A Different New Year’s Resolution

January 3, 2020

By Tracey Smith – Elementary School Principal, Speaker, Writer 

Follow Tracey Smith on Twitter @tbsmith01

My New Year’s Resolution for 2020 is to work. That’s right!  I want to work.  Here are 5 ways I am going to make 2020 work better for me.

  1. Work smarter – We are bombarded with technology and articles about ways to work smarter but you have to find what works best for you. I have found that getting up an hour earlier in the morning gives me a jump start on my day.  It’s my quiet time to think, make a list of what I need to accomplish and also to just be silent.  My house and job are FULL – so a little bit of silence is a beautiful thing.  I work my list – which is a combined work/home list. I prioritize by the three biggest tasks of the day. I get great satisfaction from crossing off those items on the list.
  2. Work more efficiently – Think about all the tasks you do in a day. How can you capitalize on delegating or getting a little creative with your todo list or responsibilities?  In the classroom that might look like getting more class involvement in tasks you would typically do yourself.  At home, how can you recruit the family or roommates to work together to accomplish a task.  I no longer go to the grocery store, which was always something that I did not enjoy. Now I can sit on the couch and order groceries and have them delivered whenever I want.  This saves me over an hour on Sundays.  I use that hour to meal plan for the week, so we aren’t frustrated in the evenings because the kids are starving and there is nothing to cook. Write down the top three tasks/items that cause you the most stress and find a way to make them a bit easier.
  3. Work your why – Knowing what drives you and why really is important. When you don’t feel fulfilled in what you are doing, it will literally suck the happy from you.  Take personality tests or temperament assessments this year to find out how you think and reflect on what fills your cup.  You might be surprised to learn something about yourself.  Write down your why where you can see it and reflect on it during the day.  It’s a great reminder for you to keep going, to keep fighting the good fight, and to keep your eye on the next step forward.
  4. Work balanced, not work/life balance. It’s time we debunk the whole myth of “balance”.  When teachers pick balance for their word of the year, I cringe a little. It’s just not possible to have a 50/50 balance in education, especially when you have a family or other obligations. Working balanced means knowing when you need to pour a little more into home, or a little more into work.  It also means knowing when you need to refill your cup.  This is where knowing your why comes in.  When you are trying to do everything, you can make yourself crazy and feel like a failure in both areas personally and professionally.  For me, I must put down the phone (or work) and make a conscious effort to just be in the present.  Knowing your personality and how you think really helps you to know how to give yourself permission to have grace or peace.
  5. Work differently – be more grateful! What if you looked at everything you did as an opportunity to give or grow others or to serve others instead of what you “have” to do or what you will get out of it. I promise that if you make a commitment to look at everything as an opportunity instead of an obligation it will change your world.  Make a commitment for 2 weeks to flip your switch and see how your perspective changes. Even better – get your coworkers involved and make it a group challenge!

We all go into new years with grand goals and plans but let’s make 2020 work for us!  I hope this year is everything you need it to be and that this year is YOUR year to rock whatever drives you.