Foresee the Future

Foresee the Future

It’s coming to the close of summer. I’ve enjoyed spending time with my son: days by the pool, movies on rainy days, and trips to visit extended family. If you’re anything like me, recitals are the last thing you want to be thinking about. My May was a recital marathon that included a traditional studio recital (2 weeks of prep and 3 performances) as well as 14 on-site recitals. Recital season is one of the most exciting and stressful times of the year for a dance instructor. The only real comparison is Christmas time. And every year, when it’s finally over, I just want to collapse. I’m very thankful for summer break. It is so nice and necessary to have this rest period. But as I’m collapsing onto the couch, and slowly realizing that I don’t have anything to stress about tomorrow, I pause and ask myself “What did this recital season teach me?” It is so important to take time, once rested, to begin to think of the next year. And when I think of the next year, I always think of recitals first.

 

By thinking of the end goal, I can create a plan going into the new season, and eliminate a lot of stress that occurred in the previous season. It’s only by really looking at what happened before, and acknowledging what I do and do not have control of, that I can affect any outcome in the future. So I replay each recital or dance in my mind and ask myself these questions about each of my classes:

  • What worked?
  • Why did it work?
  • How can I make sure it will work again next season?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Why didn’t it work?
  • Is that something I can control?
  • What can I put in place to combat this issue in the future?

 

Here are two examples of the process that I go through when thinking of the year ahead. One example is from in-studio, and one is from on-site.

 

In-studio:

I choreograph for the company dancers at my home studio. This includes about 50 dancers between the ages of 10-18.

 

What worked?

The dancers knew the choreography. They felt prepared for recital, and I didn’t have to call a lot of extra rehearsals.

Why did this work?

This worked because I started working on the choreography with them immediately in January. Because I was able to bring them together for combined rehearsals during regular class time, it wasn’t a big rush getting everything together right before recital.

How can I make sure that it will work again next season?

I will continue with the pattern that I began. I will start choreography early in the semester, and I will continue to have combined rehearsals throughout the semester. The dancers will be prepared early and not feel so much stress.

What didn’t work?

The dancers were not warming themselves up for rehearsal and were dancing cold which is dangerous, particularly before long rehearsals.

Why didn’t this work?

The dancers don’t actually know how to warm themselves up. This is something that I was taking for granted. I thought that it was knowledge that they should have just “picked up” by now. But upon reflection, I remember being young myself and not really knowing what to do when someone told me to “warm-up.”

Is this something I can control?

Yes. I can give the dancers this knowledge so that they know exactly what is expected of them when they are told to “warm-up.”

What can I put in place to combat this issue in the future?

I will focus the first 6 weeks of class this fall on teaching the dancers a specific warm-up sequence. I will play games with them to make sure they have memorized it. Then they will all use it for the beginning of class, on their own, once choreography begins. I will be able to watch them to make sure they are completing each exercise. I will talk with them so that they understand the importance of each exercise as well as the importance of warming up in general. If they understand why they are doing it, they are more likely to do it and take it with them through their lives.

 

On-site:

This on-site class in a church preschool. It is a ballet class of six 3-5 year-olds.

What worked?

The dancers knew the flow of the recital. They knew the structure and were able to follow me.

Why did it work?

I used specific colored tape, so the dancers knew where to go even though we were in a different space. I used consistent vocabulary to make sure the dancers knew exactly what move I wanted them to do. I had many conversations with them so that they knew what to expect on recital day.

How can I make sure that it will work again?

I will continue my system from last year. But this year, I will start incorporating the specifically colored tape and vocabulary earlier in the season. I will trickle it in more slowly, so that the dancers, and I, will not get overwhelmed. I will also start talking about recital a little earlier in the season.

What didn’t work?

The space was smaller than expected. I hadn’t been on the stage before and didn’t realize how shallow it would be. The students had a hard time seeing me because their lines were so shallow. One dancer got scared and wouldn’t go on stage.

Why didn’t this work?

It did not work for me to go into a space blind. If I had at least seen the space beforehand, I would have put the dancers in one line instead of two. I would have warned them about where I would be standing.

Is this something that I can control?

I can’t control that the dancer got scared, but I can warn the dancers about what to expect. I can’t control where we have class in the school, but I can control how familiar I am with the space.

How can I combat this issue in the future?

I will begin talking with the dancers about what to expect earlier in the season. I will try to find a story book I can read to them about being scared to go on stage. I will also talk to the director and see if it is possible to practice in the space the months leading up to the recital next year. If that is not possible, I will at least ask to go into the space myself a few times early in the year, so that I am more familiar with it.

 

This is the system that I use to make sure each season gets better and better. It is so helpful to have a plan before even stepping foot in the classroom. Some things we can’t control, and there will always be hiccups. But, each season is an opportunity to learn from what happened before and better our craft. By looking at the past, and thinking of the future before it gets here, we are able to become better teachers and serve our students better. This leads to less stress and more enjoyment. And most importantly, we’re cultivating a love of dance!

Cheers!

— Dani

 

*Dani Clark is an instructor at Studio Go, our sister company. Studio Go is an on-site dance studio committed to providing the best in on-site dance and movement throughout Atlanta, Athens, Charleston and Chattanooga. As a fun, upbeat, and positive company, we seek to enhance the lives of children and the schools in which we teach. We absolutely adore Ms. Dani, and she (as you can tell) is an incredible asset to our company’s overall vision. Thanks for sharing your dance insight with all of us, Dani! 
Make Her Day!

Make Her Day!

A smile can change the world …or something like that.

 

I don’t know about changing the world. I teach dance, after all. But what I do know, is that a smile can change your class. We all have heard how important smiling is. It makes you feel better. It makes people want to be around you. It makes life more pleasant. But, I am constantly amazed by the power that a smile truly has in the classroom.

 

I am very discipline-focused. I believe that it is imperative for students to know what is expected of them and what the rules of the classroom are. It is easy for me to get stuck in this and forget to smile. But every time I do, the students lose their attention span, and the class becomes torturous for them as well as me.

 

I remember one particular class last season. It was winter. It was raining. It was cold. This was my first class of the morning. It was a new school, so I was still trying to get the students to understand what was expected of them. I had one student who would continually disrupt the class. She would fall to make everyone else laugh. She would not stay on her spot. She would talk over the music. I was having to continually correct her, and she would ignore me! I was stern. I even had to put her in time out. Not only was she making the class difficult for me, she was preventing the other students from enjoying their time dancing. The worst part was that the director of the school happened to walk by when I was correcting the student. The director asked me if she needed to remove the student from the class.

 

And I had an epiphany!

 

Absolutely not, she did not need to remove the student from class. The student obviously needed this outlet to get her extra energy out and to bring enjoyment to her day. She was not ruining the class for everyone else. I was! It was me allowing her behavior to affect my own. We are adults. We are the teacher. We control the mood of the classroom; therefore, we control whether the students enjoy their time or not. Preschoolers are not aware of their emotions or actions, but we, as adults, absolutely are.

 

It is possible to give a child a skill, teach them discipline, and to have fun!

 

So the next week, when I returned to this class, I promised myself that no matter what, I would continue to smile. No matter what this child did, I kept smiling. I still held my discipline standards. I maintained the order in the class, but I did not allow my students to affect my emotions. And do you know what happened? She listened? She was not nearly as poorly behaved. She was not begging for attention because I was not bringing the mood of the class down with my frustration. She was having fun!

 

A student, who was potentially going to be pulled from the class, started listening. Her behavior continued to become better and better through the rest of the year. By recital, she knew everything that was expected of her. And her classroom teachers even told me that her behavior after dance was better than any other day. She got her ballet bun moment. Her parents were thrilled. And they have memories that will last a lifetime.

 

We are in charge of the mood of the classroom. Regardless of what is going on in our personal life or in the classroom, we can change everything. Even if it is the most rowdy, undisciplined class, we can change everything. Often all we need to do is to take a breath and smile.

 

I know! It’s hard! Maybe we have a headache. Maybe we didn’t sleep well the night before. I’ve definitely had days when all I wanted to do was to take the kids back to their classrooms. But, so what if we’re having a bad day? Our students will remember us better than we remember them. You may easily teach  thousands of students during your career. How could you possibly remember all of their names? But, they will remember their first ballet teacher. How do you want to be remembered? Will your students remember loving dance or hating it?

 

When dancers return from your class, don’t you want them to be smiling and excited? Don’t you want their teachers to be able to tell that they want to go to dance class every week? Those teachers are your communication with parents.

 

Make her day better because she had dance that day. Make dance day be the day she looks forward to every week. Make her parents know your name because she says it all the time with love. If you make her day, you make her life. Every child should have the opportunity for their ballet bun moment. And the way we do that, is to smile.

 

So here are my tips for a smile-worthy dance class:

 

  1. Use music that they enjoy. They are young. It is okay if they sing along. I try to use at least one song per class that the dancers have probably heard from somewhere else. They are always so excited to hear a song from a movie they love or that they have heard riding in the car with their parents.
  2. Use music that you enjoy. You’re probably going to be listening to the same song over and over again. Boredom leads to frustration.
  3. Breathe before ever giving a correction. Ask yourself, “Can I still smile while giving this correction?”
  4. If you do have to correct a student, have a conversation with the student that got in trouble to make sure that they understand why. Kids are smart. They will understand. Actions do have consequences.
  5. Make sure the students know what is expected of them. Go over the rules and expectations more than you think is necessary. Young children need to know the rules. It is only by creating a consistent learning environment that the students will know what is expected of them and then feel safe. 
  6. Smile! It truly does change everything, especially after reprimanding a student for breaking a rule. Bring the rest of the class together with a smile, move on, and bring the mood back up.

 

We are in charge of the mood of the class. Period. We are adults and we are the teacher. As long as you can keep a smile on your face, your students will enjoy their time with you. If they enjoy their time with you, they will go back to the classroom happy. The rest of their day, and their classroom teacher’s day, will be easier. Everyone will notice.

 

I believe that our job is to make sure that our students enjoy dance. We have the youngest dancers. We hold the future of dance in our hands. The dancers we are teaching are the ones that will change the industry in generations to come. That may seem crazy to think about, especially when teaching young, recreational classes, but that is where it all begins. We hold the key as to whether our dancers continue dancing or not. So in some ways, our smiles actually ARE changing the world.

 

— Cheers!

Dani

 

*Dani Clark is an instructor at Studio Go, our sister company. Studio Go is an on-site dance studio committed to providing the best in on-site dance and movement throughout Atlanta, Athens, Charleston and Chattanooga. As a fun, upbeat, and positive company, we seek to enhance the lives of children and the schools in which we teach. We absolutely adore Ms. Dani, and she (as you can tell) is an incredible asset to our company’s overall vision. Thanks for sharing your dance insight with all of us, Dani! 

 

A Day in the Life: Working for Studio Go Dance

A Day in the Life: Working for Studio Go Dance

By: Lindsey Blackburn, Studio Go Instructor

 

As I prepare myself for another season of recitals with Studio Go, I think back to all of the things I have learned thus far in my journey with this company. Studio Go is unlike any other dance education company I have worked with. Their emphasis on character and confidence building, rather than strictly dance technique, is unmatched in the dance community. And I think that’s what makes this company so special. Of course, the main goal is dance technique, and as a teacher for a company with clear monthly goals and expectations, it couldn’t be easier.

 

One of the aspects Studio Go Dance really shines over other similar companies is keeping all of our teachers on the same page. This is really the key to keeping such wide-spread classes successful; making sure your teachers know exactly what their students need to know by the end of each month. Then, once recital season comes around, schools that are miles apart are still on the same level.
While getting used to the daily routine (or lack there of) of a company with this sort of business model can be tricky, the reward far outweighs the struggles. Watching how my students grow, not only in their dance knowledge, but also as caring and loving humans, is truly my favorite part of what I do. It took a bit of practice and trial and error to find what works for me with this lifestyle of teaching, but it didn’t take long to get a good grasp on how to manage the nomadic nature of this job.

 

Being a teacher who is teaching not only for Studio Go Dance, but also for a traditional dance studio, I can say with certainty that I enjoy my Studio Go classes more. There is so much more room for creativity, and putting your own spin on classes as a teacher. Especially when it comes to recitals. Since each of our classes gets their own recital, it can be a little overwhelming, but it is so much fun. With a traditional studio, while you may get to pick your costumes (if you’re lucky) and choreograph your classes’ dances, that’s really the extent of the average teacher’s involvement. With Studio Go recitals, the teacher is responsible for literally every aspect of the performance, from setting the date and time, to finding the space (of course with the help of the school), to decorations, to preparing costumes and props, and putting the show together. This is my most favorite part of the year, because it allows me that extra outlet to be creative and do what I love, and show the parents of my students all of the hard work they have done that year. Another aspect of our recitals to note, is that each recital is 20-30 minutes long. I’ll say that again. Each class gets their own show that lasts for 20-30 minutes! So your parents are watching their students dance for about 10 times longer than they would at a traditional dance recital. This gives us the opportunity to really show them everything that we have learned throughout the year, not just a 3-minute slice of it. It has definitely been one of the biggest praises we get from parents at the end of the year. Everyone knows of the dreaded 3 hour recital that goes on and on, and your child is only on the stage for 2 minutes. This model completely shocks our first-time parents who are used to the traditional way, and really is a selling point for a company of this type.

 

To give you an idea of how my days with Studio Go run, here is an example of a typical day for me with Studio Go:

I arrive at my first school at 8:45am, sign in with the front desk and make my way to the gym, where our classes are held. I unpack my roll book, speaker, iPad, Bitty the Ballerina, and shoes and skirt. I tape the floor with the number of spots I need and an ‘x’ front and center, with one spot on either side to use for across the floor activities. Then I look over my roll to be sure I don’t have any new students I need to be sure to pick up, and remind myself of how many students I’ll be picking up. Once I have the number in my mind, I walk around to each classroom and collect my students, and bring everyone back to our classroom.
I take roll, and each student recites the ‘magic word’ for that day when their name is called. We have our class, get our stamps, and line up at the door to go back to class. Then it’s time to pick up a few spots, because the second class is smaller, and then pick up the next group and do it all over! Once the students are back in their classrooms, I put the room back the way I found it, pack up my teaching supplies, and head to the front desk to pick up anything she has for me (this time of year, it’s recital costume forms!).
Then I pack up my car, and have a couple hours before my next class. So I run errands, pick up lunch, or head to the school early (our class is held in an empty church classroom) and read or do some yoga and stretching. I get this room all taped and ready, just like earlier that morning, while another teacher does the same in the room across the hall. At this school, the preschool is two floors down, so we snag the elevator and make our way down. One of us meets some students in the hallway; while the other goes a little further down to get more. This is a very big group of students (what a problem to have!), so we have two classes running at the same time for both pre-ballet and tap-ballet. At this school, we have to help the students change into their ballet clothes before class, so once we get back upstairs we start to get them changed. We get everyone dressed together, then split the two classes and get started.
Once our pre-ballet classes are done, their parents pick them up and sign them out as the second group is coming in. Once the tap-ballet group gets settled with their tap shoes behind their spots, we get started just the same. We make it through the class, and the students change into their outside shoes (because tap shoes are so loud in the hallway!) and line up at the door to be picked up and signed out. I, once again, pack my supplies, make sure the room is the way I found it, and head to the car.
And these days, that’s it! Done by 2:30! What more could you want? Getting home in the afternoon before traffic (at least in Atlanta!) gives me so much time to get other things done. I can work on choreography for our recitals, plan out classes or recital decorations, submit my invoice, any number of things. While we do have classes that end later in the afternoon (5:00-5:30), the majority are over earlier in the afternoon. It is definitely a benefit over a traditional studio with exclusively evening classes.

 

All in all, Studio Go Dance has changed the dance education game in Atlanta, and our other markets. Leah has taken the traditional way of offering dance classes and really made it into something so marketable and unique. Her commitment to keeping things fresh and professional, while still offering quality technique and performances makes all the difference in attracting new students. I have loved every second of working for this company, and I look forward to many more seasons in the future.

 

Cheers!

Lindsey

5 Items Every Preschool Dance Teacher Needs in 2019

5 Items Every Preschool Dance Teacher Needs in 2019

Dance teachers, pull your dance bag out of hiding. Classes begin Monday for us at our sister company, Studio Go! I typically clear out all dance materials out of my car over a holiday break. Something about that helps me downshift into “real me” mode. When I don’t see preschool props, dance shoes, and music materials floating around in my vehicle, I’m more likely to relax and not think about work over a break.

Well, those days are over so it’s time to not only give my dance bag a clean-up, but it’s also time to revive my teaching materials! Get ready for a new year of preschool dance instruction! Read on to hear what I think every preschool dance teacher should have in his/her repertoire in 2019!

(FYI, the bolded items below are easy clickable links!)

 

 

1. Ribbon Ring Set 

Team, this is our best selling preschool dance prop. I just prepared a shipment of these beautiful rhythm props for a client in Australia, earlier this week. My students think it’s so special when we pull these out of our dance bags. They are whimsical and dreamy! These are great for “free space time,” an organized follow-me rhythm dance, or even as an across-the-floor prop.

For traveling activities like the latter, I prefer to place a pile of them on one side of the room and allow my dancers to approach them one at a time to select their own ring. They perform a traveling step of my choice like tip-toe walks, gallops or hopping on one foot, to name a few. Once they get to the other side, they get to perform a quick dance of their own choosing and show off their favorite move before they place the ring down in a second pile on this side of the room. Works like a charm!

2. Hand Sanitizer

This one needs very little explanation. Little kids can be gross. We love them. But they’re gross. 

Snotty noses, sneezing, slobbering, potty accidents, upset stomachs… You name it. We’ve all seen it.

Do yourself a solid and buy these for every classroom in your studio. And grab one for your car too. There’s no need to bring that mess home to your people! (We linked an aloe sanitizer above… Winter months here in the States are tough on our skin already, so make it easier on yourself!)

3. Shameless Plug – Our Concierge Monthly Subscription! 

We’re not ashamed to stress the value of our subscription, y’all. It’s the bomb. Lesson planning? Thing of the past. Boring, out-dated music? No more. Repetitive choreography? Not an issue. Worrying that your clients (the parents) aren’t sure they’re getting quality instruction? No under-informed folks over here. Students misbehaving because they’re not challenged or engaged? Not our style. Feel like your sticker or stamp “rewards” aren’t cutting it for today’s young kids? Not us. Staying up past your bedtime creating all of the above items? Not gonna happen anymore.

We offer two monthly subscriptions (ballet only, ballet & tap) and two payment options (monthly, yearly). All content is created with 3-5 year-olds in mind; however, our material is flexible and can be molded into your needs! Access to our private VIP Facebook group is also included in your purchase. This is where we gift members freebies year-round and provide feedback to all your dance questions/needs. We’re pretty creative ladies and we LOVE helping out our Tribe!

Curtains only open for enrollment twice a year, in January and the summer months. Guess what time it is?! JANUARY! If you’re interested in receiving free preschool dance content to “test drive” what our subscribers enjoy, click HERE and leave us your email address. The week of Jan 7-11, 2019, we’ll send you all kinds of materials for FREE. Our cart opens for purchase for one week only Jan 11-18, 2019. Stay tuned and join in on the fun!

4. Class Mascot

At our sister company where we teach about 800 preschoolers every week, we feel very strongly about having a stuffed animal or doll in each of our classes. Five reasons:

1. Behavior – Let your kids know that Bitty (or whoever you name your mascot) is watching. If she reports poor behavior to you after class, students may not receive their rewards. I will say  “Oh, Bitty does not like it when my dancers talk in class. We don’t want to disappoint her!”

2. Leaps – It’s an age-old concept… Give your smallest dancers something to physically jump over in the leaps portion of class. It’s concrete and helps them understand that height is needing while leaping.

3. Connectivity/Comfort – Ever had a hesitant little one in the lobby? Passing a classroom mascot to small dancers gives them comfort and welcomes them into class. Anchor them to the space by providing them with someone else to take care of. I’ll often tell my nervous babies that “Toula is a little scared to leave her mommy too. Would you mind holding her so that she feels better in class?” I’ve not only validated that dancer’s feelings, but I’ve given her a job to do that gives her motivation to join class.

4. Engaging Imagination – Let’s not downplay the affect of imagination on a preschooler. It’s our job to whisk them away to a land of magical wonders in dance class. You wouldn’t believe the sweet things I’ve heard my dancers say through the years about Bitty Ballerina!

5. Simulated Audience – Come showtime, you’ll really appreciate your classroom mascot. Place her on a chair in front of the mirror and tell your students that we’re performing for her. Use that as an opportunity to mentally prepare them for people watching them at a show. Explain that they’ll clap, stare, and maybe even giggle a little bit. We’re making them smile, and that’s a good thing! This audience member also helps them step up their game a bit in final rehearsals.

Click here to purchase Bitty, Toula or Bo from our shop. Handmade in England just for us, these dolls are provided to each Studio Go teacher at our sister company! Rave reviews all around!

If you’d rather go with a mascot who’s already in your studio, that’s great! We also found this precious ballerina bunny on Amazon. She’s gorgeous, delicate, and sweet. Whatever you choose, we know that your students will love him/her!

5. Bullet Journal

I’m extremely new to this. Like, I’ve purchased the journal that I linked above (in the 7.1″x10″ version), but I haven’t actually jumped into it yet. That’s number one on my list for this weekend before real-life starts back on Monday! Do a couple of searches on Instagram and Google on this topic and you will be amazed at the stories and examples you’ll find.

Basically, this is a totally custom calendar where you can store notes, ideas, to-do lists, to-read lists, shopping lists, habit tracking, and pretty much any other thing in your life that’s trackable. There are some impressive (and intimidating) artists out there who seriously go crazy with the cheeze-wiz out there. Don’t let them fool you into thinking that this practice isn’t for you, or that you’re not artistic enough to keep up! The bottom line is to plan your days, time-block your work-week, and tackle both long-term and short-term goals in a format that some fancy planner-designer could never have foreseen as useful for YOU.

We dance teachers have busy teaching schedules, high parent expectations, tons of craft projects, gobs of music editing, emails waiting on thoughtful replies, choreography to be created, and about a million other small things in between. Get yourself organized and prepared to be the best dance teacher you can be!

(Shout out to my sister Courtney who convinced me over Christmas break that I need to get on the bullet-journal train immediately. Good call, girl.) 

via GIPHY

 

Guys, that’s all I have for now! Believe me, the preschool dance classroom ideas up my sleeve are endless, but I decided to keep it short and sweet. These are the ESSENTIALS! Hop to it… The back-to-school clock is surely ticking!

Cheers,
Lauren 🥂

*** Please note that some of the links are affiliate links. There is nothing extra on your end, but we may receive a commission if you choose to buy a product. We only support products that we believe in and love! ***

Creativity: Why We Hand Out Monthly Color Sheets

Creativity: Why We Hand Out Monthly Color Sheets

You may have glanced around our website before and noticed that we have TONS of customized ballet, tap and hip hop color sheets available. Why so many? Why even offer these? What’s the point? Don’t parents pay for children to DANCE in dance class? I don’t get it!

(If you haven’t seen them yet, here’s my shameless plug to go check it out!)

 

 

I am here to answer alllll of those burning questions mentioned above! Let’s get to it!

 

1. These are take-home materials, not in-class resources. 

We send our students home from dance with color sheets as a reinforcement tool at the end of class at least once each month. This is a great way for the children to remember what we’re learning about throughout the week between classes. Parents love posting these masterpieces to the fridge and it helps to keep the kids excited about dance until their next class! Also, this is great tool for communicating with parents all about the comprehensive program that we’re providing their child.

 

2. It’s a great addition to our rewards system. 

We love giving out 2 stamps at the end of class – one for dancing and one for making good choices behaviorally. But, we’ve all been there as instructors when the stamps just don’t cut it! Having color sheets provides our teachers with another incentive to encourage their students. Give it a try! We promise that in several months, your students will so look forward to their monthly color sheets that they are begging for more! Our teachers seriously appreciate the extra help! 😉

Bribery is not beneath us! Sometimes the struggle is real, y’all!

via GIPHY

 

3. Repetition Repetition Repetition 

Kids love structure that they can depend on. It’s a proven scientific fact!

via GIPHY

Repeating activities and processes over and over is extremely beneficial for your students. Not only is the repetition of receiving that monthly reward a good thing, but it’s also repeating what we learned in class at home. We’ve heard stories of our students explaining all about ballet manners to their parents because they’ve taken home our September color sheet, which features two dance friends helping one other by tying each other’s ballet shoes!

 

4. Brand Awareness & Marketing

We love that our logo is spreading throughout the community every time one of those color sheets goes home with a student. You never know when one mama is having coffee at another mama’s house and sees it pinned to her bulletin board in the breakfast room! You are missing out on so many small marketing opportunities out there by NOT offering monthly color sheets, team! As business owners, we all know that every little bit helps!

via GIPHY

Allllso, get excited because we’ll be updating our website with a whole new year’s worth of ballet and tap color sheets in the coming months. The options are endless!

 

Cheers,
Lauren

Out & About: What’s Saving My Life Right Now

Out & About: What’s Saving My Life Right Now

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…)

 

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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! 😉

 

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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!!!!

 

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Pro Tip:

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!) 😉