Taking your time can actually increase productivity and reduce stress

Consider this non-scientific scenario:

A third grade girl has to get through 10 math problems correctly before going out to play. She is eager to play so rushes through the problems, getting all of them wrong. Now, instead of enjoying the victory of hard work, she must start again. Now, frustrated, crying, she breaks down, unable to focus at all. Time wasted, time lost, and she is still unable to successfully complete the task.

And that’s just homework.

This is all too true in the workplace as well with our own tasks from time to time. I won’t even ask for an invisible show of hands of how many people out there have unnecessarily rushed through a task just to “get it done”.

We stress ourselves out so well! Why do we do this to ourselves? In the case of my nine year old, she has better things in mind such as going outside to play or trying to catch up on her favorite shows. In the case of grownups, perhaps we just dread the task and want it over or maybe it’s the end of the day and you’ve just had it.

Whether you better relate to the exasperated nine year old or the self-rushed worker, we all have a story. The question is : why do we keep creating more stress for ourselves than we need to?

The go go! of the modern American lifestyle is exhausting. We constantly have a never ending to-do list and are often thinking about the next thing before we even complete the first. It does feel fantastic to check off that box, afterall.

My solution is simple – slow down! Now, I’m not advocating for soldiering in the workplace or becoming less than efficient or effective, but just to take time to do things right the first time.

My unscientific theory is that if we all slow down to understand things and get them as close to right the first time as possible, we save time and $$$ in the long run. This, in turn, helps the worker to better comprehend the task thus furthering toward expertise and therefore his or her own career. Bonus : Less stress!

So, pursue greatness everyday, strive to get your to-do list fully checked, but for your own sake, take a deep breath and take your time to do the job well and right the first time.

Now, if I can just convince my nine year old about this wisdom…

Why I’m Getting Close to Pulling My Kid From School

What’s My Big Problem?

I’m the parent of a kindergartener and an educator myself. Having worked in the public school system for nearly a decade, I would always seemingly joke that I would never put my kid into the system after seeing the inner workings. I always would joke about it. But, I think the joke may be over.

My new journey is to learn as much as I can about what it will take to transition to homeschooling my daughter. I’ve always liked the idea but never thought that I would be a sufficient teacher for her. After all, I do need her to be able to learn from others as well as socialize well with her peers.

Those were my fears for not choosing homeschool all along – the peer isolation and the inability to be an adequate educator for her. I know these myths can be debunked.

My Issues with “The New Way”

As an educator, heart and soul, I am supportive of innovation. The innovation in teaching a foreign language developed by Dr. Stephen Krashen – the Natural Approach – is what drew me to teaching my passion, the French language. Upon researching for links to use in the previous sentence, I learned that Dr. Krashen himself has just published an article on his blog entitled “The Common Core – Ignoring Education’s Real Problems“, dated November 4, 2014. In short, he contests the Common Core agendas ignore the issue of poverty – the heart of the real issues of our schools’ brokenness. I encourage you to check it out – it’s a quick four page read.

So, what he said.

Then, to add to it, I feel so ill prepared to help my child through her school years. I was overwhelmed by something I saw in her class today that has insisted that I spill these words that are bursting out of me. I felt so unable to help my daughter do something as simple as 10+9=19. I didn’t have the proper vocabulary to help her. I know they are training them to learn the vocabulary that will help them succeed as they proceed, but it bothers me that I can’t help her. In kindergarten. I’m not helpless, I can learn, and I already have, but I’m an involved parent in the classroom. What about everyone else? How can they help their kids? The school isn’t sending home packets for us to study to understand what they are learning. It’s just happening.

It feels sneaky to me. And I don’t like that feeling. At all. Especially from the government. Nope. Not a fan.

I want to be clear – I DO want her to understand other concepts of learning. I just don’t like how things are going down in reality.

Do I take her learning into my own hands? Do I just bite my tongue and ship her off on the bus every day to learn The New Way? Will it even persist? Will the government take a deeper look at how they are trying to implement a common system throughout a highly diversified nation?

If I take her out of school, I still pay the taxes, but the district has one less pupil. That hits them where it hurts – in the pocketbook. Money talks, don’t they say?

I am ready to learn something new, too. Our New Way may just be the Homeschool Way. (I can’t believe I’m writing this!) But, I mean it.

Any comments, tips, suggestions are welcome. I appreciate your time reading my thoughts. Some may applaud, some may not. Which are you?

Sources Used

“Books and Articles by Stephen D. Krashen” (2014) Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.sdkrashen.com/ on November 21, 2014.

Krashen, Stephen. (11/4/2014) “The Common Core – Ignoring Education’s Real Problems”. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://www.sdkrashen.com/content/articles/2014_krashen_the_common_core_ignoring.pdf on November 21, 2014.

“Natural Approach” (2014) Wikipedia. Retrieved from the World Wide Web at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_approach on November 21, 2014.

Leadership emerges everywhere…even The Treehouse!

As my sister and I sit at The Treehouse with our kiddos, an indoor children’s play place, I can’t help but ponder yet again about the correlations between parenting and leadership.

This post will validate the point, at least for me,  that there is no one right management style for every situation. The individuals,  the culture, and the situation keep managers and parents constantly on their toes.

My nephew is 18 months now and starting to enter the world of the terrible twos. This is the age when I say there is a need for a change in management style.

“Its time to take back the role of the boss!” Up until this age it’s about allowing your children to explore under your watch rather freely. I’d consider it an empowering kind of micromanagement. Now that their boundaries have become rather transparent and they see an opportunity to push their limits, the rein on their power trips must be brought in. My role as the parent of a three year old most certainly is disciplinary, micromanagement all the way. Empowerment is already embedded into her culture; now I’m trying to set some limits after a period of free rein!

What has been your experience as your children enter those terrible twos? Have you noticed a change in “management style”?  As I am just a new mom, how about those changes in management that have yet to occur as she continues to grow? This post seeks your feedback and comments on the topic!

Thanks for reading! I am really enjoying the world of blogging and certainly plan to continue to spontaneously make posts as the moment arises!

Leadership 101 = Parenting 101

I’m a newbie in the world of leadership and parenting, and the correlations are just too strong to ignore.

 

Leadership largely as a study is an exploration of self. During formal study, you explore what it takes to be a leader and many determine, in fact, that they don’t really want to be in a leadership position. Much in the same manner as some friends in the past who determined that they may not aspire to parenthood after spending an afternoon at a friend’s little kid’s birthday party. So, what is it about leadership that so relates to parenthood?

 

First and foremost, being a good leader and a good parent is about the development of those around you, whether they are called your employees or your children. Being a parent is about guiding your child through the walks of life, even when it’s a matter of being the bad guy, aka the disciplinarian (my least favorite role in this position). Being a leader means guiding those around you to grow professionally under your wing. The adjective of “good” often stems from the “why”, which just so happens to be my three-year-olds favorite word at the moment.  Do you do it because you have to as a part of your role, or do you do it because you love to watch others develop and grow? I believe the root of our motivation correlates with our success. Whether it’s a matter of parenting or leadership, if you’re hearts not in it, it becomes quite obvious to others.

 

Another correlation of leadership and parenthood is the simplicity of success. Many times, we tend to overcomplicate things; at least I can speak for myself! Sometimes when everything hits the ceiling and my toddler is ranting and raving and tearing up the house, the solution is as simple as to turn off the television or perhaps to just put her in her bed. Moments like these hit me hard, especially in the wake of actually attempting to talk to her to calm her down or some other adult type of rationalization in the moment. Leadership is often similar. Leaders don’t necessarily have the singular role of motivating, leading, and developing their employees; they often have that dual role while upholding the business operations as well. So, life at work gets complicated. There are orders to be met, customers to keep happy, employees to manage, and bosses to answer to. Often, the simple reality of humanity underneath every function and operation of the business can be overlooked. That’s why I tell my management students probably 40 times in a semester class, “No matter how complicated your affairs may become, never forget that you are working with people, people who have lives outside of here and who have feelings dominating their beings and blood running through their veins.” I personally believe that much of what makes dissatisfied employees is that disconnect of humanity with management.

 

Finally, I’m not sure there is one right or one wrong way to be a parent or a leader, nor is there a textbook that will teach us what experience will. Different situations call for different styles in both situations. Nine months of pregnancy and endless books, blogs, websites, and chatting with other mothers could not have prepared me for what happened once my child was put into my arms. The moment dictates my actions. Sure, if I have a moment to ponder (rare), I can recall information about the situation that I had read in the past, but instincts kick in. The first look into those eyes and the promises start rolling – safety, happiness, vacations, strength, courage, manners, life’s lessons. I think a leader should take a similar approach with a new employee or team. The leader should promise to them what she brings to the table and what she hopes to help the team or individual create and become. In essence, this would be equivalent to the “Leader’s Charter”, a wonderful mission statement for any leadership position written by Art Petty and Rich Petro in Practical Lessons in Leadership. Start out simply knowing where you want to go, how you want to treat your people, take advice and lessons from life and books, and stay focused in the tough moments.

I have a little secret to confess: when I was a high school teacher, I used to secretly thank my students’ parents for the practice in becoming a parent. Human beings are sometimes tough to manage, especially in those difficult, hormonal years of self-exploration, and I got a crash course in teenagers! Again, the several adolescent psychology courses that I had to take certainly became a foundation of my knowledge but rarely could I ever recall a particular theory when in the moment of chaos in the classroom. Leading a classroom of teenagers or a team of adults or a child through the walks of life all have much in common, and I think the key to it all is to try to have an empathetic approach to everything. I say it and know in the same breath how challenging this can often be. But, the attempt to put yourself in another’s shoes itself, even if unsuccessful, proves the heart in you as a parent and a leader and the presence of the answer “because I care and want to help you” to the never-ending question of why.