Getting work done requires strategic, intentional thinking, not merely responding to everything that’s brought to your attention in the order it arrives. That approach leaves you reacting to the action, not leading it.

What are the most important things you should be doing in your job?

Are you doing those things? What are you doing that’s keeping you from doing them? On any given day, can you answer this question: what is my top priority for the day?

You Can’t DO everything; so do the most important things!

What can go wrong when you try to do it all? Well, you will expend all of your energy and be short on it when you need it for something important. And, trying to do EVERYTHING often keeps you from getting to some things that ONLY you can do.


  • You are the ONLY Principal of your school, so there are things that are made better by the strength of that position. For example, anyone can give cold bottles of water to the bus drivers at the end of the day to thank them for their work. Only the PRINCIPAL can do them as the official representative of the school. (You don’t have to go buy the water, ice it down or even get the cooler to the bus lane; others can and should do that. Your role in this show is the “mayor” of your school, so you and every one around you do the school’s work best when you play the roles you’re cast in.)
  • Your words to a faculty and staff member carry a different weight than those same words you shared when you were the AP or instructional coach. It increases the confidence and the commitment of your teachers when you’re in their rooms, not just for evaluation’s sake, but to see them perform their craft, thank them for their work, and offer your appreciation in a short note.
  • As the principal, you have positional influence with students and their parents. If you spend time with them, make a connection, and develop a relationship? You can also have personal influence to pair with your position and you can make a significant difference with that combo. The cost? You have to move this to the “DO” list instead of sadly running out of time and ending up with this on the “DIDN’T GET TO” list.

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