Monday, March 30, 2015

Post-it Monday
The first week of this month was winter break, one of the teaser weeks during the semester where I can temporarily set aside class prep and tackle all the other things on my list -- both the "must do" items and the "want to do items." As the week approached, I found myself doing what I always do when I have a break coming up -- creating a superhuman list of things I want to get done.

This time, though, I did it a little differently. I pulled a page off the oversized Post-it calendar that's been sitting neglected in a corner of my office and pressed it into service. Undated and twelve inches by eighteen inches, the page has a column for each day of the week. Each column is just wide enough for a 2 x 2 Post-it Note and just long enough for five of these to fit without overlapping.

Mine looks a little different, but you get the idea.
As break approached, and all the ambitious ideas began popping into my head, I set a pack of Post-it Notes and a Sharpie marker on my desk. Every time I thought of something I wanted to do over break, I jotted the idea on a Post-it Note, and stuck it onto the calendar page, in no particular order. I was not at all surprised when I overran the "neutral" column to the left of the labeled columns and began filling Monday's column.

By the Saturday before break, I had fifteen 2 x 2 sticky notes. Time to kick the plan into action.

What plan? Each day, I chose the sticky notes I wanted to tackle. By choosing tasks each morning instead of assigning them to specific days ahead of time, I got to choose the things I was most motivated to do each day (it was supposed to be a break after all!) and increase the likelihood that they actually get done.

That Saturday was a good day. Productive and a validation of my plan.

Sunday, I woke to snow and the threat of worsening road conditions in an unspecified time frame. Concern over getting to and from church safely lay over me like an ice-covered cloak, and it stuck with me all day. I was tired and grouchy and didn't even look at the Post-it Notes, let alone select any. Instead, I puttered, napped and read a book. A novel. For fun. (I added that sticky note to the calendar after the fact. Reading for fun should be on every vacation wish list).

So, why am I telling you all of this?

Later this week, my spring break begins. It's shorter, and it encompasses Easter. In addition, my daughter's school break overlaps mine.

All the more reason to get out those Post-its.

Last time, the plan helped me to keep a clear head -- for the most part, anyway. It was definitely preferable to trying to remember everything and far superior to creating one, depressingly long to-do list that lingered long after break was over. There's something about a brightly colored Post-it Note that lowers the intimidation factor.

So, even though I still have the remnants of my original sticky note list (some recurring activities, some I never got to), I'm going to pull out my Post-its and my Sharpie and get to work.

This break may be a small one, but there's no reason I can't dream big.

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