17 November 2015

...'To Do' Lists

To do lists don't work. I certainly don't recall ever getting everything on a to do list actually done.  This is because they don't help us to be more productive, or more efficient in what we do and when we do it.  Instead they serve to stoke anxiety levels by reminding us of how many things we haven't done.  In fact, I'm going to refer to them as haven't done lists from now on.

But they're not what this post it about.  Several years ago I stopped using to do lists for good, in favour of a new way of organising my time, which was as quick, and more effective.  And here it is...

The Weekly Work Planner

This document is designed with teachers in mind.  It serves to help you to plan - and to get done - your numerous daily and weekly tasks.  It allows you to organise and manage your routines, and to integrate with them the often unexpected, miscellaneous tasks which happen to fall onto your desk.
Here's how it works.  Simply add your tasks into the appropriate boxes.  If you're setting up a reading corner on Monday morning, write that into the Monday morning box.  If you've got a team planning meeting after school on Wednesday, then add 'Team Planning Meeting' into Wednesday's after school box.  If (by some miraculous serving of good fortune) you've found time to go out and socialise midweek, then note that in the appropriate evening box. 

Continue by adding the jobs you know you need to get done throughout the week. Also, it helps to indicate where you're either unable or unwilling to take on more jobs - during designated break or lunchtime duties, or Friday evening perhaps...

Very quickly you'll be able to see where you will be busiest, and where you might have time to spare.  But - and this is possibly the most valuable aspect of this work planner - when a box is full, it's full.  It suggests that you can't do any more work at that time.  If something urgent comes up, the work planner can help you to re-evaluate the importance of each task and, as appropriate, redistribute your jobs for that week.

Finally, the planner can be especially helpful if you're approached to take on extra work or more responsibilities.  (You know what they say, 'If you want something done, give it to a busy person!')  If someone asks you to do something for them, your work planner will indicate whether and when you'll be able to do it.  If you're unable to accept their kind offer it's then easy to say 'no, because I'm too busy' or 'yes but it'll have to wait 'til...'  A great way of developing your assertiveness when your own time is concerned.

The Weekly Work Planner can be downloaded in MS Word & .pdf versions here: Weekly_Work_Planner.pdf
(Broken links? Report it using the 'Contact Me...' box in the sidebar.)
References & Recommended Reading

Ayres, D. (2013) Managing Pressure. Available at: http://danieljayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/managing-pressure.html

Ayres, D. (2013) Beating Stress. Available at: http://danieljayres.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/beating-stress.html

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Regards, DJA