Task It. Complete It. Be Successful.

Keeping My Mind on a Better Life

My daughter has been a list maker for all of her 20 years where she was old enough to create lists. Having what she needs to accomplish for a day, week, or month written succinctly in list fashion where she can check it off is what she needs to be successful. My own daily life at school has been so busy that at times I’ve not only had to make my own lists of task to accomplish, but I’ve also included “go to the bathroom” on the list so that I didn’t forget during the busyness of my prep period. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences (except for maybe the bathroom part). We have a lot to do, so we make a list, then tackle things one by one until we’re done. Finished. Completed. Bam. Even the big guy in the red suit is a list maker. So think about applying that list to your personal or professional goals. Set a S.M.A.R.T. Goal, write out the tasks it takes to complete it, then begin your journey to doing each one. Check them off. Complete them. Bam. That one day or hour of feeling very accomplished will spread to your life. One moment becomes every moment. Now how could we then have students do it as well? What if we asked them to state their dream or goal in life, write out the steps it would take to get there, and then have them figure out their plan for success? Why wouldn’t we do that? Why aren’t we doing that?

When Happiness Is Only a Heartbeat Away

Need more convincing? Let’s look at my vacation from a Task it, Complete it, Be Successful philosophy. Again, I’m not necessarily a person who makes a task list but Daisy is. Yes, this is the same Daisy in my mountain climbing post. She is awesome, so lets see how vacation is saved time and again by her lists.

Paradise, Can It Be All I Heard It Was

When planning a vacation, the first thing we need is a destination, then a timeline, and a  purpose (main activity). We establish the destination first and then the timeline, so that we know where and when we will have our fun vacation. I’m all for this part. Daisy and I planned where we would stay each night as our spouses helped decide the route and timeline. I made reservations, but Daisy made reservations and lists of activities we could do at each location along the way. I did the bare bones, and she went the extra mile. I had no lists, just email confirmations from each place, but Daisy had that and more. Once we arrived, settled in, then regrouped, our kids would ask the inevitable question, “What can we do now?” Daisy had the answer. She would pull out her list, read off suggested activities, then we would go and do.

I Close My Eyes And Maybe I’m Already There

I’m rethinking my position on making lists. Sure, they’re good for groceries, Christmas presents, vacations, and daily tasks, but wait! There’s more!  Life goals. Personal, professional, and for our students. Let’s explore personal and professional S.M.A.R.T. goals for ourselves and our students. Let’s write out the steps needed to accomplish them. Let’s do all of this as early (or late, depending on your perspective) as their freshmen year, then we’ll check them off as they accomplish them. That feeling that accompanies a completed task is fabulous. It builds that intrinsic motivation needed to complete the next thing on the list, that elusive intrinsic motivation we so desperately seek in education. Imagine it. Pass trigonometry, graduate from high school, college, engineer. Bam. Professionals of all kinds set goals and chart the path to make it happen. Lists. Tasks. Complete. Success. Baby steps. We got this.

Partial lyrics used as headers are from Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) by Styx.

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