Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Listy Lister-stein

I have officially been on vacation for fourteen business days! Whoo-hoo, right? But I'm beginning to think that I am incapable of totally relaxing and enjoying the time. I don't think it's guilt, because I don't feel guilty. Anyone who thinks teachers don't deserve the summers off can go stick it you know where. I mean, it is one of the most obvious and basic perks to the job...the non-teacher gets to pee on their own schedule, possibly handle some personal business during the work day and have the occassional 60 minute lunch. I do not. I get summers. And no, please don't suggest that I went into this profession for the sole purpose of having the summers off, because then I would have to hit you. And that would spoil my fresh manicure. (Ok, so maybe I can relax a little bit at the nail salon).

So we've ruled out guilt. I'm starting to think that because I'm a teacher, I am unable to survive without the proverbial To Do list. (tah dah!) I know teachers aren't the only ones that fall victim to The To Do List, but as a group, we do love us some listing.

If you watch us during a staff meeting, you'll see everyone begin by focusing intently on our principal. But, as he starts to ramble on (and he does love his perch upon that soap box at times), you might slowly begin to notice all of the small notepads, post its and sheets of paper come out to play. That's right, we're listing.

I like to think that with the additional responsibility of a home, a husband and an on-going dissertation, that my abilities to list have transcended to a new level. I have posted about my listing before. They make me feel organized...like I can breathe again. (Am I painting a horribly sad picture of myself or what?? Ask my friends, I am fun...when I'm not listing. And no, I don't have a list of reasons that I'm fun, but thank you for asking.) Seriously though, my lists are beautiful.

This year however, I began my Awesome Summer To Do List Extreme! a little early and worked at it a bit overzealously. As a result, it is endless. Pages and pages on my fancy-happy-30th iTouch. You can scroll and scroll for days. And some of those things have been there forever.

I think I may be paralyzed by my own list.

My solution? To take the larger list and create a daily, more manageable list (which, yes, includes fun things too).

So no...no bon bons...no morning talk shows....no re-runs of Project Runway (heart it!) for me.

For I will be listing.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do love me a good list as well, especially when I am going somewhere and don't want to forget my toothbrush!

Eldon said...

Wow, as I read this article I thought to myself ... accept ... I seldom get my lists from my head to paper ... and when manage to get them on paper, I usually lose the paper.

Instead, I find the short daily lists work much better. Easy to remember, no paper to lose and the feeling of accomplishment is great.

I also enjoyed the listing part in staff meetings ... I zone out as you explained but again my lists don't make it to paper ... I wonder if Mr. Principal can see me drifting off?

Anyway, good luck on you super list.

Jen Barney said...

i heart lists too! i make one every night before i go to bed for the next day. why you ask? one, i won't remember a damn thing to do if i don't & two, i love how a list looks with a variety of colored pens.

sick- but fun all at the same time!

Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! It must be a teacher thing, I list at school all the time. You can find my lists stuck to the copy machine, on the chalk boards, left in the library, on the ground... I just re-list and keep going. Right now I am listing a bunch of new ideas of things to make for the fall (3 weeks away!) I need to quit listing and get creating.
Mystery Teacher

Lost said...

I love lists as well and I've also had a hard time relaxing this summer. I just finished my first year teaching and I feel like I should be moving all the time and it really is weird to be able to go to the bathroom on my schedule. Thanks for the post.

Maria said...

I am the Queen of "To Do List." Lists definately help teachers plan out their day and manage their time and daily tasks. I keep list for everything, not just school, but if I did not list everything I need to remember then I would be so unorganized. My planner is my best friend - I don't go anywhere without it(well maybe sometimes). Despite the accomplished feeling one gets when crossing out "to do" task, it is important to remember to not let a long list of things stress you out or burden you. I try not to let my lists rule my day and of course adding fun things to the list helps make the day more enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Lists are beautiful aren't they? They simplify the massive amount of work that has to be done on little neat and usually cololful paper with of course great colored pens( possibly representative of neediness and categorized by subject (home/school/store). The funny thing about lists is they only work if stuck to which is where I find difficulty. I have post-its on my wall and calendar (sticky-lists too) but somehow I continuously leave grocery lists in the car and to-do lists for school at home etc. If only my lists weren't so vacation prone I would actually be able to hold onto them long enough to actually follow them. Here's to your successful listing & all of the teachers current, retired and forming who completly understand your listing-woes!

Julia said...

Wow, I love this blog because I love to list just like she does! It is so true that teachers all make long lists of things to do, it just comes with the job. I have lists all over my house and I usually lose them but because I have written it down, I remember what I am supposed to do. I can't wait to be a teacher and get cute little notepads for to make long lists! Maybe not pages like hers.

Maui Man said...

Oh dear. You don't want to know my story. I carry around a man-purse full of lists (it's actually a Long's Drugs plastic bag.) My wife regularly makes fun of me and bought me an organizer. The empty organizer sits at the bottom of my bag.

I know how to acquire my most important list that sits on top. Every couple days, I go in and try to consolidate the others. I usually make 2 or 3 of them into 1, and the next day add 3 or 4 more new small lists.

I find that the key is to make your lists vague and illegible so that when you do decide to consolidate, you don't remember what 1/2 of them are all about and end up tossing them. Works like a charm.

Anonymous said...

Living with two other future teachers, we have lists everywhere. It's often funny how the things on our lists overlap. I sometimes wonder about how much my lists will increase as I get older. I see my mother's on going lists and I know I will do the exact same thing. Sometimes I think that it's because there is so much to do being a teacher as well as doing everything else in life. Yes, everyone's job can be time consuming but teaching isn't just a Monday-Friday 9-5 job and that's why I think that lists are so important to helping teachers stay on top of everything that they must do.

Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. said...

Do you put "Make List" on the top so you have something to cross off right away? Because I don't. Ahem.

Just found your blog through eduwonkette and can't wait to get my coffee and have a good look. As a school psychologist, I too get the summers off, so I have some time on my hands. I will put "Read Fun Blog" on my list. :)

Emily said...

I do heart lists, that is true. My favorite is when I write something on my list that I have already done, just so I can cross it out and feel accomplished. :)

Do try to have some fun this summer though, Mimi.

AverageMom said...

I love the lists, too. In the staff meetings at my school, we slooowwwly get out our marking. Just the quiet, one page stuff. That no one will notice us doing.

Christi Overman said...

Oh yeah, girl, to-do lists: woot woot! I did what you did; had the big kinda "master" list which was CLEARLY too much...and ended up creating daily mini-lists which make me so much happier because I heart crossing stuff off! Yeah! Sometimes...this is not public knowledge...I'll do something and add it to list after it's done just to be able to cross it off! Ahhh.

Maui Man said...

UPDATE: My paralysis has just ended. My lovely wife has made fun of my man-purse for long enough! I spent my entire Saturday going through my lists and organizing what I need to do.

So far today, in the last 2 hours, I've accomplished 6 things I've been dreading for months. I'm blowing through it.

Thanks, Mimi. I think your story helped spur me to action. After looking at the pile of lists, my tasks seemed incredibly daunting. Having everything organized is allowing me to cross things off and conquer my fear.

Mahalo to you and everyone that commented!

John Spencer said...

I'm in the same boat. I have one "master list" that I then sub-divide into categories (bulleted and color-coded - I type mine on Google Docs) and then I take this list and separate it into my daily to-do list.

What's weird is that I am the least "teacherly" teacher I know, yet I still can't avoid this part of the quirky profession.

Stretch said...

This is one of my favorite blogs that I've read. I relate to this so much! I make to-do lists everyday if not twice a day! It makes me feel like I am able to see everything that I should and need to do on paper and I love checking things off! I feel so accomplished. If it's not on my to-do list, it's probably not going to get done. I feel like all teachers make these lists because the job calls for so much. We have to be prepared and the lists make sure that we are able to see everything that we need to get done over a summer or even just in one day. I make to-do lists for things outside of school and class work, but mainly by lists consist of things that I need to finish for homework for education or something that I'm preparing for my future classroom. I know that I will continue to list because it's worked so far for me and I really feel much better when I see everything and get everything done on those lists. I love this blog and how you make lists sound so funny, but so true!

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh at the list deal. It's great to see how we teachers all do this. (Of course, non-teachers just don't have a clue how we live!) I set a goal of getting at least three things done off my endless list a day. (That really shows how long this list is,huh?) No matter what, summer is great. scaps

joycemocha said...

Okay. Besides making lists, one of the things I do the last week and a half of school is to write up a list of what I need to do in the fall and have it open all day on my computer. I make sure it's the last thing I save for the school year, so that it's the first thing I see when I come back.

(Granted, I'm a special ed teacher, so I live and die by to-do lists and paperwork!)

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