Go for Goal!
In the first half of this term, there has been a focus for the boys on what enables people to set and achieve goals. This is an important life skill to learn as those who are self-motivated to achieve goals tend to get more out of life.
‘Mindtools’ (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm) recommends five steps to effective goal setting:
- Set goals that motivate you
- Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time bound) goals
- Set goals in writing
- Make an action plan
- Stick with it
Ten years of sitting in the hot seat of Headship has required me to refine my time management skills and develop focused goal-setting strategies that enable me to maintain a positive mind set and effective leadership.
Looking after the physiological needs of the human body is essential to functioning well: I start each day by drinking several glasses of water to compensate for dehydration that occurs overnight: this helps improve my brain’s effectiveness. The Institute of Medicine recommends adult males drink 3 litres of water a day and females 2 litres: many don’t – including myself! I eat a good breakfast and walk Selkie (the dog) to school in the morning. My exercise routine extends to two long walks at the weekend and cycling twice weekly which compensates for the strenuous mental energy expended in the week. Selkie provides a cheerful presence that helps my frame of mind!
My work day starts with breathing exercises to clear my brain and consider the day ahead. I have developed a series of medium and long term goals which I read through. I evaluate if there is anything within the day ahead I might need to do towards achieving them. This is an invaluable tool for prioritising what is important amongst the relentless busyness of each day.
Reading and learning from others is an invaluable tool for developing time management and goal setting skills. In this respect, one of the most influential books I have read is ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.
In most instances, I strongly advocate quickly dealing with a matter as it arises as a means of managing a heavy workload. It has taken me many years to refine an understanding of when an issue requires more time to address and ones that are best slept on.
A mantra I have learnt in ten years of headship is ‘expect the unexpected’. One cannot be too inflexible in expecting to complete goals in a given time frame because an issue can sometimes become a high priority requiring other matters to be temporarily shelved.
What goal setting and effective time management has brought to my life is the ability to find quality downtime doing things that really matter: spending time with family members; reading; walking and much more.
It is also important to let the heart sing and remember what an amazing, diverse and fascinating world it is in which we live. Dealing with a living, breathing human community provides its frustrations and challenges, but also many moments of interest and wonder, especially when one is privileged to work with children.