Well, I don’t know about you all, but that first week back felt like about 100 years. Especially Wednesday when I was at school for 11 hours. That day was not a joke.
I mentioned in my January Currently that I’m really working hard to find balance in 2015. It’s really important to me to get better at working smarter, not harder, this year and, for me, part of working smarter is being organized. I also mentioned in my January Currently that I finally finished reading the book The Together Teacher, which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone looking for tangible organization strategies. The author goes through literally every single imaginable aspect of organization–calendar, checking emails, managing papers, managing projects, tracking to-dos and projects. I mean, there was honestly a point where I thought to myself, “what else can we REALLY talk about organizing?!”, but it really was a super helpful book.
I’m here today to share with you one of the most central tenets of The Together Teacher, which they call Weekly Round-Up. (I call it Getting My Act Together So I Can Actually Spend Time with The Hubs and The Pup time.) When I do my Weekly Round-Up, I make sure to have my planner, my phone, and my laptop. It’s likely you’ll want similar things, but maybe you don’t share my affinity for physical planners and you’ll only need electronic items. I generally sit on my couch to do this, but maybe you’re a table or desk sitter? In any case, it’s likely to take you probably 20 or so minutes when you start. That’s what I’m currently averaging, but it’s really worth it in the time I make up throughout the week. So once I have all my materials here’s what I do.
- Cross check my calendar app on my phone with my physical planner and make sure that everything I have on one calendar is on the other. (Sometimes when I’m on the go I add events/meetings/commitments via my calendar app and I forget to write it on my actual calendar. Hence, the round up.) I’ll also take this time to take a quick glance through my email to make sure that I’m not missing any one time events that should be on my calendar.
- After my calendar app and my physical calendar match, I start typing into my week at a glance. There are lots of different formats that this can take; I’ve included a picture of how mine looks below, but really whatever works for you. Your week at a glance should show the time you’re teaching and when you’re not, as well as any meetings you have and commitments outside of school–even something as mundane as going to the gym should be on your week at a glance.
Add in any upcoming events (from the next 7-10 days) that you’ll need to keep at the top of your mind this week. For me, I wanted to remember to plan my husband’s birthday shenanigans and an alumnae board meeting I had this coming week. My personal favorite feature of this week at a glance format is that the top few boxes are for your priorities of the week and there’s a section for classroom, school, and personal priorities.
The idea is that after you finish this round up you’ll have a really clear picture of what time you have free this week, and what your obligations are. And then you add this sheet to your clipboard/binder/organizer and you keep it with you everywhere you go. In the book, they say you should even take it when you walk to the bathroom in case you run into someone who wants to talk to you. Personally, that’s a little much for me. And if I’m going to the bathroom during the school day I’m generally running like a madwoman there and back. Like I said, this takes a bit of time (20-30 minutes), but I have to say that so far it’s been really helpful and I’m definitely into it.
What do you do to stay organized?
Have a great week! Stay warm!