Hi again, everyone, and happy Christmas Eve. I hope you're not reading this. I hope you're on the couch in a pile with your family--your kids, your partner, your dog. Whatever. Because it's Christmas Eve. Time to shut down.
I've not shut down yet. I will, though. In 103 minutes we'll go to my mother-in-law's house for a great dinner, and then we'll hunker down at home and not leave until Monday morning. Ahhh. I wait for this shutdown all year.
Not yet, though, because last week I wrote about priorities and how what we care about can get in the way of what we should be caring about. I ended that post by promising a few ideas about how I make sure I’m remembering the important stuff—and how you can, too.
Lists. Whether it’s an old-fashioned composition notebook, Reminder app on your phone, or a well-managed Google calendar, writing down what you need to remember—in other words, things you need to care about—is always a good idea.
Find perspective through people who do care about the issue. If you don’t value something, there is certainly someone who does. Talk with them. Walk with them. See why it matters. Walking a few steps in their shoes might shift your priorities—or, at the very least, hold you accountable for caring for it.
Address calendar conflicts directly. If you need to be two places at once, make sure you communicate the situation to whomever won’t have your attention. That way, they don’t assume you forgot about them. They’ll know you simply have to be somewhere else.
Constantly audit yourself. What are you forgetting to take care of? Are there things you aren’t attending to, because you don’t value them? What needs to become a bigger priority?
Make a recurring month-by-moth list. I have a list, organized by month, to help me remember things that are important to the mission of running an efficient and well-organized school. I add to it as things change over time, and refer to it often. It helps me remember the things I do not care to remember (or can’t remember because they only happen at a certain point in the year) A glance at December’s list shows me 32 little things I must remember, such as:
Remind custodian to block No Parking lane before holiday concert.
Complete classified evalutions by December 15.
Check on January picture day.
Review indoor recess protocol.
Plan January PD date.
Plan, purchase, deliver staff gift.
Plan spring evaluation schedule.
Meet with AP--revisit goals.
Own it. If you do forget something you should have prioritized, be truthful. “I didn’t make this a priority, and it slipped my mind. I will do better next time. I apologize that I didn’t support you in this.”
These are some tricks I have to make sure I don’t forget important things that I really should remember to do. I never, ever want someone to think, “My principal doesn’t care enough to remember certain things.” I want them to think I care about all of it… all the time.