With table loads of paper works, long list of interviewees, unending complaints from parents and an obvious need for more self-development, many school owners would be happy to have more than 24 hours in a day. Beyond school leaders’ obvious need for time management, teachers also require better time management strategies in coping with the complexities of the 21st century classroom and learners.
Human beings and computers alike share the challenge of how to get as much done as possible in a limited time. Over the last fifty or so years, computer scientists have learned a lot of good strategies for managing time effectively — and they have a lot of experience with what can go wrong. Here are three simple steps to managing your time effectively as an educationist adapted from Brian Christian insights on how to make the most of our own lives.
Some tasks may not be urgent but they are very important. Other tasks may be important but if ignored because they don’t seem urgent, the result may be counter-productive. For instance, you may decide to finish drafting the school timetable before attending to visitors. This is because every other activity in the school will be held to ransom if the timetable is not drafted whereas, only a few individuals will be affected by the delay in attending to visitors.
In the TED Education video below, Computer scientist – Brian Christian discussed how spending more time on prioritising and scheduling your task leads to getting a lot more done faster. Computers schedule tasks before processing them and that is why they’ve turned out to be more reliable than most humans. Therefore, never start your day with tasks, start it with scheduling.
3. Eliminate Interruptions
When computers move from one task to the other, they have to make a context switch which involves moving existing data out of its memory and moving new data in. The lesson from this is we get less done when we keep moving from one task to the other. Reducing interruptions can significantly increase productivity. Another good way to achieve this is by turning off notifications. For instance, you can insist that all phones are silent during meetings. You can also refuse to attend to any visitor or complaints during your personal study hours. What happens is you will work more deeply even if it means less broadly.
Just as the computer manages interruptions by grouping notifications based on how long they can wait before being attended to, prioritising, scheduling and managing interruptions will not only enable you to get more work done but also enable you to feel completely in control of your time.