I am a list maker. I make a list and do everything on the list. I am also a last-minute deadline girl (woman, to all my feminist readers out there). I am much more efficient under a little pressure. I am not embarrassed about these truisms of my own nature, in fact, I embrace them.

We too often believe that we should fit into the same little box in terms of organization, learning style and even efficiency. How often do we hear (or say to our own students), “Don’t put that off until the last minute or it won’t get done.”? As I have just confessed, in my own case that might be awful advice. I have never written a good article unless I have written it the day before it was due (note to my editor: that’s why I purposely set my deadline early). My house is always the cleanest right before company arrives, because that’s when I start cleaning like a madwoman. My lesson plan is usually most interesting if I plan it the morning I am going to teach.

My style is not everyone’s best way to accomplish things. My husband is a plotter. He plots things out, plans and needs a lot of time to figure out how he wants to do something. One of my sons is really relaxed, or ‘chill,’ as he would say. Nothing stresses him and he just squeaks by on everything. Our conversations sound something like this, “You are barely passing, you need to do some extra credit and bring that grade up.” His reply, “Mom, why do we have this same talk every spring? Every year you say that, and I always walk in and get like a 90 on the final exam and pass.” Reluctantly, I must agree. He does always pass.

Another son is more like his dad. He plans, studies and works so hard that I sometimes wish he was a little less uptight and a little more ‘chill.’ We may be able to increase our own productivity and effectiveness if we recognize our own patterns and work with them rather than against them.

Jot down a few times you have been really successful. What did you do to make that happen? Did you plan, write notes, or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants? Ask family or those close to you what kind of personality you have. When have they noticed you are most successful?

Knowing ourselves will help us to become better catechists and can help us encourage that in our students. Make a commitment to better understanding and embracing your own personality and uniqueness.