“Time Management” is a tricky topic for professional development, because it’s rife with knowing-doing gaps.
Ever play Super Mario Brothers? You know where the pits are. All you have to do is avoid them. Run when you need to, jump when you need to, and Mario lives.
With time management, everyone knows about the tools, and even how to use them (the basic features, if not the more advanced features of digital calendars).
But professional development isn’t about knowledge; it’s about practice. We get no credit for being aware of best practices; it’s only implementing them that counts.
And we know this, yet—like a kid who keeps letting Mario fall to his pixelated death—we often fail to make it across the knowing-doing gaps.
What are some of these pitfalls, and how can we avoid them?
Here are two that I’ve experienced, and that I see all the time in schools.
Pen vs. Pencil
There’s a reason we say “pencil me in” rather than “pen me in” or “permanent marker me in.” We know our schedules are subject to change.
So why do we write things on our calendars, but not update those appointments when they change?
I recently had a major schedule conflict because a “maybe” appointment had turned into a definite appointment, and I didn’t note the change on my shared calendar. At the same time, the same thing happened to my colleague. This meant we couldn’t coordinate our schedules, and we had to scramble to adjust our plans.
This was totally avoidable because our shared calendars communicate our real-time availability…if we keep them updated.
Defiance and Unrealistic Plans
Have you ever hired a personal trainer, shown up for your gym session, then refused to follow your trainer’s directions?
We know it’s not smart to burn a $60/hour session with a trainer.
So why do we burn our equally valuable time by making plans for how we’ll spend the day, then not following them?
Often, it’s because those plans are unrealistic to begin with.
If I tell my trainer I want to run ten miles tomorrow, yet this is my first time off the couch in weeks, I’m going to have trouble following the plan.
Likewise, if you schedule 6 hours for “work on observation reports” during the school day on Friday, you’re going to get interrupted. That’s the job, and you have to plan for it realistically.
When you plan realistically, the only thing keeping you from following the plan is discipline—and that’s something you can control.
Today is the last day to join the High-Performance Instructional Leadership Network and get Upgrading Your Calendar and Streamlining Your Meetings for free. December can be your first paid month.
In this workshop, we’ll explore more of the common pitfalls—the knowing-doing gaps—school leaders experience in managing their schedules. You’ll learn how to get the most out of your calendar tools, whether you should switch to better tools, and even how to ensure that your meetings are more productive.
More urgently, registration for the Network closes indefinitely this Friday, and I have a bunch of workshops that will be going in the “Disney Vault” for up to a year.
So if you’ve been thinking about it, take another look, and I hope you’ll join my by this Friday, November 22 at midnight Central time.