I recently asked the MsHouser community of coaches, teachers, and administrators to share their Top Planning Tips for staying on top of things as we head into a new school year. And you guys really came through with some priceless wisdom and tips! Go ahead and take a look for yourself.
When you’re done, I would love to hear a top planning tip for the new school year from you, in the comments!
1. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place! Organization is the key and a huge time waster for me is hunting and gathering.”
2. “Only touch papers once. Put them in their place when you get them instead of creating a big pile to file later.”
3. “Prioritize to stay organized! Identifying what is most important helps to reduce spending too much time on unimportant tasks that can interfere with those that can yield the most results.”
4. “Stay focused! Things always pop in your head while planning. Keep a sheet of paper near you for quick notes to reference to later and then get back to the task at hand.”
5. “Always plan with the end in mind…and realize that the end will always change.”
6. “Keep track of the teachers you are working with in multiple ways…one way I do this is to have a list of my teachers and I have a code I use to track our work! This is a quick at a glance view that helps me to see the big picture!”
7. “This is going to be my first year as a coach, but I already know MY top tip will be to set realistic expectations of myself! I won’t have all the answers in August but I can’t wait to learn!”
8. “I keep my action list on a small whiteboard above my desk. This way I see it every time I have down time and my admin can add to it as well as me.”
9. “I am a big believer in writing it down or taking care of it NOW! Simple choices to act on information can keep us from overlooking something important.”
10. “Do a daily priority list in the first 10 minutes of your working day.”
11. “I email all the teachers my coaching schedule for the week. I make a color coded table differentiating grade level, content, district level work, etc. Always be where you say you will be and do what you say you will do.”
12. “Stay organized so it doesn’t back up on you and cause you to get overwhelmed!”
13. “Set up and actually USE a planner!”
14. “Bring your calendar with you to every meeting and schedule the next meeting with that person/group before you leave that room.”
15. “Use the color coding feature on Google Calendar to get a quick sense of the shape of your week!”
16. “Revise your todo list every afternoon and clear off your work spaces before you leave work.”
17. “I love the idea of David Allen’s about getting it all down, listing ‘projects’ and then the ‘next’ actions. I found this eases a lot of stress and the way forward becomes clear.”
18. “My top tip? To pencil in an hour on Fridays or Monday morning to plan the week ahead.”
19. “Have everything planned and ready for the next day. The plan may change but at least you have an idea of how your day will go.”
20. “Start as you intend to finish. I tend to have an explosion of ideas during the summer, but deciding on a few goals for the year keeps me focused. Setting up a planner now, will help to organize before the craziness of the new year begins.”
21. “Take time each day to reflect. It is a critical part of the learning process that is often the first thing to go in a busy day!”
22. “Keep everything in one spot!”
23. “I keep a log of my hours on different projects and iniatives–just a general time, such as 30 min, 45 min, 1 hour–on a weekly calendar sheet. I note the teacher or coachee and building so I can look at the week to see how I spent my time.”
24. “Schedule chucks of uninterrupted time everyday and anticipate possible problems that may prevent you from completing a task.”
25. “I ALWAYS carry a good journal!”
26. “Priortize the important things that you need to get done. Then the rest is “Lagniappe” as we say in Louisiana… a bonus!”
27. “Sort your teaching content in binders so that you can readily access it year after year.”
28. “I scan my handwritten notes every 2 weeks so I don’t have to carry them around in my discbound notebook.
29. “Have a snack ready! I can think more clearly when I snack on something!
30. “Use Evernote to organize and share planning notes with teachers during a coaching cycle.”
31. “Never Give Up!”
So good, right?!
Thank you again to all of you who took a bit of time out of your day to share a planning tip. I’m a big believer in sharing ideas and resources, so I sure do appreciate it. If you haven’t yet shared a tip that might be helpful to others, it’s not too late! Share it in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be a tip either…maybe it’s just a question you want to throw out there. And even if you’re new!…don’t be scared. We have a lot to learn from you too.
Have a great weekend and talk soon!