Clutter, Bulletin Boards and Goals

I’ve never liked having stuff on my desk. Not at home and not at work.  Even as a young band director, I would work feverishly into the night filing and grading and organizing in order to keep practice sheets, scores and notes from parents from cluttering my desk. 

Not surprisingly, I also never liked bulletin boards. There’s something about an untidy disarray of posters and notes and what-have-yous that is distracting.  I can’t recall how many times I, as a principal, would secretly tidy up bulletin boards around the school.  Even those in classrooms. Most times I didn’t get caught.  There was that one time, however.  That’s another story.

But now I am sitting here at my desk, looking at a bulletin board that is one size too small and barely fits the stuff I have affixed to it.  Curious what those are?

My “life list,” questions I want to ask new employees when I meet with them, “10 goals” for this year (an activity from the book, Eat that Frog!), a meme with my purpose statement, the postcard with our agency’s strategic priorities listed, and bosses day card from Leigh.  Anyone who has ever worked with me would think I’ve lost it. Strangely, it’s a fear of losing it (or not remembering it) that I succumbed to the bulletin board.

You see, what I’ve learned is that it’s tremendously helpful to look at goals and things like purpose statements frequently.  The paper they’re printed on becomes a subtle reminder. In fact, I just read something in which the author noted we are “five and ten times more likely to accomplish our goals” if we write them down.   But what good are they written if we don’t see them regularly?

My point?  I gave up the fight about messy bulletin boards for a couple reasons. I don’t have to expend any energy trying not to forget important things.  Also, repeatedly seeing things–even if subconsciously–helps ingrain them into long-term memory.  But most importantly, looking at my goals and other priorities every day is motivating and inspires me to be grateful about what I’ve accomplished while looking forward to what’s next.

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