O, November!

Early this morning, I read this sentence on some blog or another (I thought it was Gretchen's blog but do you think I can find it again?). Anyway, it has stayed with me all the day:

"November, why are you leaving already; you just got here!!!"

A glance at my calendar showed that already I have too much scheduled for the current week, let alone looking at the next few. I made a few adjustments. I wasn't sure if it helped or not.

I went to work and looked at all that needs to happen in the next three weeks before we have our winter break. It seemed impossible.

Apparently I wasn't the only person feeling this way. At our administrative team meeting this afternoon, our head of school suggested we take time for individual reflection and then paired sharing. He gave us small papers with the queries for reflection and we each took ten minutes alone with them. Then we were paired with another member of the team and took turns sharing. I received the gift of being paired with a lovely man who is, himself, a former head of school, and in the best position of any of the team to understand my particular role and the stresses it brings right now. Sharing with Jon and then listening to his story was one of the best things that happened to me today.

Perhaps the queries (or some modification of them)could be helpful to you, if you are stressing about the next few weeks and all that lies ahead. I thought I would share them with you. I'm also sharing my responses to one of the queries.

--What is the story of the next several weeks in my professional role? What lies ahead?

--What do my constituencies need and what would be helpful to them?

--How do I stay mindful at a busy time? How do I keep anxiety at a minimum?
...Eat the spinach first; that is, do my less pleasant tasks early in the day and not let them wait.
...Set priorities for the next three weeks now, and check them daily to see if they are still accurate and what progress I'm making.
...Be flexible.
...Absorb all that I can from a professional meeting I'll be attending on Thursday and Friday.

--How can I move from a long to-do list to a simpler idea of what needs to be done? For example, "My next three weeks is all about [these two or three things]."

It is Advent, a season of reflection on so many levels.


Gretchen said…
Yes that was me! I am fiercely hanging on to this last day of November by the coattails and digging in my heels....

Just remember that somehow, someway, we women always get December dressed and out the door and everyone loves it.
*karendianne. said…
What a great post! ...and hat's off to Gretchen. I appreciate the content and I'm going to put it into practice. Thank you, both!
Barb said…
WOW deep thinking with this blog entry! And yes where did November go? I truly am asking myself "how will I get it all done and be ready" (?), reading what Gretchen shared and your thinking, I am going to give it my best effort! Thank you for the helpful thinking!
Juliann said…
What a great thing Nancy - thanks for sharing this, I think it will be put to use before my week is up.
Great post Nancy. I work at a college so the beginning and the ends of semesters are beyond busy. I also have all these projects waiting at home for gifts. So I am making lists at work and getting done what needs to get done and at home I am organizing for one big sewing day which I know will make me feel much better about things. As far as Christmas decorating, I have a lot of decorations and I am only bringing out a fraction of it this year. Yeah for me!
*karendianne. said…
My week has been a lot better ever since you posted this one. Just gotta share that.
I guess it's a good thing Thoreau never worked at a Quaker school with his "Siimplify, simplify" mantra. Or maybe he did and that's whWVy he retreated to Walden Pond.
WV: corma - what happens when you eat too many niblets.