After an unproductive day, I woke up the next morning eager to make up for lost time. I needed to get back on track. Working through my morning routine always helps get the momentum going. I ground my coffee beans and boiled some water for our french press. I’d have time for a quick shower while the water boiled so I grabbed what I needed and headed for the bathroom. I turned on the shower faucet. A few drips of cold water fell from the shower head. I remembered looking at the temperature on my Iphone earlier. It read -9 degrees Fahrenheit. I knew the water lines were frozen. I sighed with frustration. My day was already being messed with and I hadn’t even had a cup of coffee yet. I spent the next 2 hours addressing the problem while the things I planned to accomplish were left unattended. It reminded me of the last time we went to the doctor’s office. The first appointment was late because of weather and every appointment after was pushed further and further back.
When I get derailed, it’s not the loss of time that most affects me. It’s the loss of momentum. It kills me. I find myself on a downward spiral that causes me to search for immediate comfort. It’s not a good place. I start to justify eating what I want, not exercising, resting more and putting things off further. My reaction to loss of momentum is catastrophic! For some reason, it takes me forever to get back into a rhythm.
Education expert Doug Lemov, author of Teach Like A Champion, studied the characteristics of successful teachers across the nation. His findings were surprising. There was a common thread with all successful teachers he studied. They did the mundane things very well. For example, successful teachers wasted very little time passing out papers. Yes, time was saved, but more importantly, momentum wasn’t broken. Lemov estimated that teachers who were intentional about passing out papers quickly, gained 8 additional days of instruction per year. 8 days! You have to consider not only the time lost, but also the time it takes to recover from distraction and regain momentum. Think about what one fire drill does to an otherwise fully engaged room full of students. Things can go from complete control to chaos very quickly but the reverse takes exponentially longer.
These days, many are looking for that one silver bullet idea that will launch them into a life of success and riches. I hope you find it. In the meantime, protecting your momentum may be the most important key to your success. Can anyone walk into your office and ask a question whenever they want? Does every ping on your phone draw your eyes to it’s screen? Does your email inbox interrupt you all day long? Forget about the time you lose. It’s much more serious. Imagine yourself as a fully loaded train. When you are focused and uninterrupted, you are unstoppable. Don’t let insignificant distractions cause your train to stop. The cost of recovery is too great. Put the right boundaries in place and protect your momentum. Time is a finite resource, it should be fiercely protected.
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For more about how to recover when you crash and burn click here: When the Train Falls off the Tracks