The Importance of Prioritizing

Prioritizing (v.) : determine the order for dealing with a series of items or tasks according to their relative importance.

I should’ve known I’d eventually pen a rant of this nature for The Pondering Father. Once again, I’ve found myself taking on too much. I want to do so much for so many people. I desire to push myself in new directions. However, there’s only so much time in the day. I have to accept the fact that I won’t be able to do all the things I have in mind. It’s just not possible. Time won’t allow it.

How’d I get into this mess in the first place?

It all started in August 2017. I had just planned my solo trip to New York City where I’d see one of my favorite bands, Phish, perform three nights at Madison Square Garden. Many of my friends and relatives were taken aback by the venture. My wife and I have yet to go on a single vacation since our children were born. Yet, there I was, about to embark on a journey to NYC by myself.

I didn’t want to address the matter head-on because it seemed futile. People would still question the trip regardless of my reasoning. Instead, I did what most young adults do these days…

I passive-aggressively wrote a blog post.

What surprised me the most was the fact that I loved writing that first post. It was a cathartic experience. I was also humbled by the responses from those of you who read that post. And the second post. And the third post. Since folks continued visiting the site, I decided to keep writing. Before I knew it, I was buying a web domain, securing press credentials, talking to celebrities, recording podcasts, and more.

I decided that I could ride out the blog experiment whilst continuing on as a middle school teacher.

Then I got the itch to do more…

Doctorate Program? Let’s Do This!

I’ve made it known to all that I anticipate leaving the classroom at the conclusion of this school year. I want to be a school administrator. I’m just a little over a month away from finally securing my Administrator’s License from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It’s been a long journey to get to this point and, to be honest, the thought of sitting on the license once it’s earned is something I’m not willing to do. I feel that educational leadership is something I’m supposed to do. I’m this close to achieving the ambitious goal I set for myself three years ago. It’s time to go big or go home.

However, in my desire to make myself a more attractive administrative candidate, I decided to once again return to school. Two months ago, I was accepted into the University of New England’s online doctoral program in Educational Leadership. Today, I’m halfway through my first course. So, let’s see… I’ve made the following added responsibilities in addition to my duties as father and husband:

  1. Full-time middle school teacher
  2. Parent Blogger / Podcaster
  3. Doctoral Student

I should’ve stopped there…But what’s the fun in that!

More websites? MORE WEBSITES!

My love for writing started to consume my thoughts. You see, all I wanted to do was write. Why not write more!? Let’s see. I bought New England Revolution season tickets for me and my son. Why not have a site dedicated to the Revs? I want to have a separate site to house my thoughts on education. Why not have a site dedicated to education?

Yikes.

Here’s a recap for those of you keeping score. I’ve now committed myself to the following tasks:

  1. Father
  2. Husband
  3. Teacher
  4. Blogger/Podcaster
  5. New England Revolution Reporter
  6. Educational Writer / Editor

Wow, I may have bitten off more than I could chew here.

What Now?

Well, it’s clear that I must prioritize. I’ve put a lot on my plate, and I’m quite certain a breakdown will be in my future if I don’t make some changes. I’ve thought about my conundrum for a few days now. I think I’ve now got a handle on things.

Plan of Action

First, the Revolution and Education websites need to go. It’s a simply as that. I just don’t have the time to write content for two additional websites, manage social media for both entities, and build two addition brands.

Second, I need the Pondering Father site to stay. It’s become a part of me now. However, there will be a significant change. I will no longer be using The Pondering Father moniker moving forward. The author of the blog posts will be Ryan McHale. The host of “The Pondering Podcast” will be Ryan McHale. It’s hard work having a secret identity. So much so that it’s actually become a source of stress. I’m proud of the side project I’ve built. No shame in having my name out there.

In addition, I’ll use this website if I want to write about the Revs or anything related to education. I don’t need separate websites. Sure, it may not be related to my “niche” per se. But, who cares? It’s my blog. I didn’t start it to become some famous blogger who travels the globe. It’s always been about writing for the love of writing. What I choose to put as content on the site is my prerogative.

Finally, I’m doing away with my content-release schedule. It put too much pressure on me. I want to write and record podcasts. I can do both of those things in addition to my job and doctoral work. It’ll just have to be on my time. Content will be released when I have free time to do so. It may go against the “norms” of blogging, but I need to do it for my sanity.

Lesson Learned

Ultimately, I should have been more cognizant of how much I could  juggle at this point in my life. I realize now that prioritizing (and eliminating) the abundance of tasks in front of us can greatly reduce our stress level. Let’s face it.There’s so much we want to accomplish in our one shot at life. Unfortunately, this isn’t Tuck Everlasting. There’s no water that’ll give us all the time we’d need to do all we want. Honestly, that isn’t a bad thing. It just means we need to carefully choose the things that’ll make us happy and attack those goals with everything we’ve got.

Are you feeling stressed these days? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the enormous To-Do List staring at you each morning? Take the time to prioritize. You may find it to be the stress reducer you’ve been longing for.

As always, thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Ryan

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