It’s list-making, boo.
This is the part where my closest friends, family members, husband and co-workers all roll their eyes. What an anti-climatic blog post this turned out to be for you! #snoozefest #letdown
I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely do NOT have it 100% together all the time. I am a Type-A list-maker though. Yes, I enjoy the satisfaction of striking a bold mark (with of course one of my favorite PaperMate Flair pens orrrr Zig Writers if I’m feeling froggy) through my to-do items. However, I’ll let you in on the cold, hard truth.
If I don’t write it down, there’s a 90% chance it’s going to be forgotten.
I love knowing all about the different work styles out there, understanding various methods of remembering tasks, and how brains file away information uniquely. Part of this is my odd fascination with my own shortcomings and successful moments when it comes to my work-life and productivity in general.
All of this to say, when my schedule gets a little crazy, I step in to hyper-list-making-mode. It’s a scientific term. That I made up myself. So it’s not scientific at all actually. Ok, fine. I made it up.
When I’m drowning in one of these paralyzing ruts personally and/or professionally, I find that it is extremely difficult for me to move forward into a productive mode without initially creating a list. I then analyze, prioritize, and strategize. I view it as an ATTACK. That process makes it possible for me to function AT ALL when I’m stressed out. Otherwise, my eyes are darting in 75 directions, my life feels out-of-control, and my mind teeters on the verge of “Forced Shut Down.” (We all fear the wheel of death…)
My best advice to you during this hectic time at the beginning of a new school year is to WRITE IT DOWN. My family loves recounting this mantra that Mrs. Welch, my high school AP US History Teacher and Cheer Coach, repeated over and over. My twin sisters who were almost a decade ahead of me in school (sorry for aging you Court and Whit!) first heard this advice from Mrs. Welch when they had her back in the day, and her message hadn’t changed a bit when I came through as well. *Insert my deepest desire for you to be able to hear the theatrical way she relayed this and quite frankly ALL of her famous phrases. Trust me, you’re missing out.*
Why did she repeat this saying over and over and over in class? Well… First of all, history repeats itself. If we didn’t have records of what happened in the past, we’d keep making the same mistakes again. But, she also applied it to a written code of laws. Those are important for several reasons. Number one being that they create a shared reference. Number two is that if you can read the law (or if someone reads it to you), you can ultimately follow the law. Thanks, Mrs. Welch. I hope I’m still making you proud at 30 years old! 😉
Thoughts are fabulous. Ideas are even better. If we didn’t have creative brains that fantasize and eventually produce, we would have a bunch of problems with no solutions. However, if those abstract schemes do not make it to paper, it is extremely difficult to reign them in, analyze all possible outcomes, work through the potential obstacles, and finally execute them beautifully. Bottom line, it is important to have “brain-dumps” from time to time. Get it out. Look at it. Decide what is most important. Find your answers and then drag them home.
This may not be great advice for brains that operate differently than mine, and if that happens to be the case for you congrats for making it this far into the post. You’re now dismissed.
For those of you who KNOW this works for you or you’ve never committed to trying it wholeheartedly, I encourage you to give yourself 10 minutes at the beginning of every day this week to spill out all those to-do items. Plop down a list of the emails that need to be sent, dance moms who need to be dealt with (bless your dear soul sweet friend), facility repairs that need to be made, lesson plans waiting for your attention, music to be cut, paperwork to be completed, etc. Buy yourself one of those fancy sets of pens that I drool over (links included above) and most importantly, select ONE notebook for this activity. Here’s one with a cute, durable hardboard cover that I like!
You’ll thank me later when you see your co-worker struggling to locate that one list in the pit of her bottomless purse. My dad calls that “no man’s land.” 🤣 Was it on the back of that empty envelope, or in the corner of that crumpled up receipt?
We’ll neeeeever know!!!!
When I’m on the go, teaching class, or in a meeting away from my handy-dandy old-school 1995 notebook, I like to send myself emails. I sort my emails by “unread” on both my phone and my desktop. Those are the only ones at the tip top. That way, anything that still requires my attention later, whether someone else sent it to me or I sent it to myself, it will get done. I don’t allow an email to be marked as read until I know that I’ve handled every action that it required of me.
My unread emails are incredibly low compared to others that I’ve seen. (You know, those inboxes that come daringly close to sending me into cardiac arrest.) I always click the box to the left of my unopened emails and delete them in batches every time junk mail comes through. You. Gotta. Go. That’s the only way I know what’s truly needed of me!
I hope these ramblings help you sort through the mountain of thoughts fighting for your time and attention this week!
Well, team. It’s been real. And your suspicions of my insanity are probably pretty close to being confirmed. Until next time, when I can push that opinion on over the edge into “100% confirmed crazy…” See ya here next week!
(P.S. I’m leaving this little trip down memory lane here for you as A– proof that I did in fact cheer and B– as documentation that I’ve always been the tall chick in the back. I wish I had a picture on my computer with Mrs. Welch to share with you. She’s one of a kind! I assure you, she was most likely the one taking this photo. Raney, Laine and Kristen, I miss these times, ladies. We made it count!) 😉