Well, here I am almost 17 years later and I am still an educator. I am still working with kids. And, I am still lacking strong time management skills. But, here is the biggest difference, I no longer feel like I have failed our kids or staff because of my poor time management skills. A couple of years ago I came to the realization that being successful as it relates to time management skills wasn't just about getting things done in a timely fashion or about getting things done that others felt should be a priority. No, time management was about getting to the things that mattered the most; getting to the things that would benefit from my attention; getting to the things that were consistently at the center.
For me, the kids, their needs, their happiness and their future successes were always at the center. So, effective time management skills in my world mean spending time with our kids. Spending time in our classrooms each day. Spending time getting to know our kids and their interests and passions. Spending time going out to recess to play with our kids and watching them laugh and have a good time. Spending time in the lunch room eating with them in a relaxed fashion and engaging the children in non-school related conversations. That is where I devote the majority of my time and I think I meet with success because our kids are happy; our kids are engaged; our kids are learning; our kids feel valued; and our kids love coming to school. Although I cannot take the credit for how our kids feel, I do think that I devote a lot of time creating a tone and mood in the building and that directly, and indirectly, impacts our kids.
So, as I reflect on this idea of successful time management skills, I realize that isn't only about addressing the crises the emerge every single day; or putting out the many fires that flame up from hour to hour; or responding to the hundreds of emails that end up in my inbox. No, successful time management is about getting to the things at the center; getting to the things that matter most; getting to our kids.