Even as a small child, I was the ‘busy’ kid. The afternoon before my mother gave birth to my little sister I, a rambunctious and naive 4 year old, jumped into the pool without my floaties. As I’ve grown up I have left my floaties behind continuing to achieve the best
balance with being active that I can. Spending my first Friday night home in 10 weeks I realized seven key ideas behind how I’ve been able to find life balance.
- I only work on projects I am VERY passionate about. I no longer have time to just do something to do it. I have had numerous opportunities avail themselves recently that I have had to say no to. My focus is currently on: a) bettering the education provided to students and b) supporting, connecting and providing a voice for ALL teachers (pre-service to retirement). Most importantly I make sure it is fun and beneficial. From Master Teacher to the first National Board Cohort in the Adirondack Park; from NSF Active Learning Day to STANYS; from Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Saratoga, Lake Placid to Plattsburgh I have been gaining and sharing information in many diverse environments. All places I arrived to full of excitement for what was ahead. All places I left invigorated and pleased that I had found a way to balance them in.
- I have an AWESOME support system. I could not ask for anyone more supportive than my boyfriend Kevin who lets me go and do as I see best. He always inquires but never pesters. My mom who lets me crash at her house near Albany when I am too tired to drive home. I’m convinced she messages Kevin so that he doesn’t worry.
- I set aside time for me. During the week this is 1 hour for exercise; on the weekend 1.5 hours. Even if I’m not exercising I utilize this time to get in touch with my mind. Time to relax. Time with no ‘work’. When I travel I utilize this time in the morning, ensuring that I don’t miss it. It also ensures I get to bed, even when busy, in a timely manner 🙂
- I am a full time teacher. REPEAT-I am just a teacher, not some sort of special something or other that is allocated oodles of time to go around doing stuff. For me this is key. My students come FIRST after myself. My work for them is always completed in a timely manner. I can apologize for submitting my journal articles late but I cannot make up for providing in appropriate instruction because I was unaware of how well a student was understanding. It is not my students choice to have me engage in other areas, it is mine. My students are the reason I have opted for such busyness. If I am to do it, I need to make sure they are taken care of.
- I am insanely organized. I have a google drive shared with all devices. I have found a system of labeling my papers in a manner that helps me efficiently locate them. I have very set areas where I place items. I have streamlined by distribution of papers in class and life.
- I go about my day with little white space. I am not chatting about my chickens in the teachers room. I place copies in the photocopier and eat my lunch. I am purposeful about every move I make. I do not waste time bickering or stressing about things I cannot control. I focus on how to weave the appropriate solutions into the time I have. I make time for those solutions in my busyness.
- I rely on others. I have built myself an ecosystem full of people with whom I share mutual support with. I learn about their capacities and strengths leaning on them when it is most efficient. For example, I’ve let others take ‘the lead’ in projects. The current planning of our ECET2 as a professional development day I have handed the main items off to four colleagues assisting me. After securing our administration’s approval they have contacted and brought three other districts on board. This is work that needed doing but that I could not have done. By empowering them we are able to offer something great to over two hundred people that otherwise would not have been included.
I encourage you to become engaged. Become passionate about something. And be busy with projects of passion. It is possible and it does matter. For you and the many whom you will impact. You don’t need floaties, you simply need a small step coupled with a system that YOU have developed and can live with to balance the busyness!