Dr. Karen Gaborik, ASA President
January is a good time not only for end-of-calendar-year reflections but also mid-year school-year reflections. I facilitated an activity with a couple different Fairbanks leadership teams regarding work and life priorities that resulted in some insightful reflections as we looked ahead to spring semester.
First, write your to-do list. What have you have promised, planned, or think you need to do in the remainder of the school year? The items on your list can relate to work, your personal life, or both. Now divide your list into 3 groups. Group 1–What absolutely needs to be done for your functioning, for your responsibilities, for your finances, for commitments that you have? Group 2—Identify the items on the list that are going to make the largest difference in your life. Include no more than three tasks or categories of tasks. Don’t list things that will save your sanity by way of finishing off the school year, but capture those items that will make the largest difference in your life as a whole. After you’re done identifying items for groups one and two, everything else goes in the third group. Group 3 is titled “It Can Wait.” Although many things in the third group actually can’t wait, they will have to wait, because you need to focus this spring on what absolutely needs to done and what is going to make the largest difference in your life.
It was very interesting to engage in this activity personally and to listen to others in leadership process through work and life priorities. The items in Group 1 resonated—It was good to identify and narrow my to do list down to only the most critical items for work and home in the coming months. Acknowledging the items in Group 3 as things that “Can Wait,” was refreshing. I had over 20 things in that category that I knew there was no way I could possibly accomplish between now and June, so I just let them go. And finally, for me Group 2 items all related to my personal well-being. On paper it became clear that if I could accomplish 3 things everyday (get enough sleep, meditate, and take care of my personal health by eating well and exercising), my work life could be focused and very productive.
For our leadership teams, this activity provided the opportunity to refine common work-related objectives for spring, to hear individual work goals, to share personal challenges, and to publicly state or renew personal commitments. We reinvigorated our shared work commitments and nurtured the ongoing relationship and trust-building that has become a foundation for our effective functioning as a team. Time spent renewing collective vision and supporting one another in personal well-being provides much needed group bolstering as we enter into what is shaping up to be another very challenging legislative session and spring budget season.