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Five Tips for Surviving March Madness

March Madness is here people!!

Depending on what it is that you do for a living, March Madness might mean something completely different from the annual college basketball championships. As a school leader, March Madness might also represent the time of year when you’re swamped with hiring, evaluations, budget, scheduling, decisions on retaining or letting any staff go, state testing, and more. March Madness can be an exhausting time of year, even for the best of school and district leaders.

During your school leader March Madness, it can be really easy to neglect your own self, your health, your family, and your learning. To help, here are FIVE quick tips to consider to assist you in navigating March Madness.

  1. Eat well: among the things I don’t miss, eating standing up in the hallway or in the Jeep driving across town to or from a meeting. This usually meant fast food, gas station sandwiches, or cafeteria food. Sometimes it was only a granola bar and a Diet Coke. Not something I am proud of. Be intentional about eating well, maybe have a salad occasionally. Keep some quick microwave meals in your refrigerator that maybe can be something to help avoid the greasy fries and burgers.
  2. Feed your mind: when you’re busy, you might not prioritize professional reading. But, this is a critical element to keep you sharp. I have become quite fond of audio books as a way to continue to stay updated and to push my thinking. Maybe keep your kindle or ipad nearby so you can do a quick 5 minutes of reading when the opportunity presents itself. Block some time for yourself, even just 10 minutes over coffee, to read a new article or blog in your field. Consider apps and services like the Skim or Flipboard to keep the content coming your way.
  3. Go to bed early: it is time to end the belief that being dedicated means working 20 hour days. You cannot pour into others when you have an empty cup. I added meditation to my routine when I had a tough time sleeping during the maddening times of year. Sleep is not overrated, make sure you are getting what you need to stay on top of your game.
  4. Feed your body: I became very intentional about allocating time to work out every day during the week as a principal. I would get to the gym at my high school by 5:30 or 6am, get 45 minutes in (maybe in the weight room, on the treadmill, or even in the pool) to keep my body maintained. We neglect ourselves in many different ways, and when coupled with poor eating habits, can end up like I did one or two times…in shock looking at the scale.
  5. Lean into your thought partner: we all have to have that one person to use as a sounding board. Maybe you have a coach, a mentor, or just a really good friend you trust. It might be your spouse or another family member. But lean into them. For me, my thought partner has long been an educator I met on my first day as a teacher. He and I have ‘grown up’ together as teachers, coaches, principals, and even superintendents. You can’t carry all that baggage around in your head all by yourself. Stop being Han Solo (get it?) and unload some of it by leaning into that thought partner.

March Madness is upon us…crazy weather, crazy educators and students all desperate for spring break, and a myriad of tasks and responsibilities all begging to take your attention and energy. Follow these five steps, and perhaps a few others, and you’ll find yourself soon enough into the April showers!

Have a #RoadToAwesome week


Road to Awesome: The Journey of a Leader is now available. Click here to purchase the autographed copy.

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