One day after successfully executing a complicated scheduling maneuver involving multiple families, siblings, transportation, food, tests, equipment, you name it… my friend looked me in my exhausted eyes and said, “you know, if they awarded medals to moms for scheduling, we’d have just earned gold!” That’s when the idea was born: competitive scheduling. We could have different divisions; we could have an ironman category, or maybe pentathlons and decathlons for folks who can compete in multiple categories at one time. 

And so the Schedule Olympiad was born. You’ve never heard of it? Well, I haven’t either, but it should be a thing. I feel like I’ve been preparing my whole life for something like this. Not that I would win every event or even be qualified to compete in every event, but I think I could be fairly competitive, and seriously, who doesn’t love a little bling, a little validation for all the work?

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I can schedule classes, science study sessions for our eleven different events with eleven different partners in eleven different places, soccer practice, track practice, community group, and volunteering all for the same day.  I can do this thing across state lines with my hands tied behind my back and my eyes blindfolded (meaning I can do this even if you don’t email or text back until an hour before our scheduled event begins to tell me you can or can’t make it after all… cough), and this past semester, I almost mastered being two places at one time. Gold all the way. 

We could have relays where grandparents and friends who grab that baton (kid) and run when we need help can participate too. 

I was feeling pretty good about this idea until the phone rang.  

It was our dentist’s office, and, thanks be to straight teeth, they call to remind me of appointments my son made but forgot to tell me about. (I feel like I should be totally transparent and tell you that even if he had told me about it, I would have forgotten.) And I’m so thankful that they are super nice about switching my son’s appointments because I’ve scheduled twenty-five of his twenty-four hours on Thursday, and ortho wasn’t one of the things I scheduled. I might have been good at ortho scheduling at some point fifteen or so years ago, but this is our family’s fifth set of braces, so it’s all blurring together at this point. If this were a competitive event—Ortho Appointment Scheduling: Varsity Division— I wouldn’t even make the final rounds. I’d probably get disqualified.

Maybe I have a bit of “senioritis,” both the kind that students suffer at the end of a long educational journey and also the kind that accompanies old age and is marked by the loss of memory. A delightful combination. So, actually, I may need to up my scheduling game. For those of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, maybe we need a little push. A little motivation.

We need some competition on the horizon. I believe that healthy competition brings about the best in individuals and in the community. Competition is where innovation happens and individuals push themselves to higher levels of achievement and accomplishment. It’s where we see what’s possible, what other human beings are capable of, and therefore, what we might be capable of. We are inspired and then we work harder than we otherwise might. Our schedule game could be taken to the next level!

After practicing our scheduling all year long, our Schedule Olympiad could go something like this: you show up in your event room, and you’ll be handed a handful of children with all their various schedule requirements, and you have to execute the day without any delays, forgotten equipment, hungry little people, or missed potty stops. If it’s a relay, then you would have to organize all the legs of the relay and there can’t be any drops in the handoff, or your team will be disqualified. You can also be handed a super helpful spouse or a grumpy demanding spouse, or you could be handed a scenario where you are a single parent. Perhaps no kids are involved, but you have to travel overseas for work and you have to manage a huge caseload and a night class. Your scenario might involve a car in the shop, an aging parent, or a dog that just got porcupine quills embedded in her mouth. You’ll have 50 minutes to come up with a plan, communicate it to all parties involved, execute the plan, and report your results to the testing center. (Any of you ever compete in or coach Experimental Design for Science Olympiad? Well, I might be borrowing…) We’ll call this event Schedule Design. 

We could celebrate our milestones and cheer each other on. This could be so fun! Let me just check my schedule to see when we could hold this event… 

Oh. my. gosh. Never mind. It just occurred to me why this isn’t a thing. There’s no room in the schedule! Nope. None. My fifteen minutes of free time was just used up typing this little thing…

But if you need a little motivation today, a little schedule-jump-start, then know I’m over here praying for whatever scheduling event you are competing in today, and I’m cheering my heart out for you. You got this! You’re gold all the way. 

 

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