Sunday, May 29, 2016

7 Time Savers for Innovative Educators

The one thing all innovative educators need is more time. That’s why I stopped and read this Fast Company article from my Twitter feed: “Seven Effective Shortcuts To A More Productive Workday.” Rather than reading the whole article, I’ll save you time and share some ways this can be applied to the busy lives of innovative educators.

1. KEEP MEETINGS SHORT
  • Shave time to save time: Consider shaving off ten minutes from staff/team meetings.
  • Stand up:  Whether in class delivering a lesson or in a staff meeting, mix it up and stand up for a more productive experience. Consider scanning Craigslist and garage sales for high top tables that students can stand at so that classrooms are more fun and healthy places to learn.
2. LET STUFF SLIDE
  • Avoid perfectionism: Figure out when you can settle for "good enough."
3. LIMIT YOUR EMAIL TIME
  • Forms:  My team made a form that helps reduce our email time. It is in my auto-reply and answers the most common questions or points people to resources or individuals who can help them. You can see it here https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2602078/NYCSchoolsTechSupport.  What are your most common emails or requests?  Making your own form may save you lots of time.
  • Inbox organizer: Use a tool like Google Inbox. It helps prioritize, organize, and sort emails more effectively. It has suggested reply text and a real undo to retract messages sent in error.
  • Unsubscribe: Sounds obvious, but can be time consuming. Try Unroll.me.  I use it and love it.  It bulk unsubscribes, keeps those you want in your inbox, and rolls up the rest. Read more here.
4. MAKE QUICKER CALLS
  • Schedule calls: Calls out of the blue are distracting, often unnecessary, and can waste time. Don’t multi-task during the call so you can stay focused and finish on time. Calls scheduled right before lunch or end of day are most likely to end on time.  
  • Google Voicemail: Use Google Voice for voicemail that you can listen at any time, forward, and is translated to text.  It’s like your own personal secretary. Read more here.  

5. TIGHTEN YOUR SCHEDULE

  • Schedule personal time: If you use a calendar in your job, make sure to block time off on days when you can’t stay late or come in early so no one thinks you're free and tries to book you.

6. BECOME A MORE HANDS-OFF MANAGER

  • Schedule checkins: Schedule checkins rather than have an open door when it comes to staff, students, or families. This will enable you to focus on the work at hand, not have any surprises and have a more productive day. Set up a system for others to secure time with you. Google Calendar appointment slots is a great tool for doing this.
  • Help others help themselves: Encourage staff, students, parents to find out answers on their own.  You can do this by creating an FAQ, an online community, or create a list of individuals who have expertise in various areas who can answer questions and/or provide support.

7. DO MORE PAIN-FREE NETWORKING

  • Network with intention:  Hitting an event with others that you want to meet? Don’t leave it to chance.  Schedule a few 2-minute face-to-face checkins. This will pack a more powerful punch then randomly running into folks and make things less awkward as they can be in such events.  
  • Get social: Use online communities to have effective networking. Here's how: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2015/02/5-ways-to-use-social-media-as-time.html.


So what do you think? Do you employ some of these time savers? Do you have others not shared here?  Which might you give a try?  

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