“What you do today improves all of your tomorrows.” – Ralph Marston
One of the most powerful habits you can develop is planning for the next day before you leave. Making a list of tasks and visualizing how you would like the day to go allows you to prepare mentally for what is ahead. By looking at your coming day, you can ensure that there are no scheduling conflicts or preparations left undone.
Use a planning template for each school day to provide an overall image of how your day will flow. Think of it like a teacher’s lesson plan, with objectives for the day. A separate calendar (traditional or electronic) can be a complimentary tool for setting appointments. When adding tasks or activities to the planning template, consider buffers, habits and goals. Schedule some buffer time each day to embrace the unexpected challenges certain to arise. Also, consider habits that may be impacting your efficiency. For example, productivity may be gained by turning off e-mail alerts and limiting reading and responding to e-mails to two scheduled times each day. Additionally, dedicating some time to work on long term goals on a daily basis will greatly impact the progress of your school.
It is also helpful to make a to do list for recording tasks to be accomplished. You may categorize these tasks as important or urgent, and some may fit both categories. Important tasks are focused on key goals or priorities essential to moving your school toward your unique vision. Urgent tasks are tightly time bound with consequences for lack of completion. Urgent tasks may also be important if they are tied to your vision, but often they are associated with someone else’s priorities (superintendent, school board, etc.) Consider how those tasks which are urgent but not important may become a leadership opportunity for others.
Preparing for the day to come is a powerful practice. Sometimes by thinking through the day to come, a creative solution to one of tomorrow’s challenges may manifest in the middle of the night. At the very least, you will feel less harried when you arrive in the morning. Our Purposeful Principals Planning Template is available for download on our website. Develop or find the tools you need to plan for tomorrow today.
How can you maintain the habit of planning for the next day before you leave? How might this practice benefit you?