The 3 R’s of Planning and Preparing

For the regular followers, we have been highlighting the importance of preparation and planning over the summer.  For many of you, your academic years have already started.  Like us, if you are on the quarter system it is just now beginning.  The questions you should be asking yourself as you move into this point of the year are “Am I ready?” and “Did I accomplish everything I set out to accomplish while my students were gone?”


I like to take a three-step approach to answering these questions.  I usually think about this 2-3 weeks before the first day of staff training or student employee interaction.


  1. Reflect on what your goals were at the end of the last academic year.
  2. Review all the steps you took, and all the items you crossed off your “To-Do” List over the summer.
  3. Recap what you accomplished, and what is still a work in progress.


    As I sit here thinking about where my plans for my program stand moving into the start of a new academic year, I am reflecting on the goals I had at the end of the year. For this, I am focusing on anything related to my job instead of the personal goals I have set for myself.  I try to set goals for different parts of my job.  I set goals that will help the whole department, I set goals to establish or grow connections on campus, I set goals to improve what development opportunities I have for my students, and goals related to changes I can make to make things more effective and efficient for students.


Professional Organization

Get other schools on board to host conference in our area
Get approved by governing body to host

Get over my fear of budgets and prep the preliminary budget
Submit presentation proposal for annual conference



Create, Plan, Implement a new All Staff training for Fall 2017 and years to come.  

This training will offer professional development, personal development, community

Building opportunities, and we will offer some form of “swag” to all attendees that will
Demonstrate a sense of pride in their workplace.


Grow Connections

Meet with those whose paths I have crossed and talk about how we can help
Each others programs this year.  Get out of the office, get to know people, and
Plan some collaborative programming for the next year.

Improve Leader Opportunities

Connect with different professors in leadership studies on campus
Create a template for introducing leadership themes throughout regular Leadership
Increase opportunities for all leaders to interact socially

Changing Policies/Procedures
Try to get travel reimbursements moved online
Get Club Dues payments moved to an online option
Put care pack purchasing online
Implement use of Concussion Management App
Create online training for student leaders and coaches who have attended in person concussion training
Make budget information easier to access by students
Formalize travel booking and equipment purchasing procedures

Introduce 4 new program assistants who have specific responsibilities

Move sections of the handbook to a form to have all members sign

Try to get registrars office to approve access to student records for grade checks



As I go through the things I wanted to get accomplished over summer, I realize that although at times it felt like I was not getting things done – and I even had a moment of serious overwhelming feelings a few days ago – I accomplished a lot.  I could easily walk through each item on my goals list and generically check them off if I complete them, however, it is a little more fulfilling if I think about all the small steps that went into completing those goals.  This is the step that sometimes makes me a little bit anxious.  For certain things, I don’t have answers yet.  I don’t know if the things I am changing or implementing will make things better or more hectic and I won’t know until I start reflecting at the end of Fall Quarter.  But I can’t go into Fall Quarter fearing the unknown, so on to step 3.


  1.  RECAP

The process I use for recapping is almost like a checklist.  Sometimes a physical checklist, other times a mental checklist.  However, when I feel overwhelmed it is so much easier for me to write out all the things I needed to do or still need to do and check or cross them off.  


Things I did

  • Created and planned a new style of All Staff Training – it will be implemented next week, we have stickers to give away (they are awesome) and everything is falling into place.
  • Got another school on board to co-host a conference with us in Fall 2018.  Still majorly in the planning stages and is not confirmed until the preliminary budget is approved.
  • Submitted a presentation at Annual AND Regional conferences.  Officially accepted for regional, still waiting to hear about Annual.
  • Connected with many colleagues across campus.  We have new training in the works for my students revolving around Violence Prevention, Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse, Resiliency on and off the field/court, Concussion training, Body Image Awareness
  • Made initial connections with some leadership professors and have early quarter meetings set up.  This might not help out with my offerings for this year but you can bet I will be taking what I learn and using it next summer to prep, plan, and review
  • Planned a leadership start of the year team building activity
  • Created an outline for delivering leadership topics through my meetings throughout the year, with the help of one of my students
  • Have a process set up to do reimbursements online
  • Club Dues payments will be online
  • Care pack purchasing will be online
  • Handbook important sections into a google form to be signed by each club member


What is a work in progress?

  • Formalized budget access for students
  • Formalized process for travel related requests and equipment purchasing
  • Implement concussion management app
  • Put concussion review training online for coaches and returning leaders
  • Get registrar’s office to approve grad check plans


Now that I can see what I got done and what is still in the works, I can easily pick out which of those things will get done on time and what things I have to wait for another department to approve prior to me being able to implement.


This process can take you 10 minutes, 2 hours, half a day or a whole week depending on how in-depth you are trying to be.  What it does for you though is clear up some headspace, get you to hold yourself accountable, and provide better programs and experiences for your students.


It is a simple 3 step process:

  1. Reflect
  2. Review
  3. Recap

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