We Are All Busy

So, for the first time this school year, I overheard someone say, “Sorry, I’ve been too busy.” I will spare any more details than that to protect the innocent (or the guilty I suppose?) The “I’m too busy” line drives me crazy. It literally makes my skin crawl. We are all busy. We all have lives and we all have things we’d rather be doing than work. Sometimes, however, work needs to be done and it might mean that you have to give up watching American Idol one night to get it done.

This is coming out rather harshly. I don’t mean to suggest that we should never say “no” to anything and that having time to relax isn’t important. In fact, a big part of the Time Diet philosophy is scheduling in relaxing things, the equivalent of “desserts” in a regular diet. However, another important tenant of the Time Diet is that every single thing we do during the day is a choice. Rather than saying you’re “too busy” say that you’ve chosen to use your time doing other things. That may seem like just a difference of semantics, but it’s really a whole attitude shift.

Saying, “I’ve been too busy” is a line that simultaneously gives an excuse for not having something done and attempts to makes the speaker seem more important than the listener. After all, the busier you are, the more important you are, right? (blatant sarcasm) Saying, “I’ve chosen to use my time with other things” on the other hand shows that you recognize that only you are in control of your time. It’s also a lot easier to truthfully use that line when the “other things” you’re talking about are work or family related and not vegging out on the sofa.

School School

Being both a teacher and a student can be a little confusing. I have to refer to being a teacher as “work school” and being a student as “school school” so people know which kind of “school” I’m talking about!

Well, “school school” started up this week at ASU. I’m so excited for this semester. The classes I’m taking are really interesting and I want to do well in them, not just for the grade, but because I really want to master this stuff! The problem is that this is probably going to be my toughest academic semester yet. Whew. Here we go again!

I think to manage the work load I’m going to need to add another Time Bucket to my list. Time Buckets are chunks of time in your schedule that you put different tasks in. For example, any homework I do goes in my evening “Homework Time Bucket.” Usually I come home from work and relax a little bit before dinnertime on the nights I don’t have class. This semester, I think I need to add another Homework Time Bucket here to put work in. If I take my laptop to work, and stay another 1-2 hours past my contracted time, I could get some extra homework time in and not feel so stressed in the later evening hours. The only problem is that I know how exhausted I usually am after a full day of teaching and I can’t wait to get home. We’ll see how this new plan works. It might have to also include an occasional coffee from Starbucks!

Not an Afternoon Person

Wow! What a crazy week it’s been, but so much fun! I knew teaching at three schools was going to be difficult to organize and I was right. I’ve had to tweak the way I do things a little bit. I really like to get my lesson planning done in my morning “Time Bucket” because this is when I’m the most focused. Unfortunately, I’m scheduled at one of my schools in the afternoons only and therefore would need to get my lesson planning for that school done after lunch, when I’m the least focused and productive. Instead, I decided to buy one of those rolling crates to keep all of my music and lesson materials in one place and carry it from school to school. This way, I always have all of my stuff with me and can do the lesson planning for all three schools in the morning.

It’s amazing how drained I am in the afternoons! I never thought I’d be one of those “morning people.” I get up at 5:00am every morning and before I get out of bed I’m exhausted, but then I’m quickly wide away and ready to get to work. While some of my colleagues are still a little groggy when they get to school in the morning, my mind is going a mile a minute with lesson plan ideas, instrument repair solutions and thoughts about our upcoming concert. Once 1:00 hits thought, yikes! My energy level spirals downward until by 3:00 I’m ready for a nap!

It’s important for us to recognize when we are most alert and productive and try our best to put any difficult or thinking-intensive tasks in that time slot. I know that’s not always possible, but if it’s something we’re aware of when planning our day, it certainly can help!

Getting ready for school to begin!

An essential part of the Time Diet philosophy is that everyone is in control of his or her own schedule. Boy have I been reminded of that lately! School is starting back up on Wednesday and this year I am teaching at three schools instead of one. That means three rooms to set up, three sets of welcome packets to get ready, three desks to organize, three sets of music to buy…it’s a little crazy! I am constantly reminding myself that nobody is making me do all of this. I requested to be at three schools this year because it meant I could focus more on teaching band- my true passion. I love teaching band and if I truly felt that the stress of getting the school year going out weighed the benefit of doing something I love, I would be looking for a different job!

I have three full days left before the students arrive and I have left nothing to chance. I have each day carefully planned out so that I know everything will get done on time. Part of that planning process includes going out to dinner with friends tonight. The best part about that is that I don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying an evening out because I will have gotten a lot of my work done before hand, and I have made time later for the rest of it. I know if I just worked non-stop this weekend, I would get burned out quickly. What good is a schedule if it doesn’t include a little fun?