As you begin preparing for the rapidly approaching school year, we felt you might appreciate some tips for increasing your productivity during the busy times ahead. Here are six tips that we’ve found which help us stay efficient and productive during our work days:
Only check your email three times a day (morning, noon, afternoon).
Checking and replying to email can take up a lot of time where, instead of being productive, you’re just answering emails. In addition, you may be prioritizing unimportant tasks above those that matter more to getting work done. Instead of replying to an email the instant it arrives, only check and reply to your emails three times a day. By doing this, 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.
Schedule your meetings for full one-hour increments.
How many people have asked for a “minute of your time?” Almost no one only 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.), then you’ll always know your exact meeting times, plus scheduling for an entire hour will ensure you give the person you’re meeting plenty of time to discuss their issue. In addition, if a meeting ends early, you now have a little extra time to get work done or 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.
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. Take a few minutes daily to make face time and just say “hi” to your employees. If you have 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.
Wait 12-24 hours to respond to hot-button messages.
Incendiary emails and voicemails can really get our blood boiling, and we will often want to respond immediately. 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, you can now reply calmly knowing that you have given thought to your answer that will defuse the situation rather than aggravate it.
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.
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.
Try out these suggestions and let us know how they work for you! Do you have other tips? Leave a comment or send us an email.
We wish you an exciting and productive school year, and we look forward to hearing about all the great student learning taking place!
Art Edgerly & Eric Jacobson
Co-Founders of edTactics