This morning, my life coach posted a blog about “Walking Out the Door.” It’s true, you can’t get anything done if you stay home and sleep all day and play Facebook games all night. But as I prepared to walk out the door to drive 25 miles to an optional weekly meeting I had not done my homework for, I began to remember something my job consultant had told me last Thursday: “you need to do your homework, otherwise, all the precious time we have together is wasted.”
So I made a mental shift, walking out of the door of “relaxing at home” and into the door of my “home office” where I would commence follow-up on my homework. This is that mental shift that all your elementary school teachers tried to prepare you for. It requires having a dedicated area in your home, preferably a flat surface, with plenty of space, well lit, in a quiet corner, free from distractions. Nowadays, that space must include a computer and a phone. Unfortunately, the internet has morphed both spaces into a distraction laden mine-field. Once personal strength has been summoned up and tested to forgo online diversions, one can tackle homework on the computer.
In grammar school, homework was a nearly daily affair. Usually it entailed finite set of exercises, in multiple subjects. The book publishers and teachers endeavored to make it appealing and user friendly with illustrated dittos. As we traveled into high school, the projects were still interesting, but it was up to us to decorate the homework assignments. College was the testing ground of adulthood to see if we could stay the homework course with distractions and without anyone to tell us to do our homework. Many of us became excellent at cramming. Some judicious students prepared well in advance and were good at boundaries, while the rest of us learned cramming skills that adults use everyday. (As evidenced by the saying “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”)
Adult homework completely lacks the appearance of education, but is by far the most educational. Far easier to execute than it sounds. Life’s homework is essential for making the most of one’s resources. Life has a lot of homework: career, finances, happiness, hobbies, you name it.
The resources we use – books, advice, newspapers, web searches, radio news articles suffer from a double bogey. They are essential in our democracy, but have to find a way to remain financially viable. Most seek to command our attention as profit making entities that blur the lines between education and entertainment, advice and services, information and spin marketing making it a complete distraction to spend all that time separating journalism from spam and opinions from biased information.
The toughest homework I have found is journaling about what it is exactly that I want to do for a career. There are a wealth of distractions masquerading as information and advice. So it is up to me to shut them all off and converse with my spirit as to what will make me happy. Monster and JobFox don’t have to the job I will obtain, 8-5, day in, and day out, I will. So I need to shut off the noise and decide how best to proceed.
Last Thursday, I set an accountability goal. In essence, a homework assignment with a deadline. This week, I will post to my blog, set up three informational interviews, and review three books. What I tripped over was the fact that I had only reviewed my calendar one week at a time and had not foreseen the camping trip planned for later this week. Whoops! Welcome to the phenomenon of “best laid plans.” Yes, the challenge is to either accelerate the homework or risk missing the deadline.
So, in addition to hitting those accountability goals, I will also be taking a look at what my calendar has lurking around the corner of this week. I will also be taking stock of what I already have, just like any good cook, before it begins to ferment and travels beyond ripe into compost.
I have deeply enjoyed sharing this moment with my readers, just as much as I enjoyed Sunday afternoon spent talking resumes with a good friend. It is time for reflection and learning as well, for those of us who talk to think things through. Having done a little thinking, off I go, to “walk out the door” into my next accountability goal.