Motivational Monday; Teachable Moments



“One day at a time, one moment at a time.”- Anonymous

When I look around me, I see the world spinning, sometimes out of control. Especially of late, I have been overwhelmed with everything that is happening in the world, in the USA, and in my own life. I already tend to take too much on and be extremely busy. In this noise, in this constant state of movement, I occasionally catch myself in a state of unfocused paralysis. I am always looking a list when this happens. I have a physical or mental list for everything. A list of chores I should be doing, a wedding checklist, a to-do list at work, and very recently a list of personal actions I have found very important. So what do I do when I find myself staring at a list unable to figure out where I am headed or how to get there? These are my suggestions for finding focus and flow.

  • Write smaller lists
    • Create categories
    • Group like tasks together
  • Prioritize these lists
    • What are things you have to do today?
    • What can wait until tomorrow?
    • What can wait a few weeks?
    • Can you leave work at work?
  • Give less than fun tasks a deadline
    • You are more likely to complete tasks when they have a deadline
    • You won’t end up with one pair of clean underwear and dirty socks because you decided to do laundry 2x per month instead of every 6 weeks
    • You won’t have to eat rice and canned goods for a week because you put off going to the grocery store
  • Start using the “Block Scheduling” method to completely focus on one thing at a time
    • Prepare for the task before you start
    • Clear your desk of everything except necessary materials
    • Commit to being undistracted
    • Turn your phone off
  • Have a “dump day”
    • Complete all the tasks you have been putting off
    • Makes the rest of the work week better and can make these tasks more fun because they are an “event” (data entry, cleaning dishes, doing laundry)
  • Drink buckets of coffee
    • Or tea
    • And water
  • Go for a wellness walk
    • Give yourself frequent walking breaks. Do a quick lap around the office. Walk outside. Go get coffee.
  • Go outside and appreciate the scenery or a body of water (bodies of water calm you down)
    • According to research in Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols, being around water makes you happier and healthier, reduces stress, and brings peace.
  • Invest in yourself
    • Do you have a hobby or skill that you have always wanted to try? Do it!
      • I am working on being able to do a handstand
    • Take a fitness class
    • Do some things active
    • Get a massage, relax
  • Take a day
    • Have one day per week where you have nothing planned
    • Be okay if you don’t complete anything
  • Find causes you’re passionate about and start donating or volunteering
    • Find several causes that resonate with you and donate. I picked four organizations and I am only able to donate $5 per month but it is what I can do.
    • Get in contact with your Senator or Representative. Make phone calls, sign petitions, send emails & postcards.
    • Find like-minded individuals and connect with them. Grow your support network!
  • Remember these tips:

These are the ways that I try to find calm and focus in my little corner of the world. Please remember to take life one day at a time, one moment at a time.

By: Richelle

Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce

Mistakes.  Everyone makes them, but the way we deal with them shows a lot about our character.  In the land of working with students (of any age), we often counsel students through mistakes they have made in school, on the job, or even mistakes in their personal lives.  Within the first year or so of supervising students, I realized two things.  First, students make mistakes and if we treat them as learning opportunities many of them will grow and become better because of that.  Second, you can build more respect from those you work with and supervise if you have an ability to own up to a mistake and work to improve.

Sometimes, we who work in higher education settings, forget that many of our students have never had a job before.  We forget that for many, no one has ever taught them about how to handle difficult work scenarios, be accountable for their actions, stick with their commitments, or use their critical thinking skills to get the job done.  We get frustrated because we feel like we are babysitting our 21-year-old employees because we can’t understand why something that seems so easy is not being completed because we feel like we would not have made those mistakes.  We need to remember that we are preparing the next generation to enter the workforce, preparing people who may become our bosses one day, who may become a leader of a corporation, a city, a state, or a country.  And it is our job to help them learn and grow both from the positives and negatives.

Occasionally the mistakes made are serious enough to lead to employees being taken off the schedule or losing their jobs.  They might be serious enough to cause a student group to lose funding or the ability to travel.  But in most situations, if handled well, the individual will learn from it.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with these situations.  It can be as simple as a write-up, or e-mail.  There might be a sit-down conversation with one more people from leadership/administration, or it might require more effort.  Usually, when it comes to dealing with these situations, there are some policies or rules within the organization that serve as a guideline, but occasionally they are handled on a more case by case basis.  I have used the same procedure throughout my life coaching athletes, supervising students, and advising students.

  1. Acknowledge the mistake for what it is BEFORE contacting the individual
  2. Take a little bit of time to think about the seriousness of the incident and if you have had to handle any similar situations in the past
  3. Make contact by phone or e-mail with the individual involved and acknowledge that you are aware of what happened, using little detail, and request a face to face meeting
  4. Hit the issue head on at the start of the meeting using any facts you have collected
  5. State any policies that may lead to disciplinary action
  6. (I feel like a mom when I do this but….) Express your disappointment and frustration over the incident itself instead of coming from a place of anger
  7. Give them time to digest the information
  8. Allow them to share their thoughts/explanation – and hope they don’t deny it.
  9. Approach loss of employment from a “fit” standpoint – unless it is serious enough to cause immediate suspension/loss of job
  10. Express the issue as a learning opportunity, provide time to talk or other educational resources
  11. Lay out any punishments/sanctions/discipline
  12. Ask for any further questions, and offer an open door if they have more questions or concerns

Again, everyone makes mistakes and everyone handles those mistakes in a different way.  In the end, you are providing necessary feedback and allowing students/employees a chance to learn and grow to become a better human.

By: Caitlin


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