Work/Life Balance: The Un-Checklist

It seems like I need a checklist for everything: groceries, chores, managerial tasks as a principal.

These checklists feel like work, which is fine if what we are attempting to accomplish is in fact work. We can make tasks a habit and they become more automatic. But what about the tasks in life that aren’t considered work? Family, friends, hobbies…these areas should be at least as important for prioritizing in our lives. Yet I don’t want them on automatic.

So I suggest an un-checklist. Not a list of things to avoid, such as foods to refrain from (still working on that). Instead, this would be a list that you would add to once a day. Whatever you add to this list is something that brings you joy. The un-checklist should help you develop a habit around an area in which you want to improve in life.

My priority is family. Being a principal and a writer is more than a full-time job. So I have to be intentional about ensuring that I am also making time for my wife, my daughter, and my son. I use the “life to do” weekly checklist on the left side of my Commit30 planner. Instead of making a list of things I want to do with my family in order to be more present, I write down what I actually did with them.

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Image: My Un-Checklist

What we do together doesn’t have to be expensive or even cost any money. Maybe it is spending quality time talking over dinner; no phones or other distractions allowed. Another night might be reading aloud to one or both of my kids before bed. Board games are also an easy way to connect at home. I don’t count watching a television show or movie together, though that’s enjoyable too.

We spend time together and I write it down. I am creating a list instead of checking items off of one. Addition instead of subtraction. The change of an un-checklist seems small, but the joy, as a result, is noticeable.

 

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District (http://mineralpointschools.org/). Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD (www.ascd.org) and Lead Literacy (www.leadliteracy.com).

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