Create Time to Create

Where does the time go?

We tend to get distracted quite easily.  For example, I just watched an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee which I didn’t have planned.  I just happened to see Jerry Seinfeld on an episode of The Daily Show.  Then there are the times when I start looking at Facebook and find myself continuously scrolling down absentmindedly.  Been there too?  This also occurs at our jobs.  Microsoft surveyed their workers and reported that 2 out of 5 days per week were unproductive.  Yet, we often times wonder why “there just isn’t enough time in the day.”

So where does our time go?  I encourage you to make a list of what you believe are your key distracting activities.  Then, spend two or three days tallying the number of times you do the distracting activity.  I think you’ll be amazed to see where the time goes.

Create Life Standards

Remember the easy days when parents controlled our life?  Just one cookie for dessert.  Just one hour of TV tonight.  We spent time complaining, sure, but we also did something amazing.  We did other things!

Look at the list of distracting activities you made.  Choose one activity and set a limit for how many times you can do it.  Maybe only check Facebook once per day.  Watch only one episode of The Big Bang Theory instead all six on TBS (yeah, that used to be something I did.  No wonder I didn’t keep that first job).

I decided to limit how many hours I spend playing video games per week.  I decided on limiting myself to 4 sessions and/or 5 hours, whichever comes first.  Here is the document I created to help myself keep track.  It is currently on our counter where I see it daily to help remind me.  As a side note, I noticed a benefit to limiting the activity: I allow myself to be fully immersed in it.  The internal nagging voice saying, “do something productive!” is no longer present.

But Now I’m Bored!

Good.  The purpose of this is to create time to do other things.  Let go of your crutches and security and start being the person you deeply want to be.  Being creative is challenging.  But, think about how good you will feel by living up to the image you truly want to be.  Let me know what you are starting to limit.  We can do this together.

The Characters of Your Life

Dreams of Our Youth

What did you want to be when you grew up?  An astronaut?  A police officer?  A doctor?  A professional soccer player?  A roller coaster designer?  The world felt as if it was created for our pleasure.

With those dreams in mind, what did you do as a child?  As a teenager?  If you are like me, then you probably spent the majority of your time messing around with friends.  For example, we watched quality movies like Cube.


Don’t you worry.  We also watched the sequels.  And we spent time playing Guitar Hero, Halo, and watching The O.C.

There was a time in my youth when I wanted to be a roller coaster designer.  But, did the majority of my activities support that dream?  No.  Was what you were doing helping you achieve your dream?

Living Our Dreams

Dreams can change.  And that is okay.  But, what are your dreams now?  How did you respond to the Dreaded Question?

We all want to make an impact.  I discovered, through the answering of the Dreaded Question, that I want to make my impact as a humanitarian, an environmentalist, a scientist, and an inspiration to others.  Now the question becomes, What characters can I be which support my dream?

We all have multiple characters we play in our lives.  Some common ones are boyfriend/girlfriend, family member, and self-developer.  Others characters are more specific.  For example, I am a teacher/mentor.  You might be a salesman, truck driver, or manager.  Identify the characters you want to be in your life.  I suggest you have 7 or less characters with at least 3 directly related to your dream.

What do you do once you have your characters?  We must plan dream supporting actions for each character and schedule them into your next week.  For example, one of my roles is scientist.  I planned to measure the water flow rate for my shower.  This supported two of my dreams.  One being a scientist and the other being an environmentalist!  Another example is my role of being a boyfriend.  I planned to write to Abbie while I am visiting friends in Milwaukee.  This supports my goal of being a humanitarian.

This can be difficult at first.  I am finding out that I am not naturally a scientist or an environmentalist.  Planning those actions takes much more time than planning my actions of being a boyfriend.  Do not fret over this.  Achieving dreams takes disciplined work.  New skills will be learned along the way.  The benefit to this is that learning new things is immensely enjoyable once accomplished!  So, keep true to your planned actions.  Place them on a calendar.  We must plan to reach our dreams.  Otherwise, we get easily distracted.  Don’t let Facebook or re-runs of The Big Bang Theory keep you from your dreams!


Value Mind Map – Community – May 11th – 17th

I struggled at maintaining this map over the course of the week.  I usually like to think about community because my job is to help improve it.  But, I had a rough week teaching.  My expectations got the better of me.  The thought, “It’s too late,” keeps popping into my mind.  I don’t act to fix my classroom management problems.

Anyway, below is my mind map from the last week.

community mindmap

You will see some positives.  For example, I participated in Abbie’s mother’s day celebrations and wishing people good morning.  I normally don’t wish others good morning, so that was a win.  I shouldn’t say that.  I wish some good morning, but this time I went out of my way to do it.  Hooray!

Next week, I plan on focusing on my value of Mindfulness.

Value Mind Map – Compassion – May 4th – 10th

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

Compassion.  The art of reducing suffering.  I think the hardest part about compassion is realizing the long-term effects.  Lying can relieve you immediately, yet cause you greater suffering later on.  It is difficult to swallow the fact that sometimes compassion is causing pain now in order to reduce future pain.  To be compassionate, we must be brave.  Brave enough to have the difficult conversations.  Brave enough to risk looking like a fool.  Brave enough to say no to oneself.  Compassion is one of the most difficult arts to master…

Below is my mind map of compassion this week.

Compassion Mind Map


When I first think of compassion, I think of curing the sick or feeding the hungry.  Luckily, I do not encounter those pains frequently in my life.  This forced me to think of other types of suffering.  I helped Abbie leave her comfort zone by being her accountability partner.  I helped myself stop thinking about the negatives of my 8th grade project by setting up positive questions to guide my reflection of the experience.  Roz was taken to the vet and checked over.  Sadly, she has lost some teeth and I am attempting to set up a brushing regimen to, hopefully, save the rest of her teeth.  I also apologized to a student after pushing him back into my classroom, which helped reduce my suffering at least.  Hopefully his suffering too.

Once we slow down and think about life, almost everything we do is to avoid some type of suffering.  We should be grateful whenever our suffering is solely boredom.  Being sick or starving are much worse alternatives!

Something that just popped into my head is an easy way to live a compassionate life.  Continuously ask the following question: How can I help my community?  You can change community to myself, my friends, my family, or my coworkers.  But, if you are helping, then you are acting compassionately.

Next week, we will be focusing on community.  What will you do to help our community?

Sudlow Beautification!

Last Saturday, we spent time making our school more beautiful.  A big thanks to Kelly for setting this up, her husband for being a mulch-master, Abbie for helping me plant daylilies, Claire the super student, and Claire’s mom for bringing her daughter and spreading some mulch.

Below is a picture of the sign with the daylilies planted around it.

Sudlow Beautification

Imagine if everyone spent some time helping to make their community beautiful.  Even if it is picking up an extra piece of trash on the walk to and from a car…  That thought makes me smile 🙂