On Saturday, my in-laws surprised my wife and and I and took our son for the night so that we could get ourselves, and more specifically, our house, in order for the start of the school year. This is becoming somewhat of a yearly tradition, where we tear down our summer selves and reconstruct the systems and behaviors that work specifically well during the school year. Gone, of course, are the lax bedtimes and lazy mornings, shopping on a daily need basis for groceries, and what I like to call "summer ironing," which generally consists of hanging the shirt in the bathroom as I shower.
We also tend to begin truly taking ourselves seriously again in terms of our professional life, focusing more intently on planning and strategizing for the coming year in all of our little sections of life. As opposed to the summer, where we delved into frivolity headlong, we tend to round our ideas into more concrete thoughts. Knowing that we will be faced with black and white problems that demand answers immediately places a deferral on the ideas that paced our summer.
As I walked into the buildings today and welcomed myself and my colleagues back for another year, of course I was met with questions and problems that demanded answers. It's easy to see how the next few weeks could be spent handling these issues and the various others that spawn off of them; the minutiae of what we do sometimes knows no end. However, I couldn't help but think of all of the great thinking I did this summer, and it's place in my plans for this year. A few weeks ago, I thought about keeping myself "honest" by setting benchmark dates where I assess the progress of the ideas and goals I set for myself. Just one day back can teach us so much about what we do, and how we should do it.