Leaders often walk into the office with the goal of having a good day but few approach the day with a focus and understanding of how to make it happen. One of my mentors once told me to schedule everything in my day to ensure the important things get done. This is one of those “says easy, does hard” according to the authors of The 4 Disciplines of Execution (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2014). I spent weeks working to develop the right balance of scheduled instructional leadership time and structured office time. Though I worked out a balanced schedule that worked for me, the key was to use it.

Everything goes and comes in waves.

Unknowingly, I revert to my old schedule sometimes. When my day owns me, it typically goes like this. I walk into the office and I am met with teachers or parents. I end up trapped in my office having conversations until mid-morning. The conversations end and I get to work following up on all the commitments I just made. Wow! It’s lunchtime already. I head to classrooms to get in some walkthroughs. Lastly, I spend the latter half of the day dealing with my whirlwind.

Being controlled by your day is not fun. It’s time to get control.

I pull out the trusty dusty calendar scheduling tools (pick.co and calendly.com) and go to work on getting control of my day. I know that when I own my day, I walk out of the building like a boss (cue the music). I plan and execute my day to perfection. An emergent situation comes up and I handle it without a significant impact to my schedule.  Walkthroughs, teacher meetings, and powerful student conversations are all executed seamlessly.
I ask myself: Why don’t you always do this. It’s because leading is not clean, easy, and doesn’t fit into a nice little box. We are constantly working to improve our leadership abilities. As leaders, we sometimes need to be reminded that just because we know what to do in theory it doesn’t mean we always translate it into action.
What tools and ways do you use to get control of your day?

Reference Links

McChesney, C., Covey, S. & Huling, J. (2014). The 4 disciplines of execution: achieving your wildly important goals. Place of publication not identified: Free Press.
2 Responses
  1. I think making the most of the time you you have is key. When I am at the top of my game it’s because I have a list of priorities to follow and check off as I go. Google Keep is a great tool for keeping track of priorities, setting reminders, and collaborating.

  2. Controlling your day is often about controlling the interactions. People “need” you: to make decisions (mentor), reflect on their own situations (coach) or just feel that they have the ear of the authority figure (facilitate). These interactions are essential in our role as heads/principals, they are the engine of school progress, and people (colleagues or others) ought to feel that they can have your time.
    Therefore scheduling “open door” time, ring fencing time in your diary and “scheduling your priorities” (David Allen, GTD) will create the space we need to be the administrator and enable others to gain from your wisdom and soothing influence!

    Thank you for this post…it’s inspired me to write about my own experiences.

Leave a Reply