Time Management: Not Business as Usual: To Work Smarter, Administrators Need to Define Their Focus and Make Time Management a Priority

Article excerpt

Americans are working harder than ever. The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2006 shows a 3.4 percent increase in productivity over the previous quarter. While this is good news for the bottom line, it also means that we are working ourselves to the bone. This is certainly true for educators who have assumed a greater workload while facing dwindling resources. We are easy prey for time bandits, interruptions and distractions. We dream of empty in boxes, dinner with the family and two-day weekends. How can we turn these dreams into reality?

We have to begin to work smarter, not harder. This is the resounding message from recent titles by time management gurus. Busy educators should take the following key points to heart:

* Clarify the key tasks of your position and define your focus

* Make time management a priority and take time to manage your time.

Change Your Behavior

Setting Leadership Priorities: What's Necessary, What's Nice, and What's Got to Go by Suzette Lovely (Corwin Press, 2006) is a handy reference for district and school site administrators who wish to take control of their hectic schedules. Lovely makes it clear that a critical first step for school administrators is to take time to manage time. She contends that you have to recognize it is within your control to change your behavior. It is possible to become more productive while keeping a healthy balance in life.

You can only do this when you clarify your role in accomplishing the mission of your school or organization. When you identify this bottom line, you can weed out distractions. For example, Lovely says principals in high performing schools pay far more attention to learning-based activities. In the chapter, Business as Unusual, the author advocates the 80/20 rule--80 percent of your reward comes from 20 percent of your effort--to devote quality time to those tasks that reap the biggest reward.

Getting Things Done

David Allen is a noted productivity expert. He says our stress comes not from having too much to do, but from not getting things done. …