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If you have ever walked into my office, you would have most likely seen a mountain of post it notes. I mean they were everywhere, with little reminders of what I need to accomplish, call, or see that day.
Those days are over. O.V.E.R.
Here’s my desk today.
Notice the brown? It’s a desk. . . But, in that picture is the key to being organized.
I made these weekly planner To Do lists to keep on my desk. They have a highlight section that I can jot my notes down in and keep all my reminders handy. I found a tutorial for making my own notepad. (I haven’t tried it yet, but I am excited to do so. It looks pretty easy) Instead of lugging my planner/binder to every team meeting or classroom I visit, I’m going to take a planner sheet. It will be helpful to jot down the periods end if I’m going in a class for a lesson, and it also gives me space to take a note if a student asks me. Plus it’s bigger than a post it note, so it will be a little harder to lose!
I think the biggest key to organizing your To Do list is to visit it frequently. Cross off those things that are done. You feel a real sense of accomplishment when you can mark something complete and you will be more likely to continue on with the next task.
The next key is to prioritize. What is the single most important thing you have to do that day? I know you are probably thinking all of it, but there is always something bigger than the rest. Number your list. Rewrite it in order if you have to, but get it prioritized.
Another way to organize your To Do List is to enlist help if needed. What can you delegate? What can you get someone to help you do? For example, the other day, I had cards that I wanted printed and laminated and then cut apart. By myself it would have taken me the whole day to get it done, between copying the pages, waiting for the laminator to heat up, and then actually cutting them apart in between appointments, tours with our incoming 4th graders, phone calls to parents, and meetings. Instead, I asked a student to help me make the copies, laminated everything myself, and then brought the sheet of laminated goodies to the office where it was cut into more manageable pieces, then found a sub who was looking for a project to help me cut them out. My time on the project was minimal, and it was a huge job, but in the end, it didn’t seem like it.
Lastly, use a planner. Planners will help turn your To Do list into a plan. Once you begin keeping track of your year, you can also use it to really develop your school counseling program. You’ll be able to see the trends of when things are super busy or sort of slow. You can use these trends to find time to go into classes or move things around, so you feel more consistent throughout the year.
This is what the inside of my planner for next year looks like. This year’s is packed full and I can’t show a picture for privacy reasons.