I actually came across this saying many years ago, but from what exact source I don't remember. It has served me well when I've remembered it, providing structure at the jumping-off point of an initiative. A good example is the planning of collaborative Social Studies/English projects. Before we start the project, I sit down with the English teacher, and we discuss our ultimate goals for the project before we create the calendar and schedule out activities. In some instances I believe I can even take this habit too far. I will set a goal for myself far into the future, and even though circumstances change that make achieving that goal less likely/reasonable, I will hold fast and suffer the consequences in pursuit of "the end" I originally envisioned. To teach this concept, I plan on having students set a goal ("the end") for the end of the semester or year. Then to keep that goal constantly "in mind," I will have them replace their cell phone wallpapers with an image that represents their chosen goal. Since teenagers can't go five minutes without looking at their phones, my hope is that this strategy will constantly remind them of their chosen goal, and keep them more focused on the path to achieving it.
It’s easy to tend to the things that have to get done. It’s easy because there’s no other choice; some things simply have to get done, and get done now! It’s much harder, at least for me, to attend to the things that don’t have to get done, but should get done. Some things I know are of critical importance to attend to, but since they’re not knocking-down-my-door urgent; I unfortunately always tend to leave them unattended. I am not good at being proactive (or, I have too much going on in my life, which prevents me from being pro-active!:) Last spring a colleague shared a TED Talk with me that I think has the potential to help me be more proactive. Entitled “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator” (see below), it shared an image which the presenter (Tim Urban) called the “Life Calendar.” Essentially this image serves as a powerful reminder that we’re all going to die sooner than we think, which in turn motivates me to get off my butt and get to work achieving my goals! I plan on sharing this TED Talk with my Music Appreciation class (who likely will be my weekly 15-minute audience at this point), in the hope of driving home the importance of becoming proactive!