Life is full of tough choices that tug at our time. How do you decide what is important and then schedule your day accordingly? I discussed this very thing with Professional learning expert and school leader Kip Lynk (@kiplynk) about how we can use practical strategies like backfilling our schedules, being purposeful in our planning, and empowering others along the way. Listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts.
Backfill Your Schedule
In the podcast, Kip presented this idea and I thought it was fantastic. Take the time to reflect on your day and week to see how you used your time. Actually open up your planner, and then think back what you did. Once you write in the details, you will have a better understanding on where your time is going. You may also feel better about how much you are really doing, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Schedule Out & About Time
It’s not just appointments that we have to keep, but also the loose time that we should schedule and prioritize. Car rider duty, walkabouts, check-ins, and other miscellaneous time is important and needed, so don’t forget to add it in. Furthermore, make sure that others know that this time is protected. It’s essential that we meet and greet our families, are connected to classrooms, and see what’s happening every day.
Telling Others You are Coming
If you really want to make sure you keep an appointment, don’t just add it as something you are trying to do, but make sure the other person knows you are coming and is expecting you. Most online calendars let you add that person as an email notification. When the pressure is on you to show up, it makes it harder to let something else get in the way.
Whatever you respond with the most often becomes the expectation by others to reach you. If you respond every second with emails, don’t be surprised if your email inbox is constantly flooded. It’s a viscous cycle. One way to reduce this is to answer questions with phone calls or in-person visits. It’s more effective and it will reduce the email chain.
Add Empowerment to Your Schedule
Sometimes your tasks need to slow down if that means that you then can include others. Helping others grow their skills empowers them to be more confident, more knowledgeable, and actually trust you more. I used the example in the podcast about having your staff take turns pulling the fire alarm and then calling the classes to see if they are outside safely. The added bonus of this is that they then know how to do this if you ever get called to something else – very likely.
Whatever you do, take charge! Know that you can decide what is most important and then do it!