Last month, as part of my happiness project, I decided to reflect and journal daily. When given the chance to see the patterns of days in a month, things begin to appear. Things like negativity, chronic sleepiness, and lack of physical activity shine through. The exercise of recording positive things from each day is powerful, but that isn’t what I challenged myself to do. I’ve definitely learned over the years that when I am not pushed by myself or others to remain positive, I begin to steer down the negative path. There is much in life to complain about. But, there is also much to rejoice in. When I choose to complain, it snowballs. I’ve learned that I will probably always have to have check points, and push myself back to positive reflection.
In October, I finally settled into the routines of school. It takes awhile to get to know new kids. It is a struggle to realize that what worked last year, may not work this year. Honestly I spent August to October as a giant ball of stress. Giant balls of stress aren’t not part of happiness projects. Who can be happy when you are constantly worried about lessons, behaviors, and feedback?
In school, when we have problems we are asked to collect data. This is time consuming and often a nuisance. But, after the data has been collected, clear patterns emerge. This month, I suppose journaling allowed me to collect data on myself. Here is what I realized – I AM ALLOWING MY JOB TO OWN ME. I love teaching, and feel I am very dedicated to my class and kids (if you haven’t checked out my glorious classroom blog- do so here. I’ll share my enthusiasm about the site at a later time). But, arriving at 7:00am and leaving after 6:00pm and taking home work is not healthy. I do realize people do this everyday, but it is a quick way to become unhappy. I need to separate my personal life from my work life. I need to stop answering emails at 10:00pm. The answers can wait till the morning (although I know that to be true, I probably won’t stop).
So, here is the November plan: MAKE AN EFFORT TO LEAVE IT AT WORK. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I have commitments near school. So, it makes sense to stay and get things done before I have to be somewhere else at 6:00. That means, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays I need to leave. My goal: before 5:00pm. This is not drastic, but a friend told me that when she made that rule for herself, she was much more productive. I chat and piddle around. I check on things, and organize. I procrastinate on things that really need to get done. If I know I have to get out by 5:00pm, I’m hoping it will trick me into working harder and staying focused. When I leave at 5:00pm, I can work out (which I’ve been missing actually), I can spend time with JMO (he’s a pretty swell dude), or just relax.
Tracking is kind of difficult for this one. I’m just going to give myself a sticker on my calendar when I leave work, make an effort, and enjoy my day. Even grown ups like stickers for good work.
Friend Night October: Awesome game night, had a blast.
Mini Adventure: Didn’t do it, but I did go to a bridal Shower for an old friend, go to an awesome wedding, and start Spanish classes.