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Monday, October 5, 1998
It goes something like "if it can be done in less than two minutes, do it now". Maybe this works well in the business world, but when you've got a room full of third graders tugging at your sleeve, even walking to the other side of the room can be a major problem.
If you are wondering how you managed to forget to return that important form to the office yesterday, you don't need a better brain. You need a better system. Here's what some of our readers are doing:
Put It Where The Sun Does Shine
Best intentions get you nowhere when there a dozen distractions going on, which is why we make that mental note to "send home permission slips" then forget it minutes later. Find a place to put all the notes that need to be looked at and dealt with today. This could be an in-basket or a three-ring binder with pocket folders inside. The important things is to use it only for your pressing "to do" items. Prioritize or do triage to get everything sorted properly. And if Billy's confiscated magazine goes on the pile, the rest is history.
Make a Date with Yourself
The second key element of getting things done is taking the time to go through the stack of things each and every day, hopefully at a prearranged time. Taking the pile home to do isn't the same as getting it done on time in the first place.
Know When to Say No
Teaching has to be one of the hardest professions for keeping in touch with the outside world, even when that world is just down the hall. Once that final bell rings, there are colleagues to talk with, parents who drop in, a dozen fires to put out, and phone calls to return (meaning yet another trip to the office or lounge). That's why it can be so hard to find five spare minutes to go over those important papers in your in-box. Get in a routine of going over your paperwork at a preset time, and over time your other teachers will get the message that you desperately need those five minutes, then you'll be free to relax. Even resort to putting a note on your door if you must.
We Are Only Human
Finally, we all must admit that sometimes we just don't get it done. Will the world come to an end? Probably not, but if you have to cancel the field trip because you forgot to send home the permission slips, the fallout might be fairly painful. Forgetting an important thing doesn't happen because we are evil; we just need to get a reorganize our system to make sure things happen the way they should. Happy Planning.
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