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Time Management

Learning time management: 9 best techniques to get you started

Time management can be tricky in a busy school environment. The following techniques are key to achieving a productive day at work and managing copious amounts of workloads in a time frame.

It is extremely important, regardless of whether you are a teacher, an admin staff member or the principal, to incorporate time management and these 9 tips and tricks into your daily work routine in order to stay productive and efficient in those crucial hours of your day.

1.       Make lists.

Lists are extremely helpful when mastering time management. Don’t rely on your memory, that is already full as is, especially when running a class of 30 students or running a school for that matter, so grab a piece of paper and jot down all the tasks you are aiming to complete whether it be over the course of a day, week or month, however, prioritise them by importance and urgency to avoid wasting time on tasks that are not as important as others.

2.       Do the most important tasks first.

Following on from the point made above, make sure to recognise the crucial and urgent tasks are done first followed on by less urgent tasks to avoid spending time on things that you in fact have time to work on.

3.       Stick to a schedule.

Make a schedule for the day, week or month of all tasks and activities you are wanting to complete or goals you would like to achieve. Ensure you use time slots in the schedule allowing you to stay on top of tasks, stay focused and work efficiently. Time slots also avoid multitasking happening too often, as it can cause confusion and lead to jobs being half completed or not completed at all. It is important to allow yourself break times in-between tasks to regain focus and re-energise yourself for what is ahead.

4.       Know what things to say “no” to.

Following on from the point made above, it is important to know what tasks to say no to, specifically to avoid multitasking occurring too often. It is important to recognise the most important tasks on the list first and knock them off before starting up new ones.

5.       Group similar tasks together.

If there is a whole bunch of tasks that are similar, such as making various phone calls to parents or general admin work, batch them together and work continuously through them while you are in “the zone” to avoid starting a task then starting up a completely different tasks and then going back to another task that was like the previous one.

6.       Keep staff meetings brief.

Ensure that staff meetings are productive and efficient yet kept brief and focused, ensuring all staff members are on the same page, however, not wasting anybody’s time.

7.       Eliminate distractions.

Immerse yourself in the tasks of today and steer clear from the weakening distractions of staff room gossip and mobile devices. Background music is always good to create some ambience in the school office. Also, a comfy chair to support the long hours of work to be done and the various meetings with parents.

8.       Make use of idle time.

When you have a spare moment to take a break, make use of this time with doing something productive such as reading a book, listening to a podcast, catching up with staff members in the staff room or catching some vitamin D out in the playground while kids circle you playing tip. It is important to manage mental health as well as productivity.

9.       Keep a time sheet.

Keep track of the time you have spent on each task, this will help get an understanding of how long you are spending on certain tasks and how much time you are wasting on tasks that should not be given so much attention. This can help alter how you address tasks the next day to make each day more productive than the last.

10.   Make sure you take a break!

Constantly working can take a toll on your cognition, resulting in mental fatigue. Making sure you are taking some time to have your own recess and lunch will improve your concentration and help you focus better. You will be able to spot mistakes or problems much easier as a result.

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