Here in Scotland many parents are getting ready or are already celebrating the arrival of the new school term. No more juggling your work around pre-booked summer holiday activities and camps. No more weekly scouring of ‘what’s on in my area’ to find something to do regardless of what the weather decides to do. Or even worse, the daily attempt of prising your little, and not-so-little one’s hands, off their electronic devices in order to do something outside of the house instead.
In many of the conversations with fellow parents the sense of relief is palpable. Going back to school opens up opportunities, flexibility and time. But the big question is – to do what?
Many of us rush into the new term full steam ahead, playing catch up or with a desire to make a good start to the quarter ahead. There can be a tendency to steam-roll things forward, to work a bit harder or longer as the guilt of having not being fully present the past few weeks kicks in. Yet, like most schools, the first week is all about easing back into the routine, a reminder of some of the basics that will help kids learn and feel supported, and a chance to rekindle friendships and classroom relationships. Yes, homework will be set and completed, but without the intention to overwhelm.
Since having children, I’ve learnt that the back to school approach of easing myself into the first week is important. It’s a chance for me to recalibrate and also to plan. Many parents, managers and leaders take too little time to plan ahead or to view this academic quarter as a goal setting opportunity. These days my annual plan is chunked into quarters, working around the academic year and building in some ‘holiday’ time to step back, do something else before moving onto the next important task. When we look at the world of sports, we see their commitment to building up stamina and taking time for acclimatising for the challenge ahead, along with their time commitment to recover and review at the end.
Schools and sports, both remind us that there are natural cycles of time that we can operate to, that isn’t solely based on a 12 month or 4 year plan. These chunked down times, guide us towards what we need to, and by when. So as you get back into a work routine, take a more back to school approach and ease yourself in, go back to your basics, rekindle a few relationships and look at what you can plan for this term.