- It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list.
- Start by prioritizing tasks based on urgency vs. emergency.
- Use the P.A.U.S.E. technique (planting your feet on the ground, acknowledging where you are in the current moment, using what you know to be true, say what you see around you, exhale/inhale) to slow down and be present in the moment.
I don’t think I have met an educator who doesn’t have a mile-long to-do list. As educators, the tasks seem to be endless. As soon as one task is finished, another one begins. Knowing this, is it ever possible to feel caught up? Is it possible to feel empowered in the individual moments of our day, even with lists a mile long?
Absolutely! It is possible to have a to-do list that seems endless, and yet as educators, we can still embrace the power of the current moment! Let’s take a look at how!
Urgency vs. Emergency
In the words of Dave Schmittou, “it’s time to focus on the focus.” And this is so true when we are aiming to stay present in the world around us. Sitting here at my computer writing this blog post, I can hear my washer beeping which indicates that laundry is ready to be moved to the dryer. I can hear my daughter coming out of her room which means she’s ready for breakfast. I can see an assignment for class sitting on my desk that needs to be finished.
Any of these (plus so many more) distractions are present in our environment every day.
Knowing the difference between what is urgent, what is an emergency, and what is a distraction is essential! Knowing my focus and my immediate goal allows my thoughts to anchor into that. So yes, even though my thoughts wander to those other things, I can pull myself back by simply asking, where is my focus in this present moment?One of my favorite pieces of advice is to be MY best instead of THE best. It’s the same for systems in our lives. Instead of trying to find THE best system out there, find a system that works for YOU! That’s what it comes down to! Click To Tweet
Power of the P.A.U.S.E.
Ever get somewhere only to stop and think, how did I get here? Me too! Some of my biggest moments of overwhelm come solely from the thoughts in my head.
What starts out as a simple, “what’s on my list for today?” can quickly become “how will I ever get all of this done today?” When those moments happen, I know it’s time to embrace the power of the P.A.U.S.E.
P stands for planting your feet into the ground. Plant them firmly. Stomp them down to anchor them into the ground.
A stands for acknowledging where you are in the current moment. Speak out loud to remind yourself where you are and what’s going on.
U stands for using what you know to be true in the moment. Say out loud something you see that is true, such as “today is Sunday, and I am sitting in my office.”
S stands for say what you see around you. Simply comment out loud for what you see in your environment, such as “I see the gray walls. I see my computer. My water cup is on my desk.”
E stands for exhale and inhale. Breathe! Take a moment (or two or three) to simply breathe. Embrace the stillness of the moment and just be!
Use the power of the P.A.U.S.E any moment your thoughts become too quick for you to focus. When we start thinking about something in our future and make it a higher priority than our present moment, we enter into a potentially stressful situation. Use these pause moments to re-center and re-anchor yourself to the present moment and then continue to build your momentum once again![scroll down to keep reading]
The Impact of NOW: Prepare for the Overwhelm
This next tip took me a long time to really understand. What if instead of waiting to feel overwhelmed, I expected it? What if I prepared for it?
Let’s think about it this way. If you were going on a trip to someplace warm, would you only bring shorts and t-shirts? Maybe. But might you also bring a pair of pants, maybe a sweatshirt, and possibly a jacket? Why would you bring those if you were going somewhere warm? So you can be prepared!
We can do that same thing with our thoughts! We can be prepared for when those thoughts of overwhelm or the next “must-do” item comes across our minds. One way I do this is whenever I am working on a task, I always have a brain dump list going next to me. Our thoughts are always flowing, which means if I simply tell myself not to think of something, guess what happens? I’m going to think about it more! So instead of telling myself not to do something, I prepare for it to happen and I’m ready for it!
The Impact of NOW: Break Down the Limiting Belief
In the previous blog post from the Think Better series, I shared all about limiting beliefs. In regards to staying present in the current moment, it’s important to learn how to identify limiting beliefs when they arise. This is another “practice makes progress” moment! It’s not and will never be about perfection. Instead, it’s about living in the moment. And to launch you forward, recognizing which thoughts are limiting beliefs and which thoughts are truth statements.
The Impact of NOW: Use a System that Works for YOU!
One of my favorite pieces of advice is to be MY best instead of THE best. It’s the same for systems in our lives.
Instead of trying to find THE best system out there, find a system that works for YOU! That’s what it comes down to!
Consuming information from others is a great starting place. Other people can provide us ideas, examples, and starting points. But only we can then create something that will truly work for our needs, our goals, our lives! It might take some trial and error, and that’s okay! Trust in the process and have fun along the way!
As educators, there will always be more things to do. In fact, I think I’d be worried if there wasn’t. Because if I don’t have anything to do, the question I would then ask is, “how am I growing right now?”
But what’s important to remember is that having things to do doesn’t have any impact on the value you hold as an educator. We can have lists and love our jobs, and take time for ourselves too! When we learn to embrace each and every moment, we can anchor into the power of NOW and find the magic in front of us each and every day!
About Lindsay Titus
Lindsay Titus is a K-12 Behavior Specialist with a license in behavior analyst. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lindsay coaches and trains educators on the study of behavior and how to implement evidence based behavior principles in simple and easy ways! With experience as a classroom special education teacher, and behavior specialist in public schools, residential placement, and private settings, Lindsay enjoys working with all educators looking to reignite their passion for education, connect with all students, and conquer challenging behavior in any classroom setting.