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Management Monday #2 – Motivation

motivation

Last night I made my first attempt at being a better “manager” or “leader” of people.  At our weekly team meeting/class, I did a get-to-know you activity (which made me realize there were still people in the class who did not know some of the coaches’ names…in week 10) and then did a motivational activity.  The motivational activity focused on expectations.  We did student expectations of themselves, their peers and their coaches and also did coach expectations of themselves, their peers and their students.  It was not necessarily revealing as none of the information really surprised me, but I do think it was a good exercise to get the expectations out in the open and communicated.  My plan is to now make a poster/sign of the repeated expectations and post it in the squad room.  I think it was helpful if for no other reason but to make students feel heard and respected.

My next idea for motivation I’ve had in the hopper since the beginning of the year, but never implemented.  I think now is the right time.  I got the idea off of Pinterest and I really like it a lot.  It is simple, but meaningful and it is self-generating.  It is the Motivation Wall and I am going to put different sizes of colored construction paper and colored pens in a box by the bulletin board and let the students go at it.  I love the idea of seeing what they come up with for motivating themselves and others!  I will try to remember to take a picture once it gets rolling.

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Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday #5 – Stewardship

I almost didn’t go to church today.  It was one of those days where I just didn’t want to leave the house.  I felt like I was exhausted and slightly out of sorts and didn’t feel like seeing people.  But, I finally decided that I could go to the later service (11:11 am) instead of the one we usually attend (9:45 am) and not have to rush to get ready.  In all honesty, my daughter being so excited about Sunday School was really the driving force behind my decision to go.  The service is much less populated than the 9:45 a.m. so it felt a little less intimidating (sometimes when I’m surrounded by people I feel a little bit like I don’t belong, since I go by myself and sometimes feel out of sorts).  I really wish that I could meet a few people so I could sit next to someone each week who I could talk to and enjoy.  But, we’ll save that for another post.

Today ended up being what they call “Dedication Sunday,” when they take financial promises for the following year.  I’ve never been someone who “tithed,” although I always thought it was a good principle (giving away a certain percentage of your earnings).  I’ve just never been disciplined enough to do it.  But, I thought this was perfect timing to give me a “new year” to start trying to reach my financial goals.  If I can start budgeting my money in such a way as to plan for our expenses, then I can include the “dedication” in that amount.  And next month, in only four short days, I can begin to implement the plan.  The focus of the sermon around Dedication Sunday was stewardship.  And that really struck me in a big way.  The question that really hit me hard was:

What does it mean to live life with stewardship constantly in mind?

I know what stewardship means – to care for, nurture, grow…but, I had never really spent much time thinking about it as a part of my everyday life.  What would life be like if I thought of myself as a steward of EVERY GIFT I receive?  Not just money (the focus of the Dedication Sunday sermon), but my jobs, my students, all of my relationships, my time, my energy, my health, my child, my husband, my community, my neighbors, my church, my experiences, my joy, my love, my laughter, the grace I’ve been given, forgiveness…think of how life would change if my focus was caring for and nurturing all those things.  This blog?  Everything.

So, I’m going to focus on this idea of stewardship.  Taking care of what I have and what I am given as best I can.  With purpose.  I am starting another week tomorrow and I will be a bit exhausted, which always makes taking care difficult.  I need to catch up on my grading tonight and tomorrow is a very, very, very long day (Monday always is).  But, at least I have gotten some decent rest over the weekend and the house is only half a disaster rather than a whole disaster.  So, perhaps I can get though this last week of October with some calm, some rest and some stewardship.  We shall see…

What do you think?  Are you a steward of what you have been given?  Do you think it would change the way you live if you considered yourself one?

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Together

5-minute-friday-1

This week’s prompt for the Five Minute Friday is “Together” – so, here goes…

Together is something I need more of nowadays.  My family is not that.  My husband has been traveling the majority of weekends since September and in addition, he travels for work during the week, so he’s often gone for a few days a week in addition to the weekends.  It is something we can work around, but it something I’m tired of working around.  I look at other families and see them eating together each night, doing family things together during the weekends, enjoying each other’s company often.  We rarely do those things.

When my husband is home, we often eat in the living room because the dining room table is covered with arts and crafts projects and the detritus that collects during the week when I don’t have time to pick up.   Or, we eat apart because I’m teaching (Monday nights) or my husband is still driving home from his job away (Thursday nights).  Or, we eat out because I haven’t planned a meal and there is nothing that either of us feel like fixing.  It is horrible.  It is horrible for us emotionally and physically.

We miss out on many family events because of our travel for work.  Even when we are all together to do them, we are often not really “together” for it because one of us is needing to rush off to another responsibility or so exhausted we can’t enjoy it or it is something that my husband just doesn’t really enjoy much.  I feel like I’m missing out or ruining my daughter’s childhood.  But, I also feel like I can’t get a grip on life enough to make it work.  Which really, really bothers me.

So, in some way, I need to GET IT together.  I need to feel more PUT together.  And finally, we need to BE together.

So says me…

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #5 – New Fall Coffee

chocolate chai tea latte
My new fall love….

Starbucks has been a mainstay for me in the coffee wars for years now.  I also will visit Peet’s and Dutch Bros., but I am a Starbucks gold card carrier and proud of it.  I have tried many of their drinks, moving from Vanilla Lattes to Mistos to just plain Lattes to Iced Teas and back and forth depending on my mood.  I have grown to dislike too-sweet drinks, so when I do any flavoring it is with half the syrup, but I do love when Fall comes around and I can get the Pumpkin Spice Latte or the Peppermint Mocha on those crisp fall mornings or to help me plow through some grading on a cold winter night.  But, I’m afraid that I may have to leave those behind this fall for their new selection, the Chocolate Chai Tea Latte.  I received a coupon for half off in my email (courtesy of the Gold Card membership) and thought I would give it a shot.  And am I glad I did.

Notice that nowhere in my list of drinks that I have tried at Starbucks did Chai Tea Latte appear.  I’m not sure why I have avoided this drink, especially considering my love of Black Tea and the Latte.  But, I remember trying it at a farmer’s market once (not Starbucks) and it tasted kind of like dirt to me, so I passed.  It may have been made with soy milk, which also makes my regular Lattes taste like dirt, but all this time, I have equated that dirt taste with Chai Tea instead.  Silly, silly me.  I ordered the drink with half the chocolate since I don’t like things to be too sweet and it was perfect.  It reminds me of a Mexican Hot Chocolate, which I also love.  Spicy, sweet, smooth and satisfying!  And it has the caffeinated punch that I need!

So, I think this will be my new go-to drink for the Fall.  And I think I may be reverting to Chai Tea Lattes when the fall season ends and we revert back to the “normal” list of drinks available.  But, if you’re looking for a new fall treat and you like your coffee with a lot of flavor, but not necessarily a lot of sweet, this drink may be for you!  Check it out the next time you’re visiting a Starbucks!

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To-Do Tuesday #3 – Recovery

StressMy to-do list is sooooo long, I don’t even really know where to start.  So, I’m just going to provide a brief highlight of the top things:

HOME

–Dentist appointment.  I have had a temporary crown for weeks that needs replaced and I have a cleaning.  Rescheduled from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning now.

–Clean, clean, clean.  I feel like that could go on for lines and lines and lines.  It is a never-ending thing this cleaning.  I clean something and while I’m cleaning it, someone else is making something dirty.  It is frustrating, but it is life.

–Go through and organize the bills and payments for next month.  I need to call and reschedule some payments to correspond with when we have checks coming in instead of having to figure out how to pay a bunch of stuff before we have the income to do that.  I think it will help a lot if I can figure that out on paper and call and change the payments to fit that.

–Mail everything out that I have been meaning to mail out for a couple of weeks.  I have a gift for my friends’ new baby, a bunch of DVDs I sold through Amazon (and did not make much money off of, but at least they are out of my house), a letter that has to be received by Friday (need to send that express mail possibly), and I’m sure there is some other random stuff that needs to be mailed…geez…

WORK

–Grade, grade, grade.  In much the same as the cleaning, I feel like the grading is never-ending.  I grade something and while I’m grading it, someone else is turning in something that needs to be graded.  It is frustrating, but it is teaching.

–Planning for upcoming tournaments.  I’m actually pretty on top of this, but I need to reserve some rental cars for both of the upcoming trips and do the risk forms for one of them.

–Get my TB test proof and order my transcripts for HR at my new job.  I lost (or accidentally threw away my first TB results, so I called for new one and never picked it up).  These have both been on my list for a while and I have not done them. Neither one is difficult or time consuming so I am unsure why.

–Submit request for special funding for the two national tournaments we have qualified people to attend (or are very close to qualifying people).

–Get book for the campus book club I joined that meets for the first time next Friday.  It is a diversity book group for women and I’m really excited about it.

FAMILY

–Take my daughter to the library and return all the books and DVDs.

–Take my daughter to the Chico Creek Nature Center.

–Go and pick up my mom and take her up to my sister’s on Saturday to hang out and get out of the house.  Then my sister can take her home.

–Church on Sunday – we haven’t been able to go in a while.

 

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Management Monday #1

Warehouse management teamwork

Well, I am once again switching up my blog schedule.  I used to have Munch n Move Mondays, but let’s face it…on Mondays I often don’t munch or move much (other than coffee and standing for long hours for my classes).  So, I never had anything to say.  Really, I should probably name it marathon Monday and just list the things I have to do each Monday, because it seems never-ending.  But, enough of that…the blog schedule:  I decided that I am having some MAJOR issues managing people and things.  It isn’t the first time.  I think I’ve kind of been thrown into this managing thing without much in the way of training or advice.  I have TA coaches under me to manage, but in addition to that small group, I also have to manage all the extraneous stuff – paperwork; travel planning; students; relationships between the TAs and the students; relationships between the TAs and other TAs; relationships between students and other students; my grading; the myriad of extra activities in which I’ve chosen to be involved.  And that is just at work.  At home, I have my husband’s travel and work away from home schedule; the bills; all household paperwork; cleaning the house; paperwork; medicines for my daughter (and now my dog); feeding my daughter (and myself and the dog); relationships with my family members; relationship with my husband; relationships with friends; scheduling fun things to do for myself and my family; scheduling holiday travel; planning for visits to family; purging stuff from the house; repairs.  It has become all too much for me.  I am exhausted.  I feel like a failure in LITERALLY every area of my life right now.  I have a headache the size of a watermelon and I feel like I haven’t really truly enjoyed a full 24 hour period in ages.

So, I’ve decided to focus on Management on Mondays.  It may be management in the traditional sense of the word – managing people at a work place.  But, it also may be time management or stress management.  It may be work/life balance management.  Email management.  Hell, I may even talk about weight management just to harken back to the Munch n Move Mondays!  But, probably not.

For the first post, after the day I’ve had, I feel like I need to focus on people management.  My life sees people come and sees people go constantly.  I have TAs that coach for me for two years.  I have some people who stick around to help out, but most move on after two years.  So, I really need to put some more effort into training my peeps fast so they can get working with students quickly and without much supervision (because I can barely stay on paperwork as it is, let alone if I am micromanaging coaches all the time).  But, I’ve found that each person requires a different level of training and a different focus when it comes to training.  But, now I’m thinking that maybe that isn’t true and maybe I just need to micromanage a bit from the start to allow them more freedom in the end.  Because right now, my team is in a major meltdown.  We’ve gone from something like 26 team members the first week of school to MAYBE 13 team members now.  Some of that is typical attrition.  But, some of it is just that no one seems to be having a good time or bonding or even really enjoying the experience this year – students and TAs alike.  So, I’m thinking I may have to take this post-mid-term chance to shake things up a bit.  But, what to do?

From the little reading I’ve done, I would say that our team members lack a feeling of engagement.  So, I think I’m going to do some research this week on how to foster that and then figure out how to make sure the TAs are included in building that engagement.  I will fill in here next week with the ideas and what I’m implementing.