TED Talk on Stillness,

I was in a taxi driving through Times Square, and I suddenly realized that I was racing around so much I could never catch up with my life.

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@coolcatteacher”]Sometimes we need to be still and let time travel through us. #stillsummer[/tweetthis]

But how do you know it is time to be still?

Listen to Yourself Talk

Exceptional people tune into self-talk. You are the only one who hears the voice in your head. You are the only one who can interrupt your internal dialog and say,

“This isn’t the way I need to be, so I’m going to do something about it.”

When I reviewed my journal entries for this past school year, I realized my self-talk points to my personal need for time travel instead of geographic travel.

There are many of you  who are pushed beyond the regular wear and tear of a hard year. It is no accident that you're reading this post at this moment. There are no coincidences.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Plan Your Summer Calendar

  1. Reflect on the past. In the last few summers, do you remember an extended period where you didn’t have anything to work-related to do or anywhere work-related to go?
  2. Anticipate your ability to last. Do you find yourself wondering how you can sustain this level of work intensity for much longer? (We talk about the sustainability of this planet, when we ignore the sustainability of our own pace.)
  3. Your desire to quit. Have you thought about quitting as a way out of the workload because of the pressure? (As opposed to because you are planning an intentional career move.)
  4. Listen to your words. Are frustrated words and behaviors creeping into your emails and interpersonal reactions? Do you find yourself much more abrasive than you know how to be? (My friends and I call this a need for “crab rehab.”)
  5. Your ability to “turn it off.” When you are with your family, do you find yourself unable to relax or stop talking about work? Do they say that they “miss you” even when your body is physically present with them?
  6. Your desire to continue. Do you keep asking yourself questions like: “How can I go back to school in the fall?” “How am I going to make it?” or “I am so exhausted, I just don’t know how I can do this anymore.”
  7. Your role in the world. Do you feel more like a human doing than a human being?
  8. How you feel about what others expect. Do you feel like everybody just wants something from you?

How many “yes” answers do you have?

I answered “yes” for every single one of these during my reflection.

So, I realized it was time to plan a summer sabbatical. More on that in my next post.

[reminder]Reflect upon stillness as opposed to laziness. Consider the place of stillness in your life. Do you know how to be still?[/reminder]

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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janet williamson June 7, 2015 - 12:02 pm

“Stillness” is a practiced art…it is a mind muscle and it requires strength training.

Vicki Davis June 7, 2015 - 6:29 pm

Amen, Janet. It is a muscle I’m just developing!


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
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