Tag Archives: productivity

Have you got a minute?

So…..  It’s been a while between blog post and, as always, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last wrote.

The short story is that I switched schools (again!) mid way through last year to take on an Acting Assistant Principal role and at the beginning of term 2 this year, I was successful in obtaining the substantive role.

The question I have been asked the most often is along the lines of if I like the change; if I prefer one role over the other or if I miss the classroom. I find this a really difficult question to answer as the work and the role is so different.

One of the biggest challenges has been managing my time. As a classroom teacher in a primary school environment, my day followed a fairly standard routine. Reading would happen in the morning, Maths would be after recess….

Even as a leading teacher, I would make a list of tasks and jobs I would want to get done that day, find a space to work and get them done.

Switching into the Assistant Principal role, this recent video in the Leadership Scenarios series from AITSL really resonated with me.

So much of my work is reactionary.

“This teacher has called in sick.”

“The pipe inside the toilet has burst.”

“This parent wants to talk about an issue.”

I used to be a big believer in having an ‘open-door’ policy; that being accessible was important in building a sense of trust. But I am beginning to shift in my thinking towards this and
reconsider what this may look like practically.

I’m also conscious that often when I make an appointment, I get interrupted with a student issue or something that needs immediate attention. This seems disrespectful to the person who has set aside time to see me.

I also find that my calendar gets full with meetings. There are some days where I can bounce from meeting to meeting to meeting, often without a break in between. I feel like I walk out with my head full,

E-mail and incoming paperwork also takes a huge chunk of time. I’m a big fan of David Allen’s work around Getting Things Done but I seem to spend the bulk of my time getting ‘in to empty’.

I don’t have time at the moment for ‘deep work’; for working on tasks and projects that are meaningful and will drive school improvement.

So…. What am I doing to fix it?

I’ve started to track my work each day by making note of the time I start something and when I finish it.  It was interesting to reflect on the number of ‘interuptions’ to my work and the length of time it took to complete some tasks. A report that I started at 9am didn’t get finished until 3pm simply due to other tasks that interupted the work flow. I have a feeling that most of my day is spent doing administrative tasks and responding to student behaviour and welfare issues but I want to get some qualitative data that supports this. (I’m working on a seperate blog post that explains my workflow for this)

I’ve also been tracking my energy levels throughout the day. Each time I start a new task, I give myself a score between 1-5. 3 is a good average score; anything above and I am in the zone. Anything below a 3 means my focus and attention is fading fast.

I’ve also made a point of tracking small gratitudes each day as it’s often so easy to get caught up in the administrative side of things. Most of them relate to students who have made
achievements or staff who have worked with students to create these achievements.

Finally, I’ve recently signed up for leadership coaching and am keen to work with my new coach on how I can make improvements in this area.

Hopefully I’ll have more to share with you as I go through this process of change and learning… when I get a minute!

Reading on the web: Managing the good stuff

I love reading and surfing the web from my iPad. It has become somewhat part of my morning routine now that over a good cup of coffee I will read my email, check Facebook and Twitter and go through the blogs I have subscribed to on Google reader.

As I go about doing this, I’ll often find a good link on Twitter or a great blog post with links that takes me to a great new site or a new blog or details of a book I’d like to read or video I’d like to watch later….

Without wanting to get too sidetracked, I want to “put it somewhere” to follow it up… Eg: buy that book, read the article again, watch that video, search for more information….

So, what do you do with it ?

Lately I’ve been emailing the link to myself, but have noticed that things get lost and it just clogs up my inbox amongst other messages. I also favorite tweets and star Google reader items, but it seems that things are all over the place. I’m sure there’s a better way to put it all in one place, but I’m yet to discover what it is…..

So, how do you manage your reading on the web ?

PD through podcasts

So mabye I’m a little late in jumping on the bandwagon, but I’ve discovered podcasts.

Photo created by Bent Kure Photo under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Photo created by Bent Kure Photo under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ve been listening so far to the Ed Tech Crew with Tony Richards and Darrel Branson and R U Connected with Jenny Ashby and Lois Smethurst. I’ve been listening to them each morning and afternoon as I drive to and from work and been listening as I do the ironing (a task I hate but made so much more enjoyable as I listen to each of these episodes). I’ve loved learning about new sites and resources and using them as an opportunity to liven tasks that I’d otherwise seen as boring or as a chance to be more productive at a time when I’m usually not.

As a ‘noob‘ though, what I’m wondering though is how do others manage their podcast subscriptions ? Is there a better way of managing\subscribing to podcats ? At the moment, I download episodes on my iPhone whilst I’m out and about. Is there a way that they can be ‘magically’ sent to my phone ? Is there a way to be notified that a new podcast is available ? What I’ve also noticed that if I am downloading a podcast I can’t go back listen to one whilst that one is downloading…. Where do they disappear to ?

What tips would you offer someone new to using podcasts ?
What resources could give me more information ?
How do you manage your podcasts ? What resources do you use ?
What other podcasts are you listening to ?