A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog piece about the reset buttons on a computer, Ctrl Alt Del. I thought they were a useful way of looking at your own reset when finding yourself in troubled waters in your school.

Term Four is the term where everything comes towards you at mindboggling speed and often you find yourself letting go of any hope at all of looking after your own well-being. David captured it brilliantly in last week’s piece Tempting Fate … if there’s any hope of getting through it all from a healthy well-being point of view, then you really do need to take a good look at doing what you can (e.g. you’re not a super being), in the knowledge that this will be good enough.

Today’s piece looks at what happens when you push Ctrl Alt Del together on your computer keyboard, and how the options that come up on your screen are very useful in helping you do “just what’s enough” in order to get through the Term in one piece.

.   .   .

When you hit the keys Ctrl, Alt, and Del together, you get a blue or black screen with five options:


Switch user

Sign out

Change a password

Task Manager

These can be very useful if you look at these in terms of how you approach your work during your principalship/leadership.

For example:

LOCK: You can look at the word lock from a number of different ways. Here goes three interpretations though that might help.

(a)    LOCK: Lock the door – close your office door and tackle a task without interruption.

(b)   LOCK: Come to a decision and lock it in. Go with it. You’ve made the decision based on the best intentions and all the information that you had at the time. Lock it in, and move on.

(c)    LOCK: Lock the door part two: When you leave school, lock the door and with it all the stress and pressure of the day behind that door. See that door as a physical boundary between your professional life and your personal life and don’t go back to the professional side until you unlock the door again the next day.


(a)    SWITCH USER: Is there another person who can do this task? Do you really need to do this job? Look to delegate it to someone who has more time and more skill to do the job justice.

(b)   SWITCH USER: Give yourself a break. Get up from your desk and switch your own personal user mode from “stuck in a mental rut” principal mode to “take a break and get some fresh air” principal mode. There are times when forcing yourself to push on through some really hard stuff just isn’t going to cut the mustard. Give yourself a break. Even ten minutes can do wonders. Then get back to it. Switching User mode just might be the thing that helps you push on through.


(a)    SIGN OUT: Very much like LOCK the door option. Sign out is literally that. Get up, leave, sign out and give yourself some space. You’ve done enough for the day. You’re not giving in, it hasn’t beaten you, you just need some ME TIME. 

CHANGE A PASSWORD (Also known as Change the record):

(a)    CHANGE A PASSWORD: Think of this like changing a way of looking at something. Maybe you’ve spent a morning on a problem on your laptop, and you find yourself hitting your head on the desk in frustration. Take a different approach to the problem.

        1. Go talk to someone else and get a different perspective.
        2. Brain storm some creative ways of looking at the task in a different way
        3. Change the environment that you are working in – work from home for example.
        4. Get pen and paper out. You’ll be amazed how a big piece of A3 paper, some coloured pencils, and some fancy black ink pens will help you nut out a problem after wasting a few hours looking blankly into your computer screen.


(a)    TASK MANAGER: Enlist your most trusted colleague to be a task manager for you. Sit them down and outline what you want to achieve in the next hour, or next day. Put it down on paper. Leave the paper with them. Give them the authority to pop in every now and again to see how you’re doing with the task. Give them the authority to be slightly annoying to you in pursuit of getting the job finished. Being a Principal or Leader doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the advantages of some good old fashioned micro management sometimes.

(b)   TASK MANAGER: Set up a group of people to take on the task together. You’ll co-ordinate the roles of the group as the Task manager to take on the problem together.

(c)    TASK MANAGER: Be your own Task manager by writing out a series of steps to work through to help you achieve your goal. Imagine that you’ve finished the job, and you’ve done brilliantly. Write down the steps that you took to get that brilliant job completed. Now imagine just completing the job to “it’s good enough” level. Do the same with the step writing. Use the brilliant steps to help you eliminate the candy floss extras that don’t really need to be there.

OK, so that’s about it. When you find yourself in a tough situation hit the Ctrl, Alt, Del buttons in your mind and take a looksie at the options in front of you. Some of these will help you get through.

Remember though, you are a human being. Allow yourself to be slacker if that means you getting through to another day. Sometimes it is as simple as that. No one else in your school really knows or understands the pressures that you are under.  Be Slacker Better, press Ctrl Alt Del. 


Your Thoughts?