5 Tips To Putting The Pieces of Your Life Back Together General by Joel Wagner - April 15, 2008July 2, 20104 I recently took my band to the UIL Concert & Sight Reading competition. We worked hard on the music. We worked hard in after school sectionals. We worked hard on passing classes to retain eligibility. The end result was that the band got first division in the Concert portion of the contest, and first division in the Sight Reading portion. That combination is called Sweepstakes. Putting together a performance like this takes its toll on everyone involved. As a result, I have fallen behind on a number of things in my personal life. The most notable is my housekeeping.Since I conduct the second band, it is made up of mostly 7th graders. This was their first year to go to the UIL. The small number of 8th graders I have got 2s and 3s last year. This was my very first sweepstakes also. Needless to say, the students and director were excited. Putting together a performance like this takes its toll on everyone involved. As a result, I have fallen behind on a number of things in my personal life. The most notable is my housekeeping. Now that the competition is over, things will begin to return to normal in my personal life. I won’t have sectionals or full band rehearsals after school like I have been having for the last two months. Things like eating healthy, going through mail regularly, staying on top of washing dishes and laundry, and playing with my dogs have suffered. So what to do now? The first thing I’m going to do will be to go back and reread my 25 Tips For Less Stress series. This week, I will begin by: Drinking water Even though I am not a big fan of tap water, I will drink nothing but water. I have allowed myself to slip into the habit once again of drinking juices and flavored drinks (still nothing carbonated). Nothing but water again. Eliminate junk food I have also begun eating desserts and just all around bad foods. It all started over Thanksgiving break. I got back on track, and then my coworker had a stroke. Bad foods are comforting, especially when I didn’t feel like cooking when I got home! No fried foods, no desserts, Increase healthy foods When I eliminate junk foods, I will replace them with the healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables will be in my home again. I will eat a salad at least once a day. Declutter my house I am tired of having too much stuff around my house! It’s time to take control once again. Reduce possessions I have a severe case of what Dave Ramsey calls “stuffitis.” I like stuff. I am going to spend the next few weeks going through my house and finding things that I haven’t used in over a year and chunking them. Giving away, throwing away, or selling — one way or the other, I’ll get rid of stuff! Those are the first five things I’m planning on doing. I’m sure as I see the progress with them, I will be inspired to do more and just really start to get my life back under control! What about you? What are some things that you have found that work to get you refocused again after a busy time? Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.