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by Donna Shea & Nadine Briggs

I (Donna) felt a blog about time was well...timely. It's been at the forefront of my mind in recent weeks. If you know me in person, I'm pretty flexible and not a big stickler about most things or at least I really try not to be. But for some reason, time can be an area where I get stuck and rigid. It's been a pet peeve since I can't remember when. So here I am blogging about it. Because, well, maybe I'm not alone?

I'm a planner. So I tend to take a look at my day and break it down over my morning coffee. Where do I need to be and when? How much time to I have to get from here to there? How much more coffee can I have before I have to move? What can I accomplish before, after or in-between? Because there is always so much to do, I run a pretty tightly scheduled ship. I make my plan. I'm happy with the plan. My plans allow me to successfully run three separate companies, a social skills center, a social and educational publishing company and a dance studio. These commitments make my life incredibly busy so strong time management is key.

My plan works great, except for when it doesn't. Sometimes, it's my own fault. I don't leave enough time or I realize that I've placed unreasonable demands on my plate. I get caught up in text messages or emails when I really should be doing other things.

Other times, my plan is going along just fine. And then...other people inadvertently mess it up. They don't mean to. And I love the people that mess up my days. All of them. I really do. What I get stuck on is the time thing. For example:
  • The dancer that comes into the studio at 6:05 when class begins at 6:30 PM, exclaiming, "Am I too early?" Honestly, yes. But I have a difficult time saying so. I'm trying desperately to fit in some dinner, catch up with my parents who I don't see as frequently as I would like, and make a trip to the restroom. If I can have until 6:25, I'm completely ready for you to come on in!
  • The kiddos that come bopping through the door 15 or 20 minutes early for their 4:30 program with lots of questions or exciting news to tell me. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE seeing those happy faces. I just need those before-group minutes to help my assistants prep for the group, return a phone call or finish a task. I don't want a child to sense or feel that he or she does not have my full attention when it is his or her time with me. I have been working with the kids on how much I understand their anticipation about coming in to play, but that like any other appointment, there is a set start and stop time. I tell them that when I am early for something (and I am quite frequently), I sit in the waiting room (or my car if one isn't available) with a book, magazine or play a game on my phone until it's my appointment time.
  • The parent who is chronically late picking up their child from group. This can cause a ripple effect like making me late to get on the road to the seminar I am scheduled to present at 7:00 and cause me to feel completely stressed out in traffic. Or when dancers are coming in for their class, and I'm still reassuring a child that his or her parent will be coming soon. It's not the events that cause a parent to be unavoidably late on rare occasions that get to me. I once sat with a child for over two hours (and had to cancel some personal plans) waiting for a parent that had been caught in a horrible traffic jam because there had been a major accident. In that instance, I told the child that he wasn't allowed to give his dad any grief for being late, as his dad certainly had had it much worse than we did, sitting there playing on an IPad.
So I'm wondering. Am I just too rigid about this time thing? Sometimes, I really need those minutes. Most times, I just want them. Those minutes allow me to finish my thought, a task, just breathe for a moment or allow me to get home after a long day. So, please. If sometimes I seem a little grumpy about time, forgive me. I'll be okay in a minute.

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Donna Shea and Nadine Briggs are both accomplished social-emotional education specialists.  They each facilitate friendship groups at their respective centers in Massachusetts.  Both Donna and Nadine are parents of children with special needs.

Donna and Nadine offer consultation services for schools, parent groups, and human service agencies.  They are seasoned public speakers who travel across the country to bring workshops and seminars to schools, conferences and other venues. 

Donna and Nadine are certified in bullying prevention through the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center and are creators of the How to Make & Keep Friends Social Success in School Bullying Prevention Initiative that is used to provide classroom training and team-building activities at many schools.

Donna and Nadine would love to hear from you or your child if you have feedback about our books. They are also happy to speak with you about providing programming for children in your local area or just to keep in touch with you about new books and materials.

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