This summer I find myself able to actually THINK ahead…something last summer didn’t allow, as I had NO idea what I was supposed to even be thinking about!
I’m a planning nerd, which is surprising considering how much is always happening in this role. Someone shared via Twitter recently, ”
The principal’s day is spent in hundreds of brief tasks, many lasting under a minute. An hour has upwards of 50-60 separate interactions with students, parents, custodians, and teachers. The flow of interactions is nonstop, hectic, and often unpredictable…”
That so perfectly describes the frantic pace…my goal for 16-17 year is to work ahead, and be ahead enough, that I can stay in the flow of productivity. That flow, if you’re a Covey fan, is in quadrant II.
In order to make that happen, I have a few tricks that I think will make this easier. Starting with, a strong PROACTIVE approach. I was so reactive in 15-16. Planning is essential to keep my mind AHEAD. And while yes, there are cheaper versions out there, investing in a quality planner makes a world of difference. They are of better quality, which means I can put my hands on them daily, and they aren’t going to fall apart and have to be redone mid-year. (Which I definitely don’t have time for!!)
- An Erin Condren Life Planner… As techie as I am, I have to have a paper planner. I take this with me to all of my meetings. I make notes on the daily pages if I meet with individual teachers or parents, which can come in handy. (Record keeping as an admin can be extremely helpful.) While I don’t take “notes” per say, documenting dates and timelines are very important. It also allows me to track each year what we’d done the year before. If you’ve never bought an Erin Condren, you can use this link to get $10 off…every little bit helps!
- A sturdy notebook. This was probably my favorite “trick” from last year. No matter what meeting I went to, district, parent, team, PLC, etc. I took all the notes in this one notebook. It has my requisite happy quote on the cover. It had everything I needed from week to week, for easy reference, and I was able to mark to do’s with highlights and post its. Next years, 16-17 is ever better, because it has a built-in task list which will make it even easier to keep track of my “must do” items. Being able to design the cover seems so materialistic but all my favorites? Plus more happy quotes? Guaranteed to make me smile and during the year, you need all the smiles you can get!
- Convert your to-do list into an accomplishable list. I love lined post-its. They are just the right size for me to jot everything down. And I do, jot EVERYthing down. It becomes a revolving stressor on my desk…. Moving forward I am going to plan on utilizing the 1-3-5 method of daily to-do’s. Feasibly, you can only accomplish one big thing, three medium-ish things, and five smaller things in addition to all the day to day happenings. Making yourself choose a 1-3-5 list means the things you accomplish will be the things you chose to do—rather than what happened to get done. Prioritizing ruthlessly seems to be the only way to actually get done what’s most important in the little time that we have as educators.
Part 2 I will talk about what you can be doing this summer to get yourself ahead for the 16-17 school year! I’ll also be highlighting a Principal/Teacher organizational system from the Principal Principles. I can’t wait to share!!