Saturday, January 9, 2010

Organizational Behavior

In the rare case that someone not intimately familiar with my life is reading this blog (please tell me someone is reading it!), I should tell you that I work in admissions and college counseling at a progressive boarding school (grades 9-12) in Boston.  My husband and I live in a dorm with 25 teenage girls.  It's an interesting privacy or personal time, but also no bills.  And a lot of rewarding experiences with adolescents. Which is perfect, since I studied educational psychology in college and adolescent identity development in grad school.

So part of my job is interviewing prospective families. First, I meet with the student while their parent(s) go on tour, and then the student goes on tour while I chat with parents.  Then, after they leave, I write an account of the interviews (complete with quotes) and it becomes part of their application if they decide to apply to the school.  I give a lot of interviews, and sometimes don't get to write the evaluation right away, so I have to take REALLY good notes. While I was typing up my notes today, I realized how much extra work I was doing, reorganizing in my head the information I wanted to type, since I don't ask questions (and thus take notes) in the same order I need to record it in the evaluation.

So today I took the time to type up a little note-taking framework to use during my interviews.  Amazingly, it has all the things I need to cover, with both parents and student, organized in the order that I'll need it in to write the evaluation later.  I'm excited to try it.  If it works, it will make typing those evaluations a mere typing job rather than an exercise in intellectual organization.

That's really the only thing I accomplished towards my goal today, because work was really busy.  When I got home, I was exhausted (did I mention I snoozed 5 times this morning??) and tried to sneak in a little nap on the couch.  Sadly, every time I started to drift off, the doorbell or phone rang.  It got to the point where every time I returned to the couch, I had to get right back up again.  So I gave up and made myself the saddest excuse for dinner there ever was: a healthy choice frozen dinner of steak tips and portabello mushrooms.  The "steak" was so gross I didn't eat any of it, so mostly it was a couple of forkfuls of veggies.  Alas, it was time to go take pictures at the open mic, since several of our dorm girls were performing.  Which was good (actually, one of the girls was AMAZING, with some spoken word--and she used to be so shy!) but really sloooooow.  By the time I got home it was after 10 and I was cranky from not eating, so I made some ravioli.  By the time that was done, it was time to do the first round of check-ins (and warnings, as it turned out, for closed doors with visitors behind them), and along the way one of my college counseling advisees gave me her essay to review.

Which I finished at 12:15 am.


The worksheet from work is going to have to count for today.

But I have learned that writing goals down is the first step to achieving weekend, I hope to organize my makeup (most of which is probably a decade or so past it's "use by", only slightly older than the condiments I cleared out!).  Then, I want to pick either the kitchen cabinets or...




My heart nearly just stopped, thinking about parting with books.  The magazines were sacrifice enough, no?  I might have to let this idea swirl around in my head for a bit to see if I can get behind it. We'll see how it goes.

What did you accomplish today??


Robin said...

I think typing up a worksheet for your notes definitely counts as your organization for the day! I think clearing out mental clutter is as helpful as throwing things out.

I'm actually keeping myself awake all night tonight in preparation for an overnight shift tomorrow by cleaning the house. I'm using your blog as motivation.

Melisa K. said...

Thanks, Robin. It makes me so happy to think that people are being inspired by this blog (rather than thinking how incredibly neurotic I am.) I hope you got a lot done last night!

tiffany said...

if you throw out books...especially any of mine...i don't think i could forgive you. everything else is game.

Melisa K. said...

Well I won't throw out yours but I'm going to have to thin them out. They are double-stacked everywhere. No room left.