What If you are intentional about MAKING time this summer to plan for the fall?
By a show of hands, how many of you are procrastinators?
Ok, you can all put your hands down.
Next question, how many of you feel you work better when you are under pressure?
Yep, seems like the same people!
In the world of afterschool, procrastination often feels like a necessity as we take care of the daily challenges of the school year. Then, we jump directly from programming in the school year to a summer program, with no break in between. If we’re lucky, we get a couple of weeks “off” toward the end of summer. This is our life! Often there is so much happening around us, and we are so busy, that we put things off, whether we want to or not. We get caught up in the urgent and fail to pay attention to what is important. Many times, our planning time suffers greatly.
Planning is an easy thing to put off because the results of planning are not immediately seen. Yes, we can look at the plan and know that we will put these things in place soon, but there is not usually an immediate action. It is all for the future. And our “deadlines” for creating a plan are not usually hard and fast. Often, the target date is self-imposed, and studies show, self-imposed deadlines are rarely effective. What is a procrastinator to do?!?!
It is easy to say “Yes, I know I need to plan”. It is another thing to actually create the time to make it happen. Here are a few ideas to help with planning.
- Ask someone to help keep you accountable. As stated before, self-imposed deadlines are often ineffective because there is not an external accountability factor. It is too easy for us to defy our own suggestion to meet a deadline. What If you ask a colleague or a friend to check in on the progress of your planning? Knowing that someone outside of yourself is paying attention to the progress can be just the motivation we need to stay on task.
- Break your planning down into manageable chunks. Planning for a whole year, or even for a semester, can seem so overwhelming that it is easier to leave it to the side and do something else. What If you create a plan for nine weeks at a time or for a month at a time? Planning for a shorter time frame takes some of the magnitude away from the task and you can spend a shorter amount of time each day planning.
- Schedule time for planning and treat it as an appointment. Most of us are pretty good at keeping appointments, whether it be with a doctor, a parent connected to our program, or meeting a friend for lunch. What If you adopt the mindset that your planning time is an appointment time that you cannot miss? Setting aside time on your calendar to plan can make it feel like an appointment you need to keep. Don’t “find the time” for planning. Be intentional and “make the time”.
Not to put any pressure on you (well, maybe a little pressure!), but it is now the end of June. Most of us have a little over a month and a half before the school year kicks off and we hit the ground running full speed. Make time over the next 45 days to work on your fall plan. Put a planning time on your calendar, plan a little at a time each day, and find someone who will keep you accountable and on task. The more you can plan now, the easier it will be when the school year starts and you are neck deep in the everyday of afterschool. As one procrastinator to another, I know this to be true!
Afterschool Resource Coordinator
Missouri AfterSchool Network
Brad Lademann is a dynamic youth speaker with 16 years of public speaking experience and 12 years of experience working with middle school and high school students. He has worked with teens in many capacities including teacher, youth pastor, coach, mentor, and afterschool program supervisor. He currently works with MASN as our Resource Coordinator and provides technical assistance to SAC and 21CCLC grantees.