June Tips: Weeping, Wilderness, and Winging It

Jun 6, 2022

Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family,

Out of necessity and somewhat by choice, I’ve been leaning into Maia-Winging-Things these days. Do you ever intentionally decide to just wing it? I know, I know, putting the words “intention” and “wing it” in the same sentence is sort of like saying “jumbo shrimp,” or “working vacation” or “controlled chaos.” That said, I anticipated it would be a doozy of a month for a number of reasons planned (cue long list of merging households — this means doubling the number of kids, cats, and adults — with Dr. Together, Together Trips to Houston and New Orleans, The Together Teammate book deadline, the Girl Scout camping trip, two of our own kids’ birthday parties) and unplanned (Dr. Together with COVID-19, Dr. Together’s parents with COVID, a water leak in the basement, 55 moving boxes, you know, just life-y kind of stuff). When I can see that cascade of events, tasks, and meetings coming at me, I do not pretend that I will be perfectly prepared for all of them. Instead, I look ahead and identify my Wing-It list.

What?! A Wing-it List?! How is that even a thing, Maia?, you may be wondering? Well, it goes something like this:

  • The Girl Scout camping weekend I was in charge of. . . In my ideal world, I would have prepared a detailed parent memo, a packing list, back-ups for back-ups, the perfect first Aid-kit ready to go. However, I had a very busy two work weeks prior. So, I blocked time the night before to wing-it, knowing I would be tossing camp supplies in tubs and making multiple trips to the grocery store.
  • An important call with my web design company for our new website launch. As my best self, I would have read the memo in advance and had questions prepared. However, I knew I wouldn’t have time to do this, but I didn’t want to move the meeting and hold others up. So, I asked them for some focused reading time during the initial part of our call, and then I could be totally present as we did the work of this call.
  • Birthday party planning for the kid turning 12. It was coming at me quickly, and while I managed to order a few of her birthday gifts via Amazon, I also looked ahead and blocked time with her for a nail appointment (her dream! also no prep required) and she decided I wasn’t moving fast enough for her birthday pool party invitations, SO SHE TEXTED HER FRIENDS HERSELF. Not only was my winging-it helpful, someone else actually jumped in and took over.

So, what is the takeaway here? I’m all for winging it, provided we are intentional about it, we acknowledge the impact, and we plan for some Wing-it Time. And yes, I still remembered the S’mores supplies – even if I had to run to the grocery store at 5 AM the morning of the camping trip. When can you Wing-it this summer?

Speaking of Girl Scouts, perhaps the story that hurt my heart the most from the recent tragedy in Texas was one from the local Girl Scout chapter there, where the CEO of the Girl Scouts wrote to us troop leaders, “We have learned that one of our Girl Scouts, 10-year-old Amerie Jo, lost her life in the mass shooting and tried to save the lives of others by using her cell phone to call 911.” I wept at this as I thought of my own Girl Scouts, all just a slight bit older than the elementary students I cannot stop reading about. In our corner of the Together-verse, we will do our best to keep helping educators care for themselves during these dark days. I’m sending you all strength and peace — and please build time in your weeks for as much action as you can take to stop this madness. You can also donate directly to the Girl Scouts in Uvalde.

#togetherforever #clipboardsandclogs


PS For those of you interested in student Togetherness, my friend Mitch has a great upcoming resource for you!

PPS If you are reading this on Sunday morning, it means I just completed my 11th Together Triathlon! Hurray for my first season in the 45–49-year-old age group, and here’s to wetsuits in the Chesapeake Bay. Gulp!

PPPS I’m deep in the manuscript for The Together Teammate, and I’m on the hunt for a few more models of electronic organization (inbox, folders, Google Drive, etc), examples of managing your manager (emails, charts, timelines), and physical space set-ups (front desks of schools, cubicles, work-from-home set ups, backpacks, etc.). If you are in a behind-the-scenes role and are open to potentially be mentioned in an upcoming book, email our team with your artifacts and explanations.

Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)

  • A Together Trifold? James B, a participant in a recent Together course (and also a reality and trivia TV star!), blew us away with this Together Tool he keeps tucked in his pocket throughout the day.
  • Need to get your meetings more Together? Check out these thoughts on tightening up your meeting agenda structure – examples included! And our friend Kelly over at Little Bites Coaching has been offering meeting tune-ups! Try to sign up next time!
  • Calendar Conundrum? Yes, I have calendar complexity in my very own Semi-Together Household. This means Dr. Together and I write the “Winnepeg Weekly” memo to our kids and ourselves. It’s working okay so far, but I’m not sure if this is sustainable…please send help!!

Top Together Tributes

  • You had tunafish for lunch? Who cares? I sure don’t! These had me both laughing and making lists of strategies to try.
  • Pomorodo all the way! We love the Pomodoro approach for staying focused, and this new app is another way to track the time. I also love Forest for the tiny trees one gets to collect.
  • A workout that makes you happy? I am deep into NY Times Seven-Minute workouts (see above on winging it), but exercising that is optimized for joy? Intrigued.
  • For all you what-ers out there… Is list-making more your style? Try this very focused approach to planning out your week! I think he’s really on to something with the attention to energy levels.