Teachers just don’t have time. Really any profession that is a direct service profession (nursing, therapy, etc.) has limited amount of time because large chunks of the work day are spent with a person. This limits how much, and when, other work can be accomplished. However, research shows that creating a to-do list can improve your efficiency and ability to work by 15%. I’ve been thinking about the math here, add 5% more effort this week and then increase your productivity to 15%… seems like a great addition!
What It Does For You
- Reduces anxiety about upcoming tasks.
- Allows space in your brain to concentrate on the current task.
- Increases productivity.
- Allows you to use your gaps in the day more efficiently.
- Keeps you from missing anything important.
How To Do It
- Set aside a few minutes each night (if you loose sleep from tasks), or first thing in the morning. Research shows that loosing a few minutes from your day to make a to-do list actually increases your overall productivity!
- Try a few different methods of organization at first. See which one you like best. For instance, you could just plop everything you need to do all at once. Then later, you can sort it out into most important to least important. Or you may want to organize it into times of day. For example, you may want to list things when you can actually do them. I personally like to schedule my work related things to a time, and then my personal to-do items just in a list. I don’t like to feel beholden to do something at a specific time in my personal life.
- Once you organize your list a bit, manage it and make sure it’s actually working for you. If the list its self is causing anxiety, think outside the box. Maybe try reminders in your phone so that you can’t see everything all the time.
- Anything that didn’t get done, let it roll over to the next day. It’s okay to not finish everything!
- If there are lots of items rolling over each day, consider making smaller list items. Breaking things apart will help you see the work you are doing. For instance, lesson plan is a huge list item. But looking up visual aides for book and movie comparisons, is a much easier chunk to bite off.
- Last, once you get a rhythm going, you can really start looking to make sure everything gets on the list. An easy way to do that is to add things to your list as the day goes on. Another idea is to create your list when you are looking through emails, or going through tasks given to you from a supervisor.
Wrapping It Up
To-do lists are a super easy way to up your teaching game. The hardest part is being disciplined enough to keep doing it consistently.
Let me know if you have an to-do secrets!