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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Matching Energy to Task

How do you match energy with study expectations and goals?

I have differing kinds of energy throughout the day--there is time when deep, thoughtful study is best and there's time when mindless, task-oriented work is best. I find that matching right energy with tasks, serves work well.

As I think ahead, I realize that I have lots of deep thinking tasks to complete. Those tasks take the good energy of early morning work. Those tasks include:
  • Final efforts for the Monson College and Career Readiness Presentation
  • Studying and applying the main points in the social/emotional competency articles sent to educators in my system.
  • Studying the Teacher Leadership Initiative Initial Documents and completing the first tasks.
  • Prepping and reviewing for the SRSD workshops.
I also have some mindless, but physically taxing room set-up work to do. This work will take a good 16 hours. There's xeroxing and paperwork too that doesn't take much thought or depth. 

And a bit of pre-school shopping also--that's easy and fun!

This energy analysis signals the start of the school year, a time when you have to continually manage your energy to do the limitless job that teaching well requires.

As I've noted before, I keep a running to-do list so that I can match energy with task, and I try to stay a few weeks ahead to give myself the luxury of doing work when I feel like doing it rather than rushing it done at the last minute. 

It's good to share energy matching strategies with students too. You can tell them how you manage your energy and time, and then ask students these questions:
  • When do you study best?
  • How do you attack a problem? Do you do the hardest part first? Do you start with reviewing the task? 
  • Do you like to work collaboratively or on your own related to study?
  • Where do you like to work?
  • Do you like to break tasks up into smaller parts or do you like to dig in deep and complete a challenging task all at once?
Students' answers will differ and that's okay. There's no one-size-fits-all answer to best study routines and efforts as our energy relies on so many factors including context, style, experience, drive, and interest.

As I look ahead to the school year, I know that patterns and routines work best for managing and matching energy to tasks. Lead time helps, and collaboration is critical to the good work possible.

How do you match energy to task? What patterns, routines, and motivation help you in this regard? How do you foster conversations about this with the children you teach or parent? I'm curious.