What about if we all did less? Before you get panicky about your email inbox or the myriad other operational tasks you have to do, stay with me. What I’m talking about is slowing down.
I often think about our pace of life and how crazy it seems to be. We live in a culture where people take great pride in being busy. (see Dean Shareski‘s post “Let’s Stamp Out Busyness” for a funny and blunt take on this.) I consciously try to slow down by setting boundaries for my work and my personal life. It works.
One thing I know for sure is that most educators are fixers and problem solvers. We see a problem (or what we perceive as a problem), and we immediately begin thinking of solutions. When I observe others’ teaching or leadership challenges, sometimes I see them doing a lot of work. There are plans, and memos and emails and conversations. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it is great. But I really wonder if we need to go quickly and hard at everything.
Let’s take time to decide what is really important and what to focus on. Let’s be respectful of where people are, what they know and their strengths. Let’s recognize accomplishments of individuals. Let’s build on and respond to staff members’ unique needs and expertise. But most of all, let’s give us and them time to truly learn and to change.
I think that if we take measured steps and give people time, we will find ourselves doing less.