Self Management / Success Skills Series

COVID-19 public health directives have forced public school students (and teachers) to adapt to remote learning. While telecommuting is not foreign in the world of work, the current stay-in-place mandate has created an alien landscape in the world of secondary education. Self management, a core skill in PCCAPS, couldn't be more relevant as students are now forced to stay home. Self Management, as a tool set, went from concept to reality overnight.


Good ol' Scrum: the Self-Management Tool

How do you keep project tasks moving despite shifting sands? You need a workflow system that is simple, clear and allows folks to be agile during fluctuating conditions and circumstances.

Read more to catch up how Scrum serves as the workflow mechanism for PCCAPS students and how it is taught to students via collaborative lego build.


Attention: This is a Priority Lane Adjustment!


During the lego city build, we simulated a catastrophe to illustrate the concepts of agility and workflow maintenance. The catastrophic event was represented by an "earthquake" (a rift between the tables pictured below) which ultimately separated citizens' access to the hospital.


Given the public safety concerns of the lego city stakeholders, all originally scheduled tasks were now superseded by the need for several bridges to restore passage to the hospital. What does that look like on the Scrum board? It means adding a "Priority Lane" for the new, higher priority circumstances. It doesn't mean that the originally schedule tasks disappear.



"Flattening the curve" of COVID-19 infection is one big priority lane adjustment. Relative to remote learning and project management, PCCAPS students are finding themselves in a live version of the lego city earthquake (not to mention an actual earthquake here in the Salt Lake metropolitan area!). Creating that priority lane is critical for handling the now in a responsible way, while not losing hard won traction in other areas of our lives.


What does a Covid-19 Priority Lane look like for students?

Brain Science of Physical Distancing


What would happen if students did not acknowledge the priority lane tasks during this time? Besides the physical health risks, there are mental/emotional risks. Learning has been a social activity since Kindergarten for PCCAPS Students. Prolonged physical isolation is known to impact the brain in specific ways:


  • Reduced functionality of the hippocampus: memory impairment

  • Reduced functionality of the prefrontal cortex: attention span

  • Reduced functionality of the amygdala: mood and emotional regulation


Forced changes in routine coupled with the unknown can surely cause anxiety. As we know, the hypothalamus tells our adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. These "fight or flight" hormones affect all of the above as well as physical & behavior manifestations including lethargy, decreased immune function, changes in eating, increases in blood pressure and loss of sensation.


Acknowledging and attending to the above Priority Lane tasks are essential for withstanding these times and directly affect successful management of existing school assignment tasks.


Self Management = Self Leadership

A post by Highbrow is an excellent source for all things "Self Management." Self Management is not just about completing tasks. It is a Swiss Army-like gadget used for navigating change and uncertainty. Within this multi-tool is a component called Self Leadership. What is this tool for? It offers:

Self-awareness: Knowing your intentions, values, and what can derail you

Self-confidence: Knowing your strengths and abilities

Self-efficacy: The belief that whatever comes your way, you can handle it


Further, in order to maintain grip of this multi-tool, the following strategies are employed by leaders to stay calm in the face of stress:

1. They appreciate what they have. 2. The avoid asking “what if?” 3. They stay positive. 4. They disconnect from what derails them. 5. They limit their caffeine intake. 6. They sleep. 7. They squash negative self-talk. 8. They reframe their perspective. 9. They breathe. 10. They use their support system.


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