I’ve recently been meeting with my staff one on one in an effort to learn and improve both my leadership and the overall organization. Themes typically emerge when speaking with more than one hundred individuals allowing me to better prioritize. I’ve done many rounds of meetings like this as a leader and “not enough time” always emerges as a theme. I certainly understand and empathize with my staff realizing that I too struggle with maximizing this precious commodity.
I’ve read many blogs and articles that discuss how the best leaders wake up early. I already wake up at 5:00 am and honestly don’t think I will be productive any earlier. Additionally, I need balance in my life and do not want to be working until 8pm every night. I’m quite certain my wife would take issue. I began to wonder how I might better maximize the time that I did have. Shortly thereafter, my boss suggested placing every event on a calendar and modifying my calendar at the end of the day to reflect how I actually spent my time. This allows for reflection at the end of the day about what I spend my valuable and limited time on. Furthermore, I was to color code each task to reflect instruction, operational, community/family, and personal time.
I’ll admit that I was skeptical. I’ve always utilized my calendar, but never to this extreme. The thought of it made me feel constrained, but I figured I had nothing to lose and gave it a try. I’ve been utilizing this strategy for two weeks and can honestly say that it has already paid great dividends. I leave work each day with a clean email box, sense of accomplishment, and calendar for the next day. I’ve managed to accomplish more in a day and spend more time focusing on core instruction. Admittedly, there are days where I am frustrated when I see how much time an unexpected crisis can hijack. The most powerful part is that when I see white space on my calendar I automatically schedule myself to walk classrooms spending time with students and teachers. I look forward to seeing the continued impact of the decision to be intentional with every minute to maximize my impact.