Torn

Yep.  It’s been almost a month to the day that I was last here.  Whoa, right?  And so as I begin, I feel like I should warn you now–this might turn into a real-life post, not one of those typical “here’s-what-we-did-and-here’s-why” kind of thing that you usually see around here.  I think I’m about to get real honest.  But don’t worry.  I’ll keep it clean.  There are kids around here, after all (well, and I guess if you really know me, I’d keep it clean anyway. 🙂 )!

So here’s the thing…right now I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions.  All of them good directions, mind you, but different nonetheless.  And me being me, I want to do my absolute best at all of them.  And so…I’m torn.  What’s the most important thing?  How do I manage my time and resources to have time for that thing?  And then  how do I decide what that thing is?  Priorities are hard for me.  To me, they’re all important things.

In this season of life, I find myself being a wife, mother, teacher, grad student, blogger, ball juggler, plate-in-the-air-keeper, friend, daughter, and probably lots of other things I can’t even think of (because that list is already so long)!  And like I said, it is in my genes to want to do the best possible job I can in all of those things.  But that’s so hard!  Case in point: this blog.  Poor neglected blog.  Blog that I love. But because I’ve been working like crazy to do a great job at the other things on the list, the “blogger” part of me has been moved down the list of importance.  Also insert the fact that there is often just enough time to actually do the things I want to write about, and then no time to do the writing about those things!  I have at least 10 blog posts waiting to be written, pictures to accompany them, and loads of fabulous stories of the amazing things happening in my classroom right now, but again–where do I find time to tell you about them?  Probably the hardest part of this scenario is that besides writing for you, I write for myself–it’s like therapy, you know?–and so that part is missing for me right now, too.  But…I’m torn.  What has to give for that time to be made?  I can’t choose not to be a mom.  I can’t choose not to finish the homework for my school law class on time.  I can’t not get the plans ready for tomorrow at school.

I know what you’re thinking: stop whining.  Figure out how to make it all work in the time that you have.  Take some things off your plate.  Heck, you might even tell me to sleep less so I have more hours in my day (although, I hope that’s not your answer, because I’m really tired right now!).

But really–how do you make it all work?  How do you find time to do all the things you need (and want) to do without really just feeling like you’re doing  a crummy job at them all (and I’m really asking here, so hopefully you’re compiling the answer you’re going to leave me in the comments in a second when you’re done reading this)?  I want to work less, but when there’s a meeting before school, at plan and after school more days than not in a week, I have to bring my work home in order for it to get done.  But once I get home, I obviously want (and need) to be a wife and mom–dinner has to be made (as well as lunches for the next day), dishes and laundry have to be done, and if I’m lucky I will find time to snuggle with my favorite 2YO before she scoots off to bed at 7 and read with my favorite 1st grader before he’s asleep at 7:30.

Alright….I have lots of other things tumbling around in my brain right now, but every time I start to write them they seem like I’m just complaining–which is really the last thing I want to do.  Because really I don’t find any of this troubling in itself; many of the things on my list of “busyness” are things I do by choice.  I just want to find a way to do them all well, so that I don’t look back in the years to come and regret anything.  I don’t want to miss anything along the way or let anyone down….and so, I’m torn.  Is it possible to have it all?

I’m going to ask again, just so we’re clear that I want some feedback here (does it help if I say “please?”): How do you find the time to fit all the things you want and need to do into the time you have?  What structures do you have in place to help you be efficient with your time? How do you decide what’s important?  (And no, I can’t just quit my job and run away to Disney World.  But don’t think I haven’t considered that!)  What advice do you have for me as I sift through my long list of have-tos to find balance?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.  🙂  And yes, someday soon I hope to be able to come back and actually tell you about all those fabulous classroom-happenings.  But you know, by then the list will probably have doubled!

 

Life Lessons I Learned on my Treadmill

I am a thinker.  If you know me, you probably know that I ask a LOT of questions, and that I am always chewing on something.  It’s great to know that if you’re ever in a meeting with me, too, because I will often not have any answers for you on what I think about the topic right then–but if you get back with me the next day, I’ll have a big, long list of things I want to talk to you about!

I’ve shared some of that thinking here before, related to me as a reader and a writer.  I’ve even wrote about things you should know about me as a runner.

And so that brings me to this post here today: Life Lessons I Learned on My Treadmill.  Surprisingly, even when I’m running and sweating on my treadmill at night, my brain is working.  I’m thinking.  And usually I’m thinking about what I’m going to write about next, or what I will write at my next Facebook status (weird, I know. 🙂 ).

Hope you’ll enjoy what I was thinking about during my run tonight:

1. Just do it.  Even if you don’t want to.  There are times in each of our lives when we don’t want to do something, but know it’s good for us, or maybe that we have to do it because someone’s told us to, or is expecting us to.  Tonight was one of those nights when I just wanted to sit on my couch and veg out–to check my email and Facebook, hang out on Twitter and blog.  But what I needed to do was run.  It was a running day (every other day is), and it shouldn’t matter if I’m tired.  And so I had to ignore those voices screaming in my head for me to be lazy and just. Do. It.  And you know what?  Once I got started, I was SO glad I had made that decision.  And just like with running, sometimes you just have to stop thinking about how much you DON’T want to do it (a project, homework, the laundry, whatever) and DO it.  Usually that takes less time than the whining part anyway.

2. Take someone with you.  In this case my “someone” is not a real “someone,” but is instead a music playlist.  Many times when I run, I watch TV–shows that no one else in my house cares about, that I can watch while I’m alone and exercising.  Tonight, though, I took my friends from Pandora with me instead, and it made the time pass much more quickly.  Instead of paying attention to the clock or the time I had left in my workout, I was singing along (yes, at the top of my lungs!) and not even noticing the time.  Many things are like that–having a friend (real or on the radio) there to chat with, laugh with, learn with makes the whole thing much more enjoyable.  You might even learn something new without knowing it.

3. You just feel better when you’re moving. This one might be a personal opinion rather than something I’ve learned, but I can definitely say I feel loads better when I’m moving than when I’m not.  There were some weeks months when I wasn’t doing anything in terms of exercise.  I had started running a year or so ago, and was loving it and what it had done to me and for me physically.  And then school started again.  And I started my Masters program.  And I had a little one start kindergarten.  You get the idea.  Suddenly I looked up and it was JANUARY and I hadn’t run a single step since August.  And I didn’t feel very well.  I was sluggish, run down and just felt plain icky.  And yes, I had gotten a little larger than where I was at the end of the summer.  And so just after the first of the year I started over and relaced my running shoes.  And am feeling so amazing again.  Now it’s hard NOT to run because of the fabulous way it makes me feel when I do it. (I’m not really sure how this one relates to learning specifically, except for I guess that your brain works better when you’re active than when you’re a couch potato.  It’s a muscle, right?)

4. You will make time for what’s important to you. This one is true about whatever it is in your life that you want to do, but for me it’s running and writing.  People often ask me how I find time to keep up with this blog, do what I need to do as a wife, mother and teacher, running, etc. and the short answer is that I make it.  Ok, really I tell them that I don’t sleep.  But that’s not at all true because I love me a good nap!  We all have the same number of hours in the day; it’s about how you use them.  Instead of watching TV or playing a game, I choose to write on my blog or read a book I want to share with my 5th graders.  Instead of watching TV (or WHILE I’m watching TV) I run.  And so I guess another part of the answer is that I am a master at multi-tasking.  I don’t do much sitting.  I do many things all at the same time, because I want to make sure I have time to do them all.  Doing the things that are important to you first is another strategy I choose to employ, too, and then I make sure there’s time for them.  If you want to, you will.

5. Think before.  I was going to make that title say “Think before you speak,” but then I thought about it (ha!), and really I’d say it’s a great thing to do before you do LOTS of things: think before you speak, think before you write, think before you act, think before you eat, think before (and while!) you read, etc…thinking is just a good thing in general, and there are many people who just don’t do it!  They move and do and go, without really knowing where they’re going or why, what they’ll do when they get there, or the process they’re going to use while they’re there.  I mentioned already that I am always thinking.  The whole time I was running, I was drafting what this blog post would sound like!  See? Multi-tasking.

6. Smile. Smiling just makes everything better, and can even fool you into liking something you didn’t think you would.  Plus it makes your face look nicer. 🙂

7. Don’t listen to Adele Radio.  That Pandora station doesn’t play enough Adele.  Pick the Sara Bareilles station instead.  Much better stuff.

Your turn: what life lessons have you learned lately?  Where or when did you learn them?  Share your ideas with me and my students!  We’d love to learn from you!