Firefighter Graduations are certainly a time to celebrate all of your new Firefighter’s hard work and dedication. It isn’t easy to get through the Fire Academy. Especially because Firefighters are put under some really high standards now with the industry changes!
Even though Fire College is only half of the battle (the other half is getting hired on at your department of choice!) it’s still an incredible time and worthy of praise.
Below you will find 17 inspirational Firefighter quotes, perfect for graduations! Some will be funny, some will be serious, but all will be in honor of your new Firefighter graduate- those who came before and those who will come after to join this great and noble profession!
“Don’t Do things for a reward, do what you do for the betterment of your organization!” Passion In Leading
“If getting promoted was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski
“Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.” -Chief Edward Croker, February 1908.
“Not every day is going to offer us a chance to save somebody’s life, but every day offers us an opportunity to affect one.” Volunteer Firefighter Mark Bezos
“As you are handed that piece of paper you will be entering the greatest and most hazardous occupation in this country. Volunteer/Career, male/female, it will not matter, you will all be referred to as BROTHERS and you will be expected to act and carry yourself as your BROTHERS keeper“Chief Robert Moran
“The best tool for fire attack is your brain. The only limits to maximizing its effectiveness are the barriers you put in place. Be as aggressive in obtaining knowledge as you are in advancing an attack line.” – Chief John Tippett
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain
“Build a network of people who support your journey and finding those that can mentor you along the way can be the difference between success and failure.” Instructor Chris Baker
“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” —Jim Carrey
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” —Thomas Edison
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily.” —Zig Ziglar
“God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.” —Max Lucado
Firefighter Graduation Quotes-Anonymous
“Always remain a student of the fire service”
“It always seem impossible until it’s done”
“The Fire Service is 100 years of progress, impeded by tradition”
“An investment in Knowledge pays the best interest. You can never stop learning about an enemy that is trying to kill you.”
“These things we do, so that others many live”
From our Readers
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2- Sent in by Madeline
Did any of these firefighter inspirational quotes resonate with you?
Let me know in the comments below! (or add your own!)
Maybe (hopefully) you are already a volley. And that is amazing, because as numbers continue to drop, medical and fire emergencies are getting crazier!
By the most recent estimates- 70% of Firefighters in the United States are volunteers BUT that number keeps falling every year. Especially as the community stops caring about the volunteers, the money paying job gets in the way, and regulations make it almost impossible in some areas.
Don’t get discouraged! People need you. People count on you. You should be proud to be a volunteer firefighter!
Keep up the training, keep up the learning, keep rescuing people. Help your brothers and sisters be the best Firefighters (volunteer or career) that they can be. Find a good support system.
Remember- America needs Volunteer Firefighters- it simply isn’t an option right now to have paid across the board. In many cases, the first to answer the call is the volunteer.
Have any other meme suggestions! Send me a message here, or on social media!
Firefighter Graduations are some of the most exciting and hard earned events for the newest recruit. They have spent countless hours training both their minds and their bodies to become part of the 1% of American’s capable of doing what a Firefighter does.
And after all this hard work, you want to get them something nice to celebrate! This can be anything from a personalized gift to a gift under 25 dollars.
Whatever your price range- we’ve got lots of amazing ideas for the Firefighter Graduation Gift Ideas!
Personalized gifts are all the rage now- and rightful so. They can be a keepsake or a memento for years to come!
A Classic gift (an ode to the Thin Red Line for Firefighters) is this personalized wall hanging. Perfect for your Firefighters Last name (since that’s what will get plastered on all their new gear!) Bonus- it’s under 25 dollars. Check it out here.
Looking for something truly personalized that can even be used at the station? These custom pieces, inspired by the look of turnout gear, would look great in the bunk rooms on your favorite Firefighter’s bed! You do order them separately. Click on the links for more info!
If you are looking for something USEFUL and PERSONALIZED- these Glove Straps are the go-to for a new Firefighter! They are custom designed leather straps for holding the gloves when not in use. Hand stamped with your last name and hand painted, they are then stitched together for completion.
Useful Gear for Firefighter Graduations Gifts
Are you one of those people that likes to get useful items as gifts? That’s great- but sometimes you don’t know what’s useful and what’s not!
I can tell you that almost all the “Firefighter themed knives” online are not useful- firefighters need some quality (and somewhat expensive) knives because of the demands of the job (you would NEVER want a tool to malfunction in the field) . If you do want a quality knife, I highly recommend the Benchmade Triage Knife. This 5 star rated knife is guaranteed for life, and built with First Responders in mind.
So lets look at some other useful options you can find without knowing too much about what a Firefighter needs for work!
Multitools are the PERFECT useful gift! The “modern Swiss army knife” these multitools are full of great accessories for anything they might need on the job!
One of the main tools a Firefighter needs is their helmet! There are so many cool things that they can have to customize their helmets, and many of these items are standard across the industry! Stickers (specially rated for heat and fire!) are useful for reflection, helmet bands for storing tools, chocks for wedging open doors and windows, and lights for having some extra lumination. You can purchase these individually or in a multi pack. See all the great options on Amazon here!
If you are looking for a budget friendly option, try the streamlight PolyTac. Often times you can find it under 50 dollars, which is a steal!
You know Firefighters love Fire Hose! This Fire Hose Wallet is a great addition to Firefighter organization at the station. Many Firefighters carry a separate wallet with all of their certifications and cards (I think my husband has close to 10 cards now just for work!) Nothing better than storing it in a 5 star rated recycled Fire Hose wallet!
Fire Graduation Gifts for Boyfriend, Fiance, Husband
Many Firefighters go through the Fire School with a special someone supporting them, which is great because it can be really hard!
This his and hers Firefighter Keychain is a great momento for each partner to remember the other while they are away! It’s also common for Firefighters to carry tokens or memory items to keep them safe and focused when on a call!
Funny Firefighter Graduation Gift Ideas
Funny Firefighter gifts are certainly a favorite! And for good reason, every one needs a good laugh every now and then!
This water bottle is also a funny, yet useful gift, sure to turn heads wherever you use it! I’m not sure who thought up all this stuff- but this is one of the best novelty gifts I’ve seen in a long time! Best part- it comes highly recommended!
Gifts for the FireFighter Graduation Class
The Fire Academy is a special time where you find out what you’re made of! Gifts and mementos from Fellow Firefighters are cherished as you move on to your new careers.
Fire Academy class gift ideas wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention Challenge coins! There are very few on Amazon- so check out these sites for some bulk options. RescueTees.com and FireandAxes.com
Gifts under 25 for new Firefighter Recruits
Perfect for your Firefighters Last name (since that’s what will get plastered on all their new gear!) A Classic gift (an ode to the Thin Red Line for Firefighters) is this personalized wall hanging. Check it out here.
Want to get your Firefighter something special for Valentines Day? What do you get the firefighter wife for Valentine’s Day? Do you have an anniversary coming up soon? And we can’t leave out all the firefighter girlfriends and boyfriends from the mix!
I mean, you could just browse Etsy forever… it’s like a trap when I open my app, but I never find the perfect gift.
This list of Firefighter gifts is sure to ease the question, “What do I get my loved on for valentines day?” From newly dating, to freshly engaged, to married for years- this gift guide will give Ideas and Inspiration for your gift.
Amazon has a few custom firefighter gifts, but Etsy custom firefighter gifts are more diverse. If you want to do something like a radio strap- contact someone on Instagram! Their are so many awesome artists making unique custom firefighter gifts.
Coupon books are another favorite– you can find them in lots of different styles, and of Course, you can make your own! The homemade ones might be there very best because they are tailored to the couples needs.
Between crazy work schedules for one spouse, work schedules for the other spouse and juggling the kids/household/animals/volunteering/projects- ok, I’m giving myself anxiety!
Basically, we need time to reconnect, Firefighter to Lover (or maybe you’re both Firefighters- that’s gotta be hectic!) . And we need to make that time a priority- even if we have 1000 reasons not to.
The good news is that I compiled a list of Date Ideas for myself, and figured, what the hay, maybe someone else would get some benefit too! I also have this list of Valentines Day Gift Ideas you should check out!
This is split up in categories for ease of use. Included is a mix of free, cheap and “you need to plan ahead” dates. Because life needs variety.
PRO TIP: Please Don’t talk about work -and if you do, make it a light mention. My husband and I talk about Firefighting all the time, we are a fire family with a fire blog BUT date night is sacred.
If you need some conversation starters check out this book by Gary Chapman (the love languages guy!) that gives you 101 conversation starters for couples! Its insanely useful for Date Night and for reconnecting with your spouse when all you want to talk about is work or the kids.
Late Date Nights
🎆 Go to a 24 hour Diner (mcdonalds kinda counts…)
YUM! Even if you just go for shakes, and even if its 45 minutes away.
Just GO! You will have either a great time, or you will wonder why in the heck you even left the house to come to this empty diner- either way, its a memorable bonding experience.
Need I say more! Real Talk- I haven’t been to the movies in 4 years! But we used to love to go before kids. We would go every other week, it was our “thing”.
If you don’t like the movies, find a local theater and enjoy some live action acts. Those can certainly be just as entertaining and a very unique experience.
🎆 Do late night bowling or other local special event
Many places offer a late night gig on the weekend. From aquariums and baseball games, to bowling and shooting bowl. Find some late night entertainment near you!
If you don’t know where to start, check on google, and then facebook to see what special events might be taking place.
If nothing is available to you, suggest it! A simple comment on their social media page could open a lot of doors for date night events.
Or maybe you could have someone sneak you in- it’s all about who you know!
🎆 Take a Drive
Wether you live in the city or the country, there is something so fun about going for a drive with your lover.
Turn up the radio, get some snacks and find somewhere fun to go, or park, for some more alone time.
Take your loved one on to a meteor shower (dates here!)
Old Firehouses count as museums right? Only kinda kidding. They definitely do!
They have museums for everything now, from science and art to automatizes and yes, they have firefighting museums.
💋 Sporting or Racing Event
Normally these things are group things, invite the guys or the family. But you might be pleasantly surprised to see how much fun it is with just the two of you.
This doesn’t have to be something you hate either. If you both like football, go there- or if your more of a martial arts couple, go to a tournament!
💋 Get a drink and learn about the process
Another fun stop when you want to take a break and stop adulting for awhile.
Many of these custom wineries and breweries offer tours and history behind their brand. You can also enjoy the many sample options they have available.
💋 Make art at a Ceramics or Art class
Are you artistic? Even if you aren’t most art places offer a beginners class.
You can have fun creating something new with the guidance of a teacher and maybe you’ll even find something that you like!
My husband and I aren’t the best at art, but it sure is fun to make together. You could also grab some fire hose and make a really cool craft together!
💋 Give Back TOGETHER
Anything can technically be a date if you prioritize it right, even volunteering together.
So get down and dirty with your partner and then go out afterwards (if your not too tired from all the work you put in!).
Watching your spouse give to others in need can be so motivating to why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Sure you may have your own gigs that you do separately, but there is something about working together for a cause bigger than yourself that can be a real turn on.
Stay at Home Dates
These are some of my favorites, mostly because they are so low key. I just love to spend time with my husband.
💋 Puzzles and Board Games
Nothing says, Imma kick your butt, like playing a board game with your spouse. (unless you’re into martial arts and you actually like kicking butt).
Puzzles are equally as fun as you work on your communication skills LOL! You don’t really know someone until you’ve seen them frustrated with a puzzle.
Orrrrr you could order some kinda dirty games online. No one said it had to be PG.
💋 Watch the Stars (or the clouds)
You know that picture floating around on the internet with the inflatable pool and pillows under the stars. Yeah, do that.
It’s a ton of fun and a great way to reconnect ESPECIALLY if you have kids. Take the baby monitor outside with you and plan to… hopefully get lucky that they stay asleep.
I’m not going to lie- we’ve done it before, right when its too cold for mosquitos yet not quite winter. Make sure you aren’t too tired, or else you’ll end up just falling asleep!
💋 Have a Romantic Dinner and Plan to Dance
Get something to eat at home.
If one of you volunteers to cook, great. My husband and I like to get Take out just because its low stress (most of the time, if they remember to pack everything!).
Then plan to just hang out and dance the night away- even if you both suck at it.
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Dates the whole family can enjoy
Is it still a date if you bring the kids? Well, kinda. Sometimes circumstances make it so that the kids need to tag along- and that’s ok. What matters is making time to reconnect with your spouse!
Plus, you need to spend time together as a family, that way your kids can see you interact as husband and wife and not just dad and mom.
If they’re older, just send them up ahead a little ways.
😀 Putt Putt Golf
Get the kids set up and send them a few holes ahead, that way you can keep an eye on them while still enjoying some time with your spouse.
make sure you keep score!
😀 Picnic in the Park
Arrange two picnic baskets- one for you and one for the kiddos. Give them their own blanket and let them have fun.
Do what you can to get 20 minutes of conversation in. If that means you need to break out the tablets, then do it! I would suggest something more physical- frizbee or ball playing. That way you can have alone time and tire out the kids!
😀 The Beach/springs/pool
Go when you know it won’t be too busy. That way the kids can have their own little area and you can chill out together with your spouse.
For the littles
Some of us have baby babies, and we can’t just section them off. I get it! Playgrounds, Bounce houses, and splash pads can be a fun way to let the kids burn off steam while you talk to your spouse- in FULL sentences.
Yes, you will still be interrupted, sorry, but grab some coffee and make the best of it!
Post Preview: Firefighters can get the most out of their goals by using SMART principles. This post will cover the different parts of a SMART goal and provide relevant Fire Service related examples.
Firefighters are busy– between the calls, the training, the planning, the bullshitting- then try to throw in food, showers and sleep and little time is left to research.
But Research can be the most important part!
We know that Firefighters are bigger, better and more efficient than the past and researching new information is a big part of that.
We also know the dangers that firefighters face- there are many dedicated people out there who are collecting data to save our brothers and sisters.
But what if they had never set a goal to save other firefighters?
What if you had never decided to be a firefighter?
You can’t just wake up one day and show up at Nasa and expect them to throw you in a space ship.
No, it takes years of work- but without a PLAN those years could turn into decades.
Goals (and the plans that accompany them) are important parts of achieving success. But that doesn’t mean that they are easy.
So what’s the secret to boosting productivity and reducing the confusing at the beginning of a new project?
One way to set up what you’ve learned and actually get it into application is through SMART goals.
Best part is anyone can use SMART goals, from rookie firefighters to experienced Fire Chiefs.
Why are SMART goals so amazing? It’s not really that they are amazing, it’s that they are practical and easy to use for most applications.
So once you learn how to use a SMART goal for one area, you can apply it to other areas or ideas that need planning to come to life.
It can become your template every time you start a new project.
Once you’ve grasped the concept and applied SMART goals, you can reach success in every goal you set as long as you persevere.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments- Jim Rohn
You have the discipline, you want the accomplishments, but if you don’t have the goals in a realistic plan, then you will stumble. A project that was supposed to take 5 weeks will take 10- or worse yet, it will never get off the ground.
That is where SMART goals come into play.
What are SMART goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound. I’ll give a brief explanation of each one with the example of hiring 3 new personnel to the department.
Think about the W questions. Who, What, When, Where and Why.
Using those will help you list specific points that are part of your goal. If we use the example of three new hires, we need to think about many things like.
the new hires, HR, their training officers, the county medical director, the chief, where the training will take place, what shift they are assigned to etc.
We are hiring them to staff empty positions, that we need them to be hired in the next three months, and that they will work at B station.
It can be a lot of information, but the beauty of outlining the information is that it can give you a very clear picture of what is initially required at the start of this goal.
You can think of it as a summary, a blue print, or a list. It’s the “must know” information to complete the rest of the steps.
How are you going to measure this goal?
Will it have multiple measurements (like if it takes more than a month, you might have different metrics to evaluate the progress).
If you plan to hire 3 new people, the ultimate measurement is getting them through their year of probation.
But if that is the only thing you measure, you will miss out on other valuable milestones like the hiring process (getting the right people to start with is very important to turnover) and then training them according to your departments standards.
All of those have a measurement that can be recorded here.
It’s it achievable right now? Do you need to have more tools, man power or knowledge to achieve this goal?
Write it all down to get a view of the big picture when the SMART goal is outlined- that way it gives you a realistic view of the requirements and where you need to start.
Sometimes you need more man power, sometimes its training, other times you have everything you need and you just need to say YES- it is achievable.
Also, Don’t quit here if you realize that you need more than what you currently have– anything is achievable with the right plan and attitude.
If you can’t do it right now, put your SMART goal up on the wall or in a folder so you can reference it when the time is right (and you will have most of the planning outlined!)
This goal should tie into the theme that your Fire Department is trying to accomplish.
If you are looking to hire three new people, you don’t want to put them all through medic school at the same time.
So consider hiring people that are already medics, or a mix of EMT’s and Medics.
Set relevant goals that apply right now. If you want to list others for the three new hires (like what they would be able to achieve their first year of probation without getting overwhelmed ) you would create a new SMART goal for that.
So one for them to get hired and one for them to get through probation. They will feed off of each other, but they wont be the same.
This can be tricky because someone that doesn’t believe in the goal will give it too much extra time, whereas someone that is overly ambitious will underestimate the amount of work required to achieve good results.
You can combat this by making a time line visual in this area- don’t just pick “3 weeks” and call it a day.
If you want to hire 3 new people think about everything involved.
Sending the call out, the application process, the hiring process, the new hire training- each of those has a specific time component that needs to be recognized with some leeway built in place.
If you aren’t sure about those time frames, talk to someone that could give you a better understanding of what might be involved.
The worst thing you can do is drastically under or overestimate a goal. You cant hire three new medics in a week, and you don’t want to wait a year (unless that’s what the budget calls for).
You Achieve SMART success in several ways. The first is by simply setting a goal and applying the SMART principle. ( a goal without a plan is just a wish)
Then as you hit milestones along the way, and stay true to your original goal, you are on the way to finishing the goal.
Continue to measure your goal, continue to remind yourself why, and if you have a solid plan- you will have success.
Find accountability here by having a mastermind group (the chief and other lieutenants OR a group of ambitious firefighters OR your spouse OR a good friend). You don’t want to get too many hands in the pot, so pick one to two trusted people to help you with your SMART goals.
SMART goal examples for Firefighters
I wanted to include a few different SMART goals. These Firefighter goal examples are important for several reasons.
For one, they help new Firefighters with goal setting. And for two, they can help to make sure Firefighters of all levels are setting tangible, reachable goals for their individual lives and the department.
I’ve included two basic goals- one with an extended time component.
We know that delayed gratification is good- patience is a virtue. BUT it is certainly not easy!
One is much more basic, then the other is basic but it has a long time component. The time is what could throw people off when they look at a goal.
The last is a more complex SMART goal for those in a leadership position, because dealing with different personalities and convincing them to change (especially in the Fire Service) can be a challenge.
Example Basic Firefighter SMART Goals
Goal- Memorize the truck
Specific- I want to be able to know where all the supplies are on the truck. This includes tools, medical bags and equipments, hoses, gear, and everything else on the master check list.
Measurable- I will be tested on the truck- what is in each compartment. It is either PASS or FAIL.
Achievable- Yes, I can take pictures of each compartment and make a copy of the master list so I can know where everything is at. I can practice on and off shift.
Relevant- Yes, It’s a requirement for the job. Not only that, but if I don’t know where tools and equipment is, I jeopardize my brothers and any life and property we are trying to save.
Time Bound– I have two months to complete this with other basic training requirements. I want to have this done at the 6 week mark so I can have a practice test. That way I have a 2 week safe guard in place if I make a mistake. Then I can reevaluate my goals and make additions as needed.
(time intensive) Goal- Become Firefighter of the Year
Specific– I want to become Firefighter of the Year for B County Fire Rescue. I know that I have to beat out 60 other eligible Firefighters.
Measurable– I will compare myself against the diagnostic criteria put out by the Chief.
– I know that I can’t have any disciplinary action
-I need to take a leadership role and stay in good standing with the department
-I also plan to volunteer for events, and be more active in the Union
I will measure my actions to make sure that they line up with the departments mission.
Achievable- Yes, but I need to work on my leadership skills. I plan to read some books, talk to some senior lieutenants and attend a leadership workshop. I will also volunteer for any open committees so that I can have the opportunity to showcase my leadership skills. I will follow the motto, “Leadership is shown, not discussed”.
Relevant- Yes, I have been on staff three years, the minimum requirement to make Firefighter of the year. I have had no disciplinary action and I want to become a stand in lieutenant in the next few years. This would give me an advantage.
Time Bound– I know that I have ONE year to make this happen, possibly less as they might make the decision a month ahead of time. I also have to consider other firefighters who might be trying to get this title, so I plan to have a monthly review to evaluate where I stand on my goals.
Lieutenant/Chief SMART goal
Goal- Set up a New Mandatory Fitness Routine
Specific– Change current Fitness Routine to “XYZ Fitness on Shift” This will apply to all shifts at B County Fire Rescue in the next 3 months. This Fitness routine is best for Firefighters to ensure appropriate training even if they don’t train off shift.
This would be a boost for our fitness program and the requirements we have to train our Firefighters. Each of the LT’s will be accountable for their shift, they will have to go through a one day training routine.
Measurable- The current Fitness Routine will be phased out in the next 6 weeks, with 6 weeks to enact the new XYZ fitness routine. Firefighters will be tested on the basic components (not advanced) at the end of the 3 month cycle.
Once they have passed the basic test, they will be allowed to proceed with advanced XYZ training. Those that fail will have 2 months to complete the basic training. All Firefighters, including those who are out on leave, will be required to have passed the basic XYZ fitness routine by the 6 month mark, or they will receive disciplinary action as outline in our Employee Handbook, section on Mandatory Fitness Requirements. I will make up a test page that has requirements, times and amounts so that it isn’t biased. It will be pass or fail.
Achievable– XYZ training comes with many recommendations and accolades. They have a proven track record for helping firefighters complete the most training only while training on shift days.
They also offer full fitness routines for everyday use, which we will consider after the initial implementation. We received this training as part of a grant- as long as the union doesn’t object it will go into effect on the start date. I have spoken with the Union President and it looks to be approved at the next meeting.
Relevant- 2 of our Firefighters failed their Fitness test last month. It is essential that all of our Firefighters are kept up to date with training and able to pull their own weight.
While many of our Firefighters oppose the change to a structure Fitness Routine, the other Half is excited to embrace it- we hope that it makes it easier for our people to stay in shape.
Time Bound– Once approved, we plan to spend the first six weeks training the lieutenants on the new program. After the one day training we will have six weeks to fully implement the Basic XYZ fitness regime.
At the end of the 3 months all Firefighters will be tested on the basic fitness test included with the program. Those that fail will have 2 months to retest, those that don’t can move on to the advanced portion of the training.
Firefighter SMART goals, with practice, can become an easy way to outline most goals and time based assignments.
This will allow encourage organization and accountability within the fire service, a crucial aspect of productivity.
Change is not always easy- but it is necessary and it will happen regardless of how many people complain.
Why not make it effective and well planned with SMART goals.
Please let me know if you have any questions about smart goals, I’d love to know how you plan to use them at work and in home life. You can comment below, send me an email or reach out on social media!
This post may contain affiliate links, check out my disclosure for more info.
Hey Firefighter! (or soon to be Firefighter)
How’s your Firefighter Fitness?
Should I remind you about all the stats about heart disease and Firefighters?
I think I’ll save it for another time because I don’t want to be a downer- this post is meant to inspire you to reach new levels in your fitness routine.
Seriously, no time like the present. You can never train hard enough for a job that’s trying to kill you!
These are just some of my Husband’s favorite workouts and motivational videos he watches when he needs a pump. (Yes, I like to workout too- BUT you won’t catch me with a sledge hammer. I value my fingers, thank you very much!)
SO with my husband’s commentary- get watching and then get to work!
I would LOVE it if you had more recommendations (or more like my husband would like more recommendations). I know Firefighters around the world are coming up with effective and unique ways to stay fit for the job.
Post Preview: There’s no time like the present to achieve the firefighting career and personal goals you’ve always dreamed about. Time waits for no man, are you going to be happy when you wake up 20 years from now?
Regardless of how many years you’ve had on the job, you know as a Firefighter that you can never train hard enough for a job that’s trying to kill you. Seriously, while LODDS are going down, heart and mental health deaths are going up. What gives? How can you protect yourself?
We may not have all the answers yet, but we do know that it begins with each firefighter taking steps to improve their career and their lives. What you can do is work hard to be the best firefighter you can be.
No time like the present! 2019 (regardless of the month) is a great year to start improving your life and working on some firefighting related goals.
Firefighter, who do you want to be?
Somewhere between the time we are a little kid and the fire academy, firefighters develop an idea of ‘who they want to be’. They have all these career goals that they want to achieve, training they want to do, and aspirations to be a Fire Chief before retirement.
But then life happens.
And suddenly you aren’t the person OR the firefighter you want to be.
The good news is that it’s not permanent. The bad news is that it only changes when YOU decide it’s time to be a better person.
So what can you do to improve your life and become the firefighter you want to be?
Part of the solution
The first step is to identify WHAT you want to do.
Next, you want to fill your toolbox with skills and examples to achieve those goals. Follow these posts below so you create a game plan to achieving your goals and becoming the Fireman you want to be in 2019.
Post Preview: Time management is essential to achieving the goals and achievements you’ve always dreamed about. These easy time management tips will propel your forward on your journey to greatness.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
How many of you have sat through a long teaching, or waited in a doctor’s office, and the sound of an analog clock is burned into your ears?
You keep checking the time- one minute passes. So you try to busy yourself. Then you check it again. Its only been a minute and some seconds.
Yikes. Time slows and you feel like you will never get out of there (especially when you were a kid in school!).
Kinda like the Bueller Bueller scene from Ferris Bueller’s day off… it just drags onnnnn.
At other life events, time seems to slip through your fingers. It goes so fast- that you are afraid to blink. Before you know it, it’s the next day, or the next year and you have no idea where the time went. Even worse, you might not have anything to show for your lost time.
While these are some more extreme examples, daily time management is pretty basic.
The premise is that you have 24 hours- during that time you need to do personal things and you often have to do work things.
For a firefighter or other shift worker, you could work for longer periods of time where most of the 24 hours is work and very little is personal time (also, a dedicated caregiver feels this way!).
Because of these differences in time allowances, we need to have some skills to manage our time.
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Why Time Management for goal achievement?
Time management, when done correctly, can allow you to get the most out of your day. You are able to organize and prioritize the important personal and work related tasks an make headway on your goals.
You are able to actually show what you did with your time.
Another benefit is that when your day is organized you can actually schedule stress free, free time. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. How many times have you had free time but you had this cloud hanging over you that you are procrastinating. That’s not free time, that’s you causing yourself anxiety.
Using your time wisely is so beneficial to your stress and anxiety levels. You can prioritize what’s important, make peace with what isn’t, and then still have time to unwind.
Easy Time Management Tips
1. Eat the frog (it’s delicious!)
Eat the frog? Yes, I want you to eat the frog.
Let me explain.
This phrase was coined by Mark Twain and has been used ever since. He stated that if you ate a frog every morning, you could do everything else, because eating the frog would be the worst thing you would have to do.
In a nutshell, The principle is this: Do the biggest, ugliest task of your day- FIRST.
Why first? Because then you are free to focus on other things and you won’t have anxiety or stress about procrastination. If you are doing a major task each day to further your goals, you will be making baby steps forward each day. A helpful planner can be a major game changer in your frog eating adventures- don’t get sidelined by indecision.
Brian Tracy, a very popular leadership coach, said this about eating the frog “Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete”
If you want to be successful, you need to imitate those who have already earned success. Brian Tracy acknowledges finishing major tasks will make you successful- and that’s what were after.
So a simple way to success- simply eat the frog!
2. Recognize the time suckers
Time wasters are those magical gnomes that come and steal all the time from the day. Before you realize it, you’ve barely gotten anything done and your list of things you want to do has gotten larger.
Common time wasters can be things like technology, including television and cell phones.
But what about other time wasters? Like gossiping to your neighbor who stays at your house for three hours? Or an unorganized work bench that makes it impossible to complete your task?
What about not setting boundaries on your time? If you let everyone else dictate how your day will go, you wont get anything done that YOU wanted to do- because you followed someone else agenda.
An easy way to identify your time wasters is to simply keep track of the time you spend in one day. Write down how long it takes you to do your morning routine, your daily task etc- then you can figure out where the time wasters are.
3. Have simple and clear goals with follow up
This one may seem like a no brainer- because, in principle, it is. The problem lies in implementing these clear goals and making sure to follow up.
I really like the book, The 12 week year, because it helps to establish a solid plan of action. It highlights the importance of setting quarterly goals and then breaking those goals into action plans. It also covers how to conduct regular reviews to make sure that you are on track to attain your goals.
It’s not that goal setting is hard, it’s that it’s hard to stay committed. Using a planner and allowing a strategy like the 12 week year (or The Checklist Manifesto, which tends to resonate with medical professionals ) can really make a difference in your goals over the next few months. I have a free printable for goal setting, check it out here.
4. Organize your life, Organize your mind
Everyone has done a cleaning or building project at some time or another.
How frustrating is it, to be halfway through the project and realize you are missing something you desperately need?
This happened to me once with an Ikea table- I almost threw the damn thing out the window.
So think back on a time that having an organized project area would have saved you time- especially when you are trying to meet a deadline.
Make it a priority to keep your space organized, and to double check you supplies before you begin a project (even if that just means an extra pen!). You will be amazed at how much time you save when you have everything you need at your fingertips.
5. Reflection is the Key to Time Management
Just like you need to include time for planning, organizing and implementing your plans- you also need time to reflect on what you have done to accomplish them.
This can be a daily or monthly reflection- but it’s important that you set aside time and schedule this review.
When you fail to review what you’ve done, you fail at the most important part: accountability.
If you don’t check to make sure that you are on track, you are most likely off track.
Many successful men and women spend 15-30 minutes each day reflecting on their goals and the steps necessary to achieve these goals. It’s what sets them apart from the rest. When you keep your goals and progress at the forefront of your mind, you stay motivated to succeed.
This is just part of the overall plan to achieving your goals. IF you don’t have a plan in place and dreams to accomplish- then you are missing out. Time management is essential, but not the only piece to the puzzle.
Last Christmas I took to Amazon to find my husband a planner. It’s not that he hasn’t tried planners before- because he has. He had tried just about every option to organize his day with a planner. So when I saw the Panda Planner online, I was slightly skeptical.
Some memorable organization hacks that my husband tried include sticky notes on doors (so he would see it when he left the room) and writing on his hands. We even talked about a rubber band method where you moved it from your left hand to your right hand- ridiculously complicated for remembering to do important tasks.
And forget it when he went to work. Being a Firefighter means that he has to stay focused on the job so anything personal went out the window. He had a separate check list at work he kept in his locker and relied heavily on his Lt. with organizing the day.
Basically, we needed a miracle planner. Somewhere that He can organize his day and his week. Somewhere that he can hope and plan and turn his dreams into reality. He didn’t want to be the “disorganized firefighter” anymore.
Que the Panda Planner.
At first glance, this black (or now they have other colored sleeves) was a little daunting. It seemed both simple and overly complicated all at once.
Simple, because it still had places to set goals (daily, weekly and monthly) and to-do checklists.
Though, it was a little more complicated because it gave a lot of freedom to the dates you picked (you can fill in your own date so you aren’t penalized for skipping a few days) and it also has places to create gratitude/affirmations and reflection.
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Why We love the Panda Planner
So basically, the Panda Planner Pro is still an average planner. You can schedule your day and your week. You can keep track of the ever revolving firefighter work schedule and the honey do list.
You can also see the bigger picture. That your life is more than just work and chores. That you want to create goals to achieve and then monitor the progress with reflection. This is especially important for the stressful holiday season.
This is also true with the monthly outlooks. It’s amazing to look back on your goals for last month (and the days and weeks) to see where you need to improve for the current month.
Then once you get a few months of ‘data’, you can see where you succeeded and where you failed. This might be my absolute favorite feature- you won’t reach your goals if you always do the same things.
The Panda Planner is a productivity, gratitude, and goal setting planner wrapped up into one awesome package.
Why I think all Firefighters should have a Panda (not the animal, the planner)
Firefighters can lead a pretty hectic lifestyle. For one, they have an unique schedule between all the 24/48/72’s, overtime and training. Volunteers especially, can benefit from a Panda Planner, because they are generally logging a full-time job on top of family life. It can be stressful to stay on top of everything!
Mostly, I recommend planning for mental health. I know- I sound like a broken record because I mention mental health in every post BUT it’s important!
When you have a plan/goal and actionable steps, it can get rid of the fear and anxiety. It can make a super stressful project just be regular stressful. It can also provide perspective, because writing things down helps someone realize their priorities.
Plus, when you have a planner (written or digital) it helps with time management- then you can actually achieve the goals you want!
I also like this planner for firefighters (and my husband will confirm!) because its a day by day thing. So you could use it only for shift days, or only for home days, without wasting a lot of paper.
And if you forget about it for a week or a month- no big deal! Just pick back up where you started, no anxiety attached.
Panda Planner examples
So I’ll be honest. The first time I looked at the Panda Planner, I clicked off of it onto something else.
Why? Because I thought it would be too much or too overwhelming. Turns out that its actually great for organizing your thoughts with its different options. So here are some real life pages from my husband’s Panda.
This first image is the Daily Sheet. It has things like a Morning review, Today’s Priorities and a Task list. It can also help you with your Focus, end of the Day notes, and hourly schedule.
The weekly planner is also a lot of fun and useful for staying organized. The four main sections are: the review of last week, the upcoming week, projects, and top goals.
Panda Printable and accessories
It’s never too early or too late to start making some goals to achieve!
I have this printable for helping firefighters and others achieve their goals AND it fits in the large panda planner! You can also scale it down to fit in most other planners. It is so beneficial for setting your yearly goals and to help maintain your focus. Check out the Free printable here!
This year my husband is also working to use a few different colors in his planner. We found these set of pens here that work very well with the Panda.
As you can see from the examples above, this isn’t really a sticker type planner. BUT, I did find these stickers for Christmas for my husband to try. We’ll see how long it lasts. Could be helpful for some people!
I know I’m more of a “Happy Planner” type person- but I’m also a type A personality that is going to get shit done regardless of what my planner says.
If you want a smaller planner that last a whole year (and is cheaper in the grand scheme of things), I recommend the Clever Fox planner. They claim it can increase productivity by 300% and the Clever Fox Reviews on Amazon support that fact!
Do you own the Panda Planner? Are you thinking about getting one? Let me know how you keep your day organized in the comments below! I’m always interested to hear how people meet their goals.