I am at a new school this year and for the first time do not have a teaching portion to my day. I have been trying to sort out a new organization system that allows me to tackle the daily tasks and longer term tasks in my role. I have tried a few different formats (electronic, paper, combo of both) and ways to capture my tasks. My most recent version is one that seems to be working the best for me – and I judge that strictly on the fact that I haven’t changed using it in 7 weeks.
The system I am currently using is based on a few thoughts from readings and reflections I have done over the past 6 months:
- I need a system that allows me to write stuff down to plan – this way it allows me to sketch out my day
- the system needs to allow me to plan and schedule batch work like walk throughs, emails, calls, …
- the system needs to let me write down notes to capture conversations and things to add to my task list
- blends my calendars, task lists and batching work onto one sheet (printed back to back)
I can’t remember where I borrowed the format for my front page but my template that I use each day looks like this: To Do List I have a stack of these and before I leave at the end of the day I put one in the printer and on the back side of this I print my outlook calendar for the next day using the Tri-Fold option (looks like: Tri-fold Style ) – I set this up to have my schedule of the day in the left column, notes column in the middle, and my schedule of the week in the right column.
My planning has me review my notebook, calendar, task list and call records to plan fill out the tasks, staff to see, students to see, calls and emails boxes. I then plan which teachers I am going to do walk throughs for – my goal each day is to be in 4 spaces during the day and I block out 1 hour of time for this.
Once these parts are set I then flip the page over and using my schedule of the day column I block out my batch work times. I work around my appointments already set in my calendar and block out times for classrooms, calls, office/administration work etc .
As the day goes along I can jot down notes in the notes column, when I do my walk throughs I jot down the block, class and any notes – generally things I liked or questions to ask the teacher later.
What I like about this set up for me is:
- It is flexible that I can put my blocks of batch work in each day based on my existing appointments
- It allows me to easily capture my thoughts or notes throughout the day
- It provides an easy list of items to do during my scheduled times and I have found that my productivity is better when I am focusing on one type of work at a time – the habit of multi-tasking has been hard to break but I am getting there.
I still need to try and figure out a better task capturing system for myself so I don’t miss something, any thoughts?