Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20:31 -- Perfectionism...

My baby is still sick so I'm at home this afternoon.

You'd think, with all this 'found' time...that I'd be doing something really cleaning out a closet, or washing the floors, or stripping each bed to launder sheets, or removing those pesky fingerprints from our stainless steel appliances.

And, no.

My scurrying around tonight after dishes and before bed will bear witness to the fact that I wasted my minutes on a compulsion -- perfectionism.  Found time is like found money.

I'm working with a small team at my school to offer a professional development series beginning tomorrow. (You can see the one-minute motivational SlideRocket presentation I created for it here!)  Because we acknowledge that teachers, like everyone else in the world, are creatures of habit and always choose to sit in the same chair, at the same table, with the same people -- most likely grade level team mates -- during gatherings, we want to mix it up a creating talk families.  A talk family provides cross-grade level viewpoints and strengthens colleagial relationships.  It's home base.  Families are created by the organizers and shared with the professional community prior.  To help guide early morning guests to the appropriate place the day of each event, we make a set of color-coded talk family table tents.  Which is exactly what I've spent too many minutes doing this afternoon.

First, I made a PowerPoint talk family document that I turned into a PDF to enable its addition to my SlideRocket presentation.  I could've written this information in a notebook, or at the very least, made a generic Word document.  Before I left school this noon, I started to type my table tents in Publisher so all the letters were straight and my text box spacing looked perfect; however, a teacher sent a few of her first grade writers to wisk me from my space into their workshop across the hall for a special poetry activity (which was more important anyway -- it was awesome!).  At home later with my six pieces of colored paper -- one for each family -- I sat down with a black magic marker to handwrite names.  First names or last names like I used on the email document?  

Completing the group signs, I flipped the switch into quality control mode.

Red tent -- I forgot the special education teacher who's in our building half-days.  Her schedule just changed.  Oops.  I didn't leave room for an additional name if she's there each morning now...

Yellow tent -- I forgot they have one more person than the other groups, so now the spacing is off.  Sheesh!

Blue tent -- Am I using D'Nealian handwriting?  Really.  What IS this?

There are competing voices in my mind.  They're just table tents, b.  Move on already!  No, this is me I'm putting on these signs -- I want to represent myself the best I can.  They deserve it. 

In the end, the latter voice won.  I spent MORE time on these blessed table tents by making them on the computer.  Now, they're perfect.  An hour (it feels like) later.

And I'm mad at myself for spending a ridiculous amount of time on a component that doesn't support the main purpose of our series.  Perfect table tents are inconsequential.

Excuse me now while I make the Hamburger Helper instead of the scratch casserole...and attempt to fit in a load of laundry before we eat...and pick up the house before my mother arrives to spend the night.

Wait.  I should make the casserole.  That's what a 'better' mom would do...  And I should dust too.  We can't invite a guest into this dirty house...

Evidently, perfect table tents are just one compulsion hiding under my perfectionist umbrella...

Write on,


  1. This SOL community seems to attract a LOT of us...perfectionist type people who somehow "turn" away from the dust because we realize that dust will never be perfectly under control! At least that is what I AM SAYING!

  2. So was it hamburger helper or casserole? Your inner voice needs to take a vacation. You know what's important, so focus on the big stuff. Good luck with your PD tomorrow and I hope that baby is breathing better.

  3. b - wow, I'm amazed by everything! First of all, I hope your little one is feeling better and soon! Second, I love the new idea of talk families - that is brilliant. The tents? Yeah, I would have done the same thing. . . all that time, but look at those gorgeous tents! :) Another perfectionist in your crowd will comment, just wait. The SlideRocket presentation was amazing! (A new tech tool I'm going to have to check out!) So energetic and full of potential and growth among teachers to press on! Best of luck with the PD and hope to hear more about it!

  4. The perfectionist compulsion is so powerful. Those table tents are going to rock the meeting! It isn't any consolation when you already lost the time, believe me, I know. I think Hamburger Helper sounds fabulous and the rest will get done at some point. That pesky inner voice is so awful sometimes! I hope your little one feels better soon and that your meetings go well. I love the idea of a talk family.


Hi! I'd love to hear what you are thinking right now, so please take a sec and drop me a line. I'm so glad you stopped by today -- thanks a billion. :)