I generally consider myself to be a fairly organised and efficient person, qualities that have served me well in my position as Deputy Principal. Like most people in my position it is not unusual to be working on multiple projects at any given time and over the years I have pretty much mastered the art of multi-tasking.
So what is the secret to my ability to successfully manage my schedule you may ask? Well for me, effective organisation largely revolves around maintaining an up to date “To Do List”. Each week I list all the tasks that I am working on, prioritise them and set aside time in my week to work on each one. It’s certainly not rocket science but it works for me and the beauty of this method is that all I need is a pen and some paper.
This system has been a longstanding practice of mine during my working life for over 25 years. So you can imagine my distress last week when I lost my precious “To Do List”. I remember the day clearly, it had been a particularly hectic start to the day and somewhere in my morning I misplaced that all-important piece of paper. After shuffling through the papers on my desk I soon realised that it was not there. I sighed and said a silent prayer asking God to help me find it.
The casual yet unfruitful shuffling of papers on my desk soon led to a more frantic search throughout my whole office. My desk drawers, filing cabinet and even the bin were turned upside down and inside out trying to find the elusive document. Convinced that it was not in my office I began to retrace my steps that morning suspecting I may have inadvertently left it next to the photocopier or perhaps mislaid it when having a conversation with a colleague. It became obvious to others that I was on the hunt for something important; “Have you lost your keys?” one teacher asked, “Is it your mobile phone?” queried another. “No” I replied “something far more important than that – I have lost my To Do List”!
When it became evident that retracing my steps was not helping I returned to my office. Seizing the note pad from which the list originated, I grabbed a pencil and applied a technique I had said on a detective movie as a child by frantically rubbing the pencil over my note pad hoping to decipher the words imprinted on the page that sat beneath my list. Unfortunately, I am not a heavy handed writer and this method did not yield the same success that it had for Freddie and Thelma in the Scooby Doo Movie.
Realising I had wasted enough time on my search I sat down at my desk and began to wrack my brain to remember something from my list that I could begin working on. As I leaned over to turn on my computer I noticed a piece of paper lying hidden in between two filing trays. I eagerly seized it with both hands and realising it was indeed my beloved “To Do List” I clutched it to my chest in relief. All was now well with my world and the day continued just as it should.
This experience served as a timely reminder for me about the importance of having a vision and purpose in my life. I am most confident and secure when I know where I am headed and the steps required to get me there. My simple “To Do List” is not just a random set of odd jobs and tasks that have no meaning or purpose. Instead each item on my list can be linked back to one of my professional or faculty goals and ultimately to the actions that are articulated in our College strategic plan. Everything that I do in my role at Cedars has a purpose and knowing that the work I do every day helps to bring us closer to outworking the vision of the College is both motivating and empowering.
Knowing where we are headed in life and being able to identity the steps needed to get where we want to go is important for all of us.
Last week Cedars hosted a Subject Selection Evening for students in Senior College who are in the process of making decisions which will ultimately lead them toward a desired vocation. Each of these students have had the benefit of individualised career counselling with College Careers Advisor, Mr Andrew Gear. Through this program each one our students leave with a Career Portfolio documenting their career goal and the various steps that are required to get them there, beginning with appropriate subject selections. Having this type of clarity of purpose, written down to reflect on and serve as a reminder, is a valuable tool which we hope will continue to keep our students focused and motivated as they work toward their career goals.
“Where there is no clear vision the people wander astray … but when you follow the revelation of the word, heaven’s bliss fills your soul.” Proverbs 29:18