I have been sitting here watching the women running the 26 mile marathon at the Olympics. (Yes, I know I should be out there running, walking, or moving with them somehow but that is for another blog entry!) But listening to the commentators talk about the strategies employed by these runners made me think, how should I be strategizing this school year to come.
Pacing yourself. How many of us start the year running then never quite make it to the finish line. We are excited to try that new reading promotion, or start that new club, but by January we have about given it up. To keep this feeling of failure away, we need to think long and hard BEFORE beginning a new program; do I really have the time and energy to continue to the finish? Sketch out the year marking all the places you already have obligations (book fairs, research projects, testing that closes your library) and decide this new project would really be an addition to your program or a drain on your time.
Checking your spot in the pack. The runner out in front does it all alone, there is no help. The group running a little behind, in a group benefit from it. There is less pressure from the wind or the crowd, you find support even if it is unspoken. It helps you stay on the correct pace and heading for that finish line. I plan to do this through continuous conversation with my peers, other librarians I know are heading in the same direction I am. We can help each other out, share our thoughts and ideas, provide ourselves with an understanding cheering squad, if you will.
Staying hydrated. OK, how many of us run ragged through the year! Never taking a sick day, even when we should. Staying late or going in early to work on one more thing. Saying yes to whatever we are asked to do. All of this makes us perfect victims, but not healthy, well rounded professionals. We need to remember to take a "hydration" break, to recharge, to relax, to reflect. It could be a mental health day, a mani/pedi, or a day devoted to reading in bed. Maybe it is a weekend breakfast with friends, but whatever it is we need to take this time to hydrate ourselves so we can finish strong.
What kind of "athlete" are you? Whether you compare your self to the long jump, the sprinter, or even the synchronized swimmer think about how you plan to do your event this year; plan, strategize, practice, and reflect.