The New Year has arrived, the perfect excuse to reflect on professional practices and make resolutions for improvement for the second half of the school year. We’ve compiled just a few suggestions you can implement to kick the fresh year off!
Resolution #1: Only check your email three times a day (morning, noon, afternoon)
Email is a wonderful way to keep up with your coworkers and provide instant, recordable communication. However, we all know how checking and replying to email can take up a lot of time where, instead of being productive, you’re just answering emails. Recent studies show it can take the average worker 20 minutes to get back into the groove of concentrating on their work after interrupting their stride to answer an email. By only checking and replying to email three times a day, you won’t distract yourself from your major projects and will also be able to knock out a lot of emails at once instead of replying to them one-at-a-time.
Resolution #2: Schedule your meetings for full one-hour increments.
How many people have asked for a “minute of your time?” Almost no one wants to speak with you for just a minute. If you schedule all of your meetings for a full hour starting at the beginning of an hour (for example: 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 4 p.m.), you will always know your exact meeting times (no more “was that meeting at 2:15 or 2:35 or 2:55?”) plus scheduling for an entire hour will ensure you give the person you’re meeting plenty of time to discuss their issue(s). In addition, if a meeting ends early, you now have a little extra time to get work done or even take a moment to breathe a little. By scheduling extra time, you’re more likely to stay on schedule and respect the person with whom you’re meeting next by not being late to their meeting.
Resolution #3: Take time to leave your office.
Sitting in your office all day can cause you to stagnate and become less productive. Go for a walk and get your blood flowing. No kidding! Increased blood flow will actually make your brain work better and improve your workflow! Take a few minutes daily to make face time and just say “hi” to your coworkers. If you manage several buildings, stop by and check in to make sure there aren’t any issues which need your attention. In addition to making your staff feel more appreciated and that you’re part of the team, getting away from your office for a few minutes will rejuvenate you so you can focus on your priority projects when you return.
Resolution #4: Wait 12-24 hours to respond to hot-button messages.
Incendiary emails and voicemails can really get our blood boiling, and we all want to respond immediately. This can result in sending emails we regret. Take a deep breath before replying to an email or returning a phone call. In fact, if you wait at least 12-24 hours before replying, you will be able to think of and consider different approaches to the situation as well as their possible outcomes. When you return to the message after giving yourself some time to think about the situation, you can now reply calmly knowing that you have given thought to your answer that will defuse the situation rather than aggravate it.
Resolution #5: Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Most school districts understand the concept of communicating with their external communities like parents and community groups, but are you talking to internal communities like your teachers and staff? In addition, don’t just talk – ask for feedback from both your internal and external audiences. Your communities can help you know what they think of your district and where you’re headed which will provide you with valuable insights and perspectives you may not have previously considered.
Resolution #6: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
No matter what kind of situation comes your way, chances are you know someone who has encountered and solved the issue. Whenever you need to handle a controversial or complicated problem, reach out to your network and see if someone you know can tell you what pitfalls they may have run into and how they eventually solved the problem. If you can’t find someone to help you, consider reaching out to a consultant firm like edTactics. We have years of experience in education and can help you resolve complicated issues quickly, efficiently, and to the benefit of all participants.
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If you need assistance, please feel free to contact edTactics for free consultations and to discuss your organization’s current and future needs. You can reach us by calling (360) 566-7616 or learn more about us by visiting our website at www.edtactics.com or following our Facebook (www.fb.com/edTactics) and Twitter accounts (www.twitter.com/edTactics).
Art Edgerly & Eric Jacobson