Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My #1 Productivity Tip [#MTBoSBlaugust]

It's #MTBoSBlaugust 2016!  I'm challenging myself to blog daily throughout August, and you can too.  Join the fun!

The first thing anyone will ever tell you about being organized and productive is to make a To Do list.  It's simple enough, but there are some quick and easy strategies that can make your To Do list work better for you.

I make my lists in my planner.  I have two planners, but my main everything planner is a "Day Designer".  This is the type of planner I've been using since my first year of teaching.  They've been available at Target every year in July (and they have been getting cuter and cuter each year).  I love them because they have the tabs for each month, a monthly calendar, and then weekly pages.

On the monthly calendar, I write down all of my appointments, both for my job and personal.  There's also a space for notes for the month.  I like to color code my activities to give me a quick idea of what I have going on for the day at a glance.  This month, I highlighted my after school activities in blue, meetings in orange, special events in pink, and OLWEUS day in green.  (Does anyone else do OLWEUS in their high school?  Any suggestions on how I could not hate it?)  I did not highlight any of my personal items.  Also, I had my bills highlighted in yellow on the days they were due, but I used white out on those before posting them online. 
My weekly pages is where I make my To Do lists.  It helps me spread my tasks out so that I'm not trying to accomplish everything in one day.  When things get really crazy I will make a long To Do list in a random note pad, it is basically a brain dump, and then I will go into my planner and decide which days are best for each task.  The way the weekly pages are set up, each day is split into two sections.  I usually use the left side for tasks to complete at school and the right side for tasks to complete at home.  This has really helped keep me sane when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

The best tip I have for To Do lists requires three highlighters.  Pink, yellow, and green; almost like a traffic light.  Anything that absolutely needs to be accomplished that day and that is super important is highlighted in pink.  Pink is almost red; red as in "stop what you're doing and do this now".  Anything that should be done that day, but is not a high priority is highlighted in yellow.  Anything that I would like to get done that day, but could put it off another day if need be, gets highlighted in green.  (Lately I have been skipping the green highlighter and just using the pink and the yellow because it starts to look a little crazy when everything is highlighted.)  This has been a savior for me.  It really keeps me focused.  When I somehow have a spare 5 minutes at the end of my prep where I would love to get something done, but don't know what to do without starting something that I cannot finish before my next class comes in, I can go down my To Do list in priority order (even though I may not have written it out that way), and find a task that will only take a few minutes.

Highlighting my To Do list is probably my favorite thing ever.  This has saved me so much time and energy.  I don't do this every day.  I save it for the days when I have a ton of things to do, or I have something that is a clear priority.  One thing I would like to change about making To Do lists is to write them out the night before.  I find myself thinking of things that need to get done before I fall asleep, and then panicking that I won't remember them the next day.  My heart starts racing, and the next thing I know, I'm wide awake.  I'm hoping that I can get all of those thoughts out before I go to bed, and not have that issue anymore.

1 comment:

  1. highlighting your to-do list is brilliant!! Thank you!


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