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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Nov 30, 2023

This week I want to share a productivity tip that has changed my life in ways large and small. 

Three years ago we were all in the heart of a pandemic. My children were very young - five and eight. My mom was sick. There was a lot of pressure on our family, as there was on pretty much every family. I had been sharing teaching ideas on this podcast and by email for a long time, and it was clear that my community of teachers online needed more from me than a few ideas each week, given what they were being asked to do - radically change their curriculum to an online or hybrid one with little or no training or preparation. 

At this time, I took a course with a guy named James Wedmore about how to be more effective in sharing my ideas online. But it was really one tiny part of that huge course that changed everything. It was the idea that anything can be completed if you break it down to its smallest parts and then schedule them into your calendar. I decided to try the process with opening a teacher membership, which is now The Ligthhouse. I wrote down all the tasks, starting from the tiniest - choose a name. And I scheduled them. Day one, choose the name. And so on. Little by little by little, all the tasks got done. I was able to start and complete the biggest work project of my life while homeschooling both kids and still doing everything at work that I was doing before, when both kids actually attended school. 

So that’s a long story, I know. But for me, it shows the power of the chunk and schedule. What is that you do not have time for? That you dream of? Whether it’s getting your masters degree, planning an incredible unit on Jason Reynolds’ Long Way Down, applying to present at a national conference, running a 10K, or something else, break it down into its tiniest moving pieces. Then write them down in your planner. Make them the first thing you do on those days instead of the last. I honestly think you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish once that dream project becomes a series of tiny, manageable tasks. 

Because I was able to accomplish a task I found incredibly intimidating during a time in my life when I was unexpectedly busier than I had ever been, I am putting a lot of gusto behind this when I say... I highly recommend you try the chunk-and-schedule method the next time there’s something you want to do that you just can’t seem to find the time for that you want. 

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