Archive for January 1, 2015

A Principal’s Tip for Keeping Focused on 1 Task

For those of you that are great at time management and staying focused, there’s no need for you to read this post…

For those of you who know me, you know that I am the queen of the procrastinators club (although we haven’t met yet, because I keep putting off scheduling our first meeting) and that I have ADHD…I do my best work at the final hour, I can be completely random, scattered, lose things, etc. I have also decided that I think the principalship induces ADHD, because we are interrupted about every 4 minutes, so how could one ever become completely focused on any one task for too long?

After a wonderfully relaxing Christmas vacation I was ready to get backScreen Shot 2015-01-02 at 3.46.04 PM into a work schedule today with a quiet school building to catch up on work in the office before school officially starts.  Perfect day to catch up on EVERYTHING, right? WRONG!  Nope, no one interrupted me…except for myself.  I feel like I could rewrite the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to be If You Give a Principal an Email.  Left to a quiet office with a list of 7 major things to accomplish, I added at least a dozen other tasks to my list today and only because I already led myself astray to complete them and then added them to my list to cross them off.

For those of you laughing with me now (or at me), I do have a point to this post. I’ve made great efforts over the years to learn everything I can about productivity as I’ve written about in previous posts, but today one lesson came to mind that I learned from Justin Baeder in a webinar at The Principal Center:

Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the available time.

Horstman’s Corollary: Work contracts to fit into the time you give it.

I’ve always said that if time stopped, I would still never catch up on everything that I have to do.  It’s just not possible. We have to make choices about what’s most important, what has to be done now, what can wait and what can be shifted elsewhere.  On days like today, I do best when I remind myself of Horstman’s Corollary.  I do this by setting a timer for myself for the one task I’m working on and try to beat the timer.  I’m currently loving the google chrome extension “1 click timer,” because it just runs up in the corner of my browser or I can expand it to see it.  It is a reminder to myself to stay focused and finish what I’m doing before I distract myself with something else.

Full disclaimer: I should have been working on something else when I wrote this blog post, but it came into my head and I had to get it out! 

My Reading Resolutions for 2015

Books I read in 2014:

books

This is my 3rd year in a row of writing Reading Resolutions with the new year. You can find previous Reading Resolutions I’ve written in this post. I began using Goodreads two years ago and wrote about Everything I Love About Goodreads as I got started with it.

My goals for 2014 included:

1. Read 55 books (not including picture books)

2. Read one professional book a month

3. Have family “Read to Self” time

This year I did not meet my goal of reading 55 books, yet I wonder how few books I would have read if I didn’t have a goal at all? As I review the books I did read, what is not reflected are books that I have reread this year as I read them for staff/admin book studies or gone back to books that had such an impact on me like The Miracle Morning, High Impact Instruction, Lean In and Digital Leadership. Although I do not have statistics to prove this, I also believe I read fewer books, because I read more blog posts, read a few book drafts as a peer reviewer (so I couldn’t log them on Goodreads), and spent more time writing (a future book to be published!) I also realize once again that when I don’t read much fiction, I don’t read as much overall. I’ve written about this previously in Sharing My Reading Life.  Just in time to make my Reading Resolutions, my good friend, Leah Whitford posted that she’s going to take on the following Reading Challenge:

2015 Reading Challenge

In the words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge Accepted!” 

In all seriousness though, I think this is exactly what I need to get out of my reading comfort zone for 2015. I don’t feel like I need a goal of reading a professional book a month, because it’s such an ingrained habit for me to always be reading one, that I know I will do it anyways (or close to it).

When I shared this with a teacher in my building she said that her class already made a 2nd grade version of this list for their class to challenge themselves. What a great idea!

So, my Reading Resolutions for 2015 are…

1. Read 50 books

2. Get out of my reading comfort zone and read different genres

3. Have family “Read to Self” time

 

Next on my list…post my new Reading Resolutions at school for students to see and decide how else to share with them and challenge them to read a lot and challenge themselves.