My Number One Teacher Time Saver: Time Blocking
As an educator, EdTech consultant, and now a mom, I am always been on the lookout for ways to stay organized and save time in my daily work. One tool that I didn't used to use, but has been invaluable to me in this regard, is my planner.
Now, I'm not talking your standard bought from Barnes and Noble planner, those (while admittedly super cute) end up on my book shelf half empty and useless at the end of the year. While juggling my three (or more) jobs, I realized I had such precious little extra time, and I had to use what I had as efficiently as possible. This led to a bit of an obsession in learning about time-organization methods and after a few years of trial and error, I created a custom teacher planner that not only met all my needs, but was designed to save me time.
The technique that I have found most useful when using my planner is called "time blocking." This is the practice of dividing your day into blocks of time, and assigning specific tasks or activities to each block. This method is based on the idea that we are most productive when we focus on one task at a time, rather than trying to multitask. The technique was used by Benjamin Franklin, who was known for his productivity and efficiency. He would schedule his day into blocks of time, and assign specific tasks to each block. This allowed him to focus on one task at a time, and complete it more efficiently. Click here for a free download of my Time Blocking planner page.
Another technique that I have found helpful when using a planner is the "Important Urgent Matrix." This is a tool that helps you to prioritize your tasks and make decisions. It was developed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who used it to manage his time effectively. The matrix has four quadrants: important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent. By placing tasks into the appropriate quadrant, you can prioritize what is most important and urgent, and make decisions accordingly.
Finally, an important element I added to my planner was "Intention Setting." It's the practice of choosing a word or phrase each day that represents the focus for that day. This word can be a reminder of a goal, an attitude, or a value that is important to you. It helps to stay focus on what's important and intentional in your actions, words and thoughts. Although less about saving time, this simple practice can have a powerful impact on the way you approach your day, and it helps to prioritize and align your actions with your values and goals.
Both time blocking, Important Urgent matrix and Intention setting have helped me to manage my time more effectively, and to stay organized. I have found since using my planner, I am able to complete my tasks more efficiently and with less stress and I feel fulfilled and accomplished by the end of the day. I never find myself wondering "what did I do with my time today?" anymore. It is a simple and effective tool that can make a big difference in your productivity and overall well-being.
Custom Teacher Planner
My custom planner includes 31 pages with variations to meet the needs of teachers in all grade levels and content areas. There are five elegant designs to choose from in several colors and can be purchased on my site and Teachers Pay Teachers. If you want to try it out first, download my Time Blocking planner page for free!
Need more time saving strategies? Check out my post on If-Then Adventure Stories for an example for Google's Applied Digital Skills, plug-and-play video lessons.