I’m continuing my Time Management for Leaders Series with a post that connects to one of my strengths, Input. In my post Using Your Strengths at Work, I wrote about my Input strength:
“People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information” (p.191, Rath & Conchie). I am a collector of words, ideas, books, articles, and information to be read and learned!
What does this have to do with time management, you might be wondering. I use my collector nature combined with my organization to save items I can share with staff at a later date. Here are some examples.
- Weekly Bulletin – As a principal, I always wrote a weekly bulletin that I emailed out to my staff. As a director who oversaw instructional coaches at all district sites, I also wrote a weekly update to them via a Google doc. I think this ongoing communication is something important all site leaders should consider. This, however, can be time-consuming, especially if you want to include information beyond basic calendar reminders. Here is how I saved time in the long run.
- I created a template for my bulletin that had all the basic categories I would include.
- I would then use the template to create the next 2-3 weeks worth of bulletins, saved as the date of each week.
- I would also create a Ideas draft of the bulletin to hold ideas that weren’t pertinent for the next few weeks, but that I didn’t want to lose.
- My secretary would have access to these drafts and she would add the basic calendar and school reminders for the week. [The topic of how to work with clerical staff to manage your time more efficiently may come up later in this series!]
- Throughout the week, as I was reading blogs, taking pictures around campus, or attending district workshops, I would add information to one of the bulletin drafts. Sometimes I would sit in a meeting and think, this is great information, but not something I need to share with my staff right away. These would go in the Ideas bulletin draft.
- By the time Friday afternoon came around, my bulletin would usually only need me to finish writing my principal message or read it over for editing.
- Creating 2-3 weeks at a time also saves time because you won’t have to spend time trying to find your notes from last week’s meeting to include.
- Tags – I’ve written blogs before about how I flag emails or blogs for follow up, and then again when I discovered Pocket, a cool app that lets you tag and save items you’ve read online. Since then, I’ve continued to refine the way I archive information I think is worth sharing. I create tags that are meaningful to the people I would share information with. For instance, my tags might include: teachers, principals, coaches, math teachers, elementary teachers, etc. Other tags might include topics I want to search for later, such as: innovation, technology integration, authentic learning, personalized learning, coaching, etc. Because I am a voracious reader and I don’t want to forget what I’ve read, tags save me time when I am building a bulletin message, planning a professional development workshop, writing a blog or article, or sharing ideas with colleagues.
Are you a collector of information?
How do you organize and archive resources so they are useful to you?
Time Management for Leaders Series