--Originally published at CAROLINA R BUITRAGO
I haven’t written a blog post in ages, and it is because of the many directions I was pulled towards last year. I wanted to write so many things, I planned so many posts, but I never allowed myself the time to do so because there was always something more “important to do”. But, who determined what was “important” or what wasn’t? Everything else but me! That is the feeling that is actually motivating this post. The feelings of overwhelm and guilt. The feelings of inadequacy and unreadiness to write I felt throughout 2019. However, this year, things are different in my mind and heart, I guess because of the change of digits. I have decided to take some actions to stop these feelings and to allow the chance to myself to do the things that contribute to my mission, including writing. Here are my actions!
I have to stop giving others the power to decide what’s more important in my life. I once read a quote by Steve Jobs that said something like: “if you don’t work for your dreams, someone will hire you to work for theirs”. And even though I enjoy my job immensely and I am really thankful to my institution for everything they allow me to be, I am still working for someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to suddenly become an entrepreneur and quit my university job, I’m just going to keep my own goals in perspective more often and don’t let the “urgent” overshadow my day.
I have to learn to say NO. Let me write that down again so it sinks. I have to learn to say NO more often. Have you seen the movie YES, sir? Well, I am the complete opposite to that. I suffer of ‘shiny object syndrome’! I go towards the light of newness without realizing that by pursuing every new thing out there, I am saying NO to the things I have wanted to do for years (posting in my blog, publishing more). So, I have to follow Cathy Mazak‘s advice and give myself a 24-hour window to respond to a new offering and weigh the benefits. I have planned to ask myself the question that Cathy proposes:
- Is this new project or idea directly aligned to my personal or professional goals?
If the answer is no, I will pass on it. A colleague wrote to me last year “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good, so you can say ‘yes’ to the best. John Maxwell”. Thanks Dorita, I will finally pay attention to you on this.
I’m going to stay away from perfectionism and impostor syndrome. Do you know why I didn’t post anything on my blog? Because of both of those two obstacles. I kept telling myself I didn’t have time to write a decent post that would help others, or that would be relevant. I just hid behind my eagerness to deliver perfect products, so I preferred to wait for “when there would be time”. However, I am over that, (this post proves it). Don’t misinterpret me, this doesn’t mean I’m going to be sloppy in my posts and keep this confessional tone throughout the entire year, nope, that’s not it. What I mean, is that I will understand that my blog is cathartic. It is a space to share with you (whoever you are) my struggles as a teacher, teacher educator, and researcher. It is to share that strategy my students loved so that you can try it with your students. Writing this blog is for learning and reflecting on my job as a teacher; so, I will use it as such!
I’m going to plan more and more effectively. I rely too much on my poor head and that is driving me nuts (literally). I forget things, procrastinate others, give too much priority to things that shouldn’t have it ending up stressed and anxious. So, I have been watching YouTubers (uh-huh) who teach productivity and all of them come down to pretty much the same conclusion: plan. Plan your year, your month, your week, your day! Plan your life! I said before: “I plan it in my head”, but now there are too many things on my plate and I can’t rely on my memory. So it is time to give use to that bunch of notebooks I have collected from conferences over the years! I have also started to really use Google Calendar, let’s see how that goes!
Unfortunately, this also means I have to be more protective of my time and not be there at everybody’s back and call. I usually let people just sit down next to me and “steal” hours at a time. I need to help my students self-regulate and understand limits by setting my own.
I also plan to work on my relationship with my writing. Writing lots is a dream to me, but writing and I have a dysfunctional relationship. I love it, but when I try to do it I hate it, I fear it. But then, I build the courage and do it, and what I produce ends up not sucking entirely, so I feel like I want to write more but then the cycle begins again. I think this happens because in my mind, writing somehow is still a product, it’s a test, it’s proof of something. In the last months, I have awakened to the fact that writing is thinking, it is purifying your ideas and thoughts, it is reflecting. Writing is alive!
I am lucky to have a tribe like you! Teachers and friends out there who understand what it is to be busy. To feel as if what you are doing is not enough for the people around you, but you still feel stretched too thin. I am glad to count on a group of people who are there to praise my work whenever I share, but who are also there for this kind of stuff. By disclosing myself in my blog, I am just cutting myself some slack. I’m recognizing I am a human being and not a superwoman, and that even though people constantly ask me “how do you do it?”, I also struggle and feel anxious when things get hard. I wish us all a happy and powerful 2020! You will be reading more from me, my classes and my craziness this year. Thanks for bearing with me!