July 9, 2023: Avoidance? Procrastination?
I have had an incredibly busy summer so far. It has been 25 days since school got out for the year, and I have had 15 days scheduled with school trainings or teacher institutes or professional development classes. By choice. I have also volunteered to be part of a virtual meeting with a legislator to advocate for education funding, agreed to take on a fall college class with 80 students, and have been working on sessions I will be facilitating later this summer for new teachers joining our district.
While I love these opportunities to gather with other educators, improve my own pedagogy, and contribute to the profession, I started to wonder if I was filling my calendar with these activities in order to avoid others.
As I looked at my Summer Goals List, I realized that I was making great progress on the goals related to my career as an educator, while almost no progress had been made on my goals related to my work as an author/writer.
That does not seem horribly unreasonable, since it is my work as an educator where I earn my money. However, it is typically over the summer months that I am able to devote larger chunks of time to writing tasks than I am able to during the school year. I usually try to capitalize on this.
While I had accomplished much so far this summer, my list of writing goals for the summer sat unchanged. Was I avoiding writing? Procrastinating? Neither is typically a trait I tend toward.
Then I took a closer look at exactly what I was doing, or in this case, what I was not doing.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People training came rushing back to me. This is exactly what Steven Covey focused on when he touted having weekly WIGS, (Wildly Important Goals). The 7 Habits teachings tell us that each week we must make a list of our non-negotiable goals. These are our priorities and must be done no matter what. They get written down and then put on our calendar. It may be a family dinner, a meeting with an important client, finishing a report, or a doctor appointment. The best WIGS are ones that reflect the different areas of our life, (ie. family, career, self, etc), and move us toward our life’s purpose.
I had not created weekly WIGS since school got out. I had let the tasks of each week unfold and dealt with things as they came up. Some things got done. Others did not. The problem was that there was no strategic focus and no calendar coordination.
This week I was back to it. I set my WIGS, making sure that I scheduled the time for those writing tasks, like finishing the draft of an article for a Professional Journal, and gathering and organizing the research for a new book idea. And they got done!
Cheers to the power of WIGS!