Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Tuesday Slice: Pare it down to three

After the dishwasher is emptied and my coffee is made, I started my morning brain dump. (Julia Cameron calls it "morning pages", but what I write isn't anywhere near as elegant as that term, nor the three page length she suggests--one page is all I have time for.)  

Since it is the beginning of the school year--students start tomorrow--my mind is racing with the multitude of tasks that must be completed to get the library up and running.  Clearing spaces, rearranging tables and materials and shelves, downloading and uploading Excel spreadsheets for ID badges--oh, and a schedule for the classes to come in for their pictures for those badges--cataloging materials, planning read-alouds, making the orientation lessons, finishing the bulletin board, reviewing the budget, working on required professional development, decorating the library (have to check with fire marshal regulations), and...and...and...

I look to the sticker I placed on my page.  "Things take time."

I look back to my brain dump.  What can reasonably be done today, knowing that my time will be punctuated with teacher requests and emails that will need answers?  What will bring me closer to being ready for tomorrow?

Clear the space and rearrange tables and shelves.

Catalog the most needed materials.

Prep for badge-making.

That's it.  If those three things get done, I can breathe a bit easier when students arrive tomorrow.  If I can shelve some books to clear even more space, that would be icing on the proverbial cake.  

I tell myself to breathe and keep breathing.  Things take time.  Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will the 21-22 library program.

(On a related note...I am looking forward to ordering my 2022 Plum Paper Vertical Priorities planner with a space to list three must-do tasks each day.  I think it will be balm for my frazzled spirit.)


  1. The visual (and psychological) difference between the paragraph loaded with task after task vs. the list of three (with white space in between) is dramatic! I can see why it made such a difference for you to pare it down to three.

  2. Whew! You are an incredible librarian. You’ll get there, you always do, plus extra. I feel you on morning pages. I started in a smaller notebook so three pages is more like one and half of the previous, larger notebook. But one page front and back these past two weeks…I’m already looking forward to the weekend to get more writing in. Sigh. I’m right there with you.

  3. Much wisdom here in prioritizing those "three things" - for we are not superheroes, alas (I think librarians/media specialists come close, though!). Yesterday was my first day back at school and I told several people I wasn't looking at the whole big picture for the year, but at moments. A different approach for me. There are still too many unknowns, with COVID ramping back up all around us. I also have to say a great planner makes a tremendous difference in one's day! However frazzled your spirit may be, Chris, you always impart strength and courage with your words. I so admire your dedication to morning pages...er, brain dump!

  4. I like the idea of three things, just three things. I let go of morning pages, but am now back to writing with students. It feels good and right. I hope you will come to a resting place where you can say, "It's all good and right."