Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Goal Setting and the Hamster Wheel of Life

Last week, as an add-on to a staff meeting we were shown this video about goals. Even though I made a few wisecracks about it while watching it, there are some important concepts within it that are beneficial to think about when it comes to any job, but especially education.

The video explains that goals are not necessarily the best thing to have. For example if your goal is to walk 10000 steps a day, once you reach it, it is pretty anticlimactic and you end up having to set a higher goal - say 11000 steps or more per day. 

The video then explains that it is more productive to have a system in place, rather than a goal. A system, according to him, is setting aside a specific amount of time to work on something. For example, our principal suggested setting aside one afternoon each week to do a certain task that many of the educators don't really enjoy doing - but can be overwhelming if not done. Instead of making the goal of finished x amount of tasks per week, the idea is to work on it x amount of time.

In my mind this is all semantics and is the difference between a result-oriented goal and a process-oriented goal (and that's how I'm going to refer to it in the future). At the end of the day, it's still a goal, but it's a more manageable goal that doesn't come with as much stress to finish something. 

I run a a lot (or at least I used to) and I've always adhered to this idea. When I planned what I would do each week, I focused on how much time I would run each day, NOT on how far. Thus, I made sure I put in the time to get better, but I put no pressure on myself if I wasn't feeling great that day. Eventually, putting in the time works a lot better as you don't feel like you've gotten behind on things.

So this past weekend, I tried doing just that. I said to myself that I would spend an hour on my weekly planning and I kept to it.  I felt afterwards that I had been more efficient than I usually was, as I was on a bit of a deadline. I also felt like I was more focused on the task at hand because I wasn't thinking about how much longer I had to work to get it all done, but how much longer I would work until I could move on to something else.

This is also about wellbeing. It's so easy in education to keep on working. The job is never really done. I can't count how many balls I'm trying to juggle at the moment (and that I've not done a good job of for the last few months - exhibit A would be the time between this post and the previous one). 

My next step is to make a weekly schedule to make sure that I'm doing the things I need to do regularly. So it will be an hour for activity x and 30 minutes for activity y.  This should help me be more consistent with things such as my Google Innovator Project (it's been a long while), this blog, more breakouts and more math videos - not to mention enjoying other aspects of my life!

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