Do you ever look at your to do list and procrastinate? I always seem to focus my energies on the things I want to do as opposed to the things I have to do. I focus on that which will bring me joy, satisfaction, or sometimes even just a bit of human interaction. Then, those tasks I put off start to weigh on me. I feel guilty that I haven’t done them and anxious because I still have to do them. Finally, I resent the whole gosh darned list all together for ruling my life.
So I am gazing at my list of things to do (idealistically divided into the days of the week to be accomplished). I immediately gravitate towards the tasks that I am highly skilled at. These tasks take less time and I can complete them with confidence. When I have to venture outside of my comfort zone, I challenge myself to develop a new skill or function in an area where I do not excel. The question I face is, “Is that the best use of my time and talents?” It is my eternal struggle. I run an administration team of one. I don’t have the choice to delegate some tasks and therefore I am not managing my time to reach my own optimal return on investment. How are you managing your most valuable resources, the people you work with including YOURSELF? Judging other people is easy. Realizing where our own skills fall short is far more difficult.
I can feel as if I am a slave to my desk, often I am. The “ping” of a new email or the ring of a telephone pulls my attention away from the task at hand and I am thrust into the now, reactive mode is engaged to extinguish whatever fire now engulfs my desk . One day in October, completely exhausted from processing free/reduced applications and the drudgery of being a USDA compliance officer (yeah, I was in a bad mood), I made a commitment to myself to spend at least part of my Thursdays in the kitchen. I found that I created new recipes, inspired my staff with my passion for culinary, engaged with my students, connected with faculty, and felt fulfilled. My contribution as a director mattered beyond the financial, the paperwork, and my skills were used beyond my word per minute typing count (It’s 68 in case you were wondering J). In fulfilling that commitment to myself, I was able to find my why, my motivation for what I do.
What’s my point? Find your why. Discover your passion. Manage yourself and others to the highest potential. Foster a sense of pride in serving your community’s youth and encourage your staff to share their skills and passion within your organization.
Amanda Venezia, MEd, SNS
Director of Dining Services
Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @londonderry_dng