Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Five Time Management Tips for School Leaders

Time Management Strategies

"Basic Idea: Most of our work isn’t actually based on time – it’s based on the projects and tasks that need to be done."

-Charlie Gilkey, on his blog

I read the statement above on Charlie's blog, Productive Flourishing, and thought, "Bingo!" It's exactly how I think about time. As a high school administrator, there are a lot of tasks that have to be done during a week. In this post, I hope to share some of my tips on how I get things done in my business and personal life.

1. Everything goes in a digital calendar. What are some things I put on my calendar? My daughters' athletic schedules, including practices. I put all meetings with teachers, parents, and other staff, even the "Hey, let's chat this week about that idea you had" meetings. For example, I schedule time to visit classrooms in the building. This is a priority, so if a parent or teacher wants a meeting, I schedule around visiting classrooms.

2. Touch a piece of paper only once. This is one of the toughest, both with real paper and virtual paper (email). I try to take action on a piece of paper when it crosses my desk (or computer) to prevent a backlog of items needing action. Once I deal with it, I toss it. 

3. Keep a short, High-Priority (HP) To-Do list in visible sight. I keep a sticky-note with a few HP items on my desk each day. These are things that must be done by the end of the day, and I keep them on my desk so that they are a constant reminder to follow-up, act, or complete. At the end of the day, I should be able to toss out the sticky-note.

4. Do your chores first. This time-management technique I learned from my mom. Growing up, I learned to do my chores first, then I could play or do whatever I wanted. Now, I use this principle in my work. I do the stuff I don't want to do first, then I get to do the things I really like to do that may not be productive.

5. Keep the main thing the main thing. It's easy to do things at work that aren't all that important but are easy to do so that something can get crossed off the long daily to-do list. Keeping the vision and mission as the driving force for what gets done each day ensures that what's most important gets done. 

Are there days when something gets overlooked? Are there days when everything doesn't get done? Absolutely. But using the five strategies above help me keep those days to a minimum. 

Do you use any of these time-management strategies? Which one is your favorite?


  1. I definitely use the calendar, the to-do list, and chores first. I struggle with the "touch paper only once" strategy.

  2. I struggle with that one, too, Eileen! Especially if I'm reading email on my phone while I'm out in the building. Sometimes I think I need to get back to my desk for something to take care of it, so the email just sits in my inbox. It's always a work in progress. :)

  3. With the advanced technology, the time management as well should make great sense in terms of a proper management. As per my knowledge time tracking and management should be properly drove out through the automated tools that makes great sense.

    For simple and strategic moment I have preferred to implement cloud based time tracking software which has a terrific value in terms of time management. Currently I am using time tracking software from Replicon - . Just try out the same. Its awesome in the process.

  4. Good stuff. No one has a clue outside our field how hectic and fast we
    Must move and prioritize... Organized chaos and keeping one s head above water simple as that thanks for the share!

  5. Really impressive! Management tips are quite beneficial for us, it helps to develop our skills to manage things and work in a systematic way so that we can get positive outcomes. In professional also, we learn some basic things about how to manage our works and how to get a better result through it, so we should follow some important points from here regarding how to get good management skills. Thanks for this wonderful post.