May 27, 2022
The end of the school year can be a very busy and stressful time. In addition to regular work and school commitments, there are deadlines, celebrations, parties and the inevitable unexpected something that comes up. It can be stressful. While I can’t help with all the life stuff, here’s a few tips to help with the school side of things.
KINDNESS, GRACE AND PATIENCE We don’t know everyone’s story and, when we are busy, frankly, we don’t have time to listen to it. So if we make it a common practice to always be kind and choose kind words, have grace when others make mistakes or aren’t moving at the speed with want them too, and are patient in both actions and body language, not only will you feel less stressed or anxious, but the people you interact with will, too. Bonus tips–use the person’s name when speaking to someone, show gratitude and give sincere and specific compliments to those that you interact with. If the actions they took were timely or were at or above expectation, take a moment to talk to or email a compliment to a supervisor. Many places factor these into promotions and raises, so you may be helping them out. If nothing else, it will brighten their day.
MAKE A LIST Creating a list of all the things that need to be accomplished will save you from forgetting anything, and if it has a hard deadline, include that date. This can be a digital list or a paper list. I like to write each task on a post it note and hang them somewhere everyone can see. Using different color post its also helps if there’s more than one person or category for these tasks. Then, as it’s accomplished, it gets taken down. Realize that this list may be fluid and more things may be added. Then try to tackle as many things as you can quickly to get them off your list.
SET CALENDAR APPOINTMENTS/REMINDERS Once you have your list, you can use a calendar, digital calendar, or reminder app on your phone to keep them organized and have the info you need to complete them. Don’t forget to add those due dates in and set a reminder a minimum of 24 hours out before it is due, especially if it is something of high importance.
FOLDERS, FILES, BULLETIN BOARDS Near your list, have one of these handy and labeled for putting those important files that go with the tasks. This will save you scrambling at the last minute and allow you to gather things as you get to them or come across them. Then its a matter of getting them organized and processed.
COMMUNICATE BY EMAIL I know many of us text or use some sort of instant chat these days, but email can be a helpful tool. Most programs allow you to flag for follow up or add to your calendar/task list if it is something that can’t be done right away, whereas a text or chat does not and can easily be lost or forgotten. The other thing I like about email is that they can be processed at anytime without disturbing someone. If you have a thought at 3AM, you can email it and then await a reply. Always allow 24 hours for a response before following up (business days, Monday-Friday, not including holidays!). If you get emails with tasks, be sure to complete them within 24 hours, so carve time for these every day.
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE some tasks will have very short notice and may be unavoidable to handle last minute. But if you prepare and organize in advance, you won’t have as many last minute things to come up.
LACK OF PLANNING DOESN’T CONSTITUTE AN EMERGENCY This goes along with the previous tip. If you do happen to wait until the last minute, or something unexpected comes up that couldn’t be avoided, take your time. It is unrealistic to expect others to drop everything and jump through hoops because you forgot or made a mistake. Own it, communicate and be prepare to wait or change your schedule around. In my experience, being kind and patient gets you a lot farther than being rude, mean or impatient.
ADULTS-SET A GOOD EXAMPLE If you have kids around you or as part of these actions, setting a good example for how to speak, act and work through challenges will go a long way in helping them learn these skills. If they see you frantic, upset or cursing, they will learn to handle things this way. Let them see you taking deep breaths, making lists and being kind.
TIME FOR YOU Don’t forget to make time for you, you are no good to anyone exhausted. Rest, eat and eat properly, hydrate, and general self-care are even more important when stressed. Taking 20 minutes midday to sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed and no distractions can be amazingly restorative, even if you don’t sleep. I’ve been known to stretch out under my desk at school during my lunch break and it helped so much.
Realize that this time is just a chapter, it’s not the whole story. Make the most of it and enjoy as much as you can. Good luck, and congratulations on completing another school year!
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