A classic, high-powered muscle car came to a screeching halt at a country crossroad. The driver shouted to an old fellow sitting on the front porch of a run-down house: “Can you direct me to Falls City, sir? I’m lost and I don’t have much time.” “No I can’t,” the elderly man replied. “Then which road to Karnes City; can’t you tell I’m losing precious time?” the driver asked. “Can’t rightly say,” answered the old timer. “You don’t know much, do you?” asked the young man sarcastically. “No, I don’t know much,” replied the old man. “But, I’m not the one who’s lost and wasting valuable time!”
Sometimes it seems school principals are lost when it comes to finding time to properly administer the instructional program in ever-changing schools where technology is continuously advancing, and the digital age seems to surpass everyone with each ticking second. Principals ask for directions but all too frequently find themselves bewildered, overwhelmed by the daunting task of playing catch-up and running out of time, in a world where keeping all the plates spinning, lest they topple, leaves a campus leader with nothing more than an afterthought – “I guess I’d better pick up the shattered pieces.”
You think to yourself: “Life as a school leader has to be more than picking up the shattered pieces.” Then you reflect: “I don’t have time, and even if I did, I don’t know where I’m going!” When it comes to time, and the act of managing time for self and the benefit of others, remember this: “Sometimes I have to forget the time lost, appreciate the time that remains, and look forward to making the best of the time that is coming.” In reality, isn’t that what every principal desires?
Listed below are just a few of the many ideas, recommendations, time-tested and proven strategies from The Principal’s Guide to Time Management: Instructional Leadership in the Digital Age –
- Structure time by establishing priorities. Make lists, set goals, understand your daily cycle, and use technology. Ignore technology and rob yourself, your students, and your faculty of a most requisite teaching, leading, learning, and time-saving tool.
- Speaking of technology, use time efficient apps such as Wunderlist 2, Tom’s Planner, Evernote, Wiggio, Google Calendar and Documents, SMART Meeting Pro, Christie Brio, ThinkTank, MeetingSphere, Monsoon Anonymous, yaM [yet another Meeting], Remember the Milk, Todoist, Toodledo, CalendarWiz.com, huddle.com, yeeOS.com, keepandshare.com, Twitter, Facebook, Teacher Kit, Survey Monkey, Permission to Use, Qualtric, Kaboom, ClassDOJO, HipChat, JIRA, Bitbucket, GitHUb, Heroku, Zendesk, Mailchimp, EduphoriaPowerUp What Works, MyLifeOrganized, Skype, Google Hangouts, DropBox, Mind42, Toggl, Day One, Adobe Connect, CrossLoop, ShowMyPC, Yugma SE, etc.
- Use asynchronous collaboration (real-time chat, instant messaging, electronic whiteboarding, etc.) tools. They are flexible, convenient, and time-saving.
- Get a handle on paperwork, hard copy or electronic, by throwing it away, deleting it, or delegating it. Act on it immediately or file it temporarily or permanently.
Managing time can be a daunting task. Statistically, 70% of Americans fail to effectively and efficiently manage time. We certainly understand the issue of time and are sensitive to its many constraints. As former school administrators who have extensive practical experiences managing time in service as instructional leaders in the digital age, we’ve “been-there and done-that.” We hope to provide you with the necessary skills, relevant information, and functional tools needed to promote and incorporate time management, instructional leadership, and technological ideals into real school applications.
Now, reflect back to the opening paragraph and contemplate: “If you find a roadway with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Excellent words of wisdom. Know where you are going and know how to get there, in a timely fashion. Enjoy the trip!