School is around the corner and it’s getting more than a little crazy around our house. In the calm before the storm hits next week, we’re busy regrouping. Evaluating where we’re headed and checking to see what we need to climb the mountain of challenges ahead.
There are school supply lists to shop for. Updated technology requirements and new chargers to locate since the old cords have shorted out. Lists of fresh dorm supplies and extra toiletries to send with the college boy. Class schedules to download and textbooks to buy. Tuition expenses to finalize and pay. My husband soon has staff meetings to attend, syllabuses to write, and lesson plans to create. Not to mention the coming emotional onslaught as my youngest starts his last year of middle school…and my injured college boy heads off to where I can’t check on his progress as easily as when he’s playing video games with his buddies in the basement.
However, students and teachers aren’t the only ones who must get ready to start a new season. We talked last week about taking baby steps to climb the huge mountain to reach our goal. But before we set out to attack any new challenge, we also need to regroup, gather our supplies, and chart our course before we forge ahead to scale the next peak.
For me, in the calm before the storm, I tend to spend a little time simply brainstorming and writing down everything I can think of that needs to get done or purchased or packed or considered. The family’s pre-school-season list includes errands to run, things to buy, calls to make, forms to print out and sign, and what to pack. My personal writing list includes marketing ideas, nagging thoughts of website tweaks I’ve wanted to do “someday,” other authors to partner with for a future promotion, and due-dates for book launch planning steps. Sometimes this involves a little research to know what to expect or seek the advice of a previous adventurer, but then I know that the steps on my list are the best ones to take.
Once everything is written down, I sort it into prioritized or batched categories. For example, why log into my website dashboard to do one thing when I could block out time to accomplish everything I need to do at once. Instead of running to the store multiple times in the week, create a master list and make a single trip. Same with phone calls or emails or even blog writing, graphic design, and social media post scheduling. Using my favorite time management tools, I enter the deadline-driven tasks with due-dates so I know I’ll get reminders when the time draws near. With the categories and time blocks clear, I have now charted my course and have a plan to attack this mountain and reach the top.
The last step is to catch my breath. Rest up. Hydrate. Get the best nutrition. Relax. Spend quality time with friends and family. And even meditate on the Truth until the stress melts away. Knowing I have done all I can to prepare to meet the challenge, I step up to the starting line and get ready to launch into the next adventure.
What about you? What storms or challenges are on your horizon? How do you prepare to face them? What helps you chart your course?