When you are a principal or an assistant principal, you are always facing the challenge of time. Sometimes the day runs you instead of you running the day. You can work like crazy all day long, never sit down, only go to the restroom once, eat lunch at 2:00 PM and wonder at the end of the day what you actually did all day! Your days can be busy but it still can seem like you have much left to do.
Then, you make the terrible decision to take it home with you, which is now cutting into your family time, your decompression time, your “me” time, and other things that research shows us are valuable for you as the leader.
If you do this often enough for long enough, you become what we like to call in the business “burned out.”
Because of the busyness, we often wish we had more time. OK. Let’s imagine. Visualize. More time. What would you actually do with it if you had more time?
Let’s get specific. Please look below and determine what you would differently if you had the time listed below on a typical basis. (For most every day, some emergency days not withstanding)
What would you do with: 15 extra minutes each day? 30 extra minutes each day? 45 extra minutes each day? 60 extra minutes each day?
Please think about what you would do if you had each of those allotments of time on a daily (regular) basis. Now write them down somewhere: in a journal, in the notes section of your iPhoned, anywhere you can find them readily at another time.
What did you decide to do with this extra time? Would you spend it with other people? Would you get caught up on paper work? Did it change much as you moved from one time segment to another? Can you use a full extra 60 minutes each day or is that too much? (Laughter)
Ultimately, could you get a lot more done if you had 60 additional minutes each day? I’ll bet you can quickly say ‘yes’ to that !
So, here’s the truth: you can pull a rabbit out of your hat. You can create up to 60 extra minutes each day and you can accomplish more by working smarter instead of longer. Interested? Here’s how it works. There are a few steps. Please check them out below:
- You already HAVE 60 minutes waiting for you every day if you’ll only be the leader you can be and make it happen. Case in point: if the superintendents asked (!) you to meet for an hour every day, would you do it? Of course you would! You would figure out a way to make it work and you’d be there every day as assigned. If that is true (it is) then that means that you could make 60 minutes for something else if you wanted to (and you should).
- School leaders lose time in transition just like everyone else. It’s when you leave your time unprotected and stop and start as often as a rainy day at NASCAR. When you do this, your production goes down and you literally are wasting time. Time lost to transition during the day is much more than you consider. Which leads to number three…
- If you want 60 extra minutes, plan for 60 extra minutes. That’s about as simple as it can get, but it really is that simple. While I was principal, I taught a class every day. That one class was great fun for me, but it also was an example that if I make something into a priority, I’m much more likely to do it and do it long-term.
- Plan some time each day to think. They do pay you to think. You should take 15-20 minutes (of your 60 extra minutes a day) and devote it to… thinking. Ever wonder why so many good ideas are said to come while taking a shower? The magic isn’t in the water; the magic is taking time to think. Mornings are best to do this, also. Just some reserved time to contemplate, review, strategize and plan will end up creating minutes for you on the other end by being more efficient.
- Take time each day to lighten your load through the art of delegation. If you aren’t effectively utilizing your clerical staff, shame on you. That’s what they’re there for! Train them to do more and they’ll take it and run with it. Delegation is the key for the school leader to be able to create time.
In short, if you want to have more time, take more time. It’s really that simple and can be a part of a more effective, efficient, and happier you!
More on time on another blog post later.