I openly admit I am easily distracted. And a procrastinator.
It's taken me years to figure out how to manage myself, especially with the many distractions all around us when teaching. There are so many things we need to stay on top of all the time. Planning, copies, data, meetings, grading, communication...how can we do it all?
First, know your style. I'm not a planner type of person (you can read more about that here), so I've had to find other ways to keep myself organized.
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1. Use the alarms in your phone. You know what I love about smartphones? How smart they are. The alarms are one of my favorite ways to give myself regular reminders. Obviously, I have my weekly alarms to wake me up for the gym and work. But I add some in for my classroom- weekly faculty meetings, changing my "Helping Hands," and joining in on some IG fun with #feetupfriday (started by my friend Amy @theuniqueclassroom). When I know there's something that I'm going to have to do every week on a certain day- like when I have that student and I need to email his parents once a week with an update. Or if I start sending out weekly "happy notes" to my students- I add it to the alarms so I remember to hand them out. If it's something farther in the future, I add it to my calendar and set two alarms- one the day of the event, and one at least a day before.
|Yes, I also use it to remind me to clean out my cat litter every Monday. #noshame|
2. Ask a student to remind you about something. Students love to tell you what to do. They love to be asked to be responsible. They can remind you about handing out papers, or that it's time to go for class pictures, to vote on your whole class reward, or to send an absent student's work to their siblings classroom at the end of the day. Once you get to know your students, you know which ones to ask to remind you about random things.
|I love that it tells me to go back to work!|
The app that I really like to use is the Forest app. It allows me to set the time and also reminds me not to check my phone! Every time I manage to stay focused, a tree is planted in my "forest." Eventually I build enough trees to plant an actual tree.
This last one is probably the most important one, because it sets to tone for the next day.
4. Before you leave, write yourself a to do list. There are a million things we need to do daily- meetings, paperwork, emails, copying, planning, and re-planning. As an easily distracted person, I feel pulled in every direction. Sometimes in the middle of doing one thing, I find another thing that I want to do. I end up with lists and Post-its everywhere! But each day before I leave, I write a Post-it list that reminds me about what I need to. I stick this list in the middle of my desk and I know to look for it as soon as I arrive in the morning. Because, let's face it, I'm not a morning person, so without a list, I'm quite lost.
|These tags loop around purse or teacher bag handles easily.|
5. Know yourself. You have to learn your style of work and organization. Use lists, alarms, students, and any other way of reminding yourself if it works FOR YOU. One of my co-workers puts Post It Reminder Tags on her purse. Another uses her email to set reminders for meetings so the notifications pop up daily. My grade partner types her list into her lesson plans ahead of time. It took me a little while (and reading lots of people's ideas!) to develop my own systems for organizing myself.
What's your favorite way to organize and keep track of your teacher tasks?
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