Photo by Roberto Sorin
If you are a NZ principal operating under the “work ban”, how is that going for you? 8am – 5pm on week days equals 45 hours (unless you are managing a lunch break . . . ).
Most people that I’ve talked to are finding it impossible to do their usual job inside this set time.
The key word here is ‘usual’. In the context of your role, ‘usual’ could be transposed for ‘huge’ or ‘complicated’ or even ‘downright silly’. It could reasonably be described as dancing the line of what’s possible, and something that stretches most people on a good day.
Sure, we have disengaged with Ministry of Education initiatives and are solely focusing on our schools and community needs, but it is very clear that even these items by themselves don’t fit inside of 8 until 5. What does that say about the load of the complete job?
. . .
Which brings me to a phrase that I heard inside of some training I was doing recently –“it’s OK to do the best you can with the resources you have”.
The resources we each have is not a static situation. How much you can bring to any particular task or situation varies widely depending on a myriad of factors – health, support, competing work, others around you, a crisis, home life . . .
In effect, your “best” will be different, probably on a daily basis! Stephanie Thompson nicely described this in her guest post You Are Not A Machine.
So, the puzzle of how to work in a finite number of hours is only solvable by taking stock of the resources you have available, then adapting the plan based on that reality.
And therein lies a problem – many of us are used to ignoring our ‘current state’. I witnessed a very common illustration of this point recently at a curriculum PLD session.
The presenters had worked hard all morning, giving freely of their energy and expertise and now, 3 hours in, were visibly tired. Clearly, they needed a rest/food/fresh air before doing any more work, but . . . they had a second session due to start 30 minutes after ours and through a series of unplanned for events, we had gone 20 minutes over time.
I gently suggested to the leader that they could start the next session 10 minutes late, and at least have a bite to eat in the sunshine before starting again. I predicted that the attendees would understand, and it was better for them to have a brief wait (teachers can always chat!) than an exhausted presenter.
That’s not what happened though, they ‘soldiered on’.
. . .
So, what about you? How good are you at recognising when your ‘resources’ are low and then adapting your plan based on that reality?
When resources are low, your ‘usual’ needs to change accordingly, and that is most definitely OK.