I recently listened to this podcast episode in which Kate Northrup, author of Do Less, talks about how to figure out the best ways to spend your time. It was great. It is so simple, yet so powerful. So, I want to share it with you here. I also want to encourage you to check out her book! I have not read it yet, but it is on my “To Read” shelf, and I am excited about it. It is written for a mom audience, but from the glimpses I’ve already had, it seems incredibly relevant for teachers or anyone who is busy!
So, what’s this strategy all about?
Basically, you’re going to inventory what planning activities you do, and then figure out which ones are giving you the biggest wins in terms of results (i.e., student growth and achievement). I’m adapting this slightly for a teacher planning lens, but use it however you would like! Here's the step-by-step:
In the podcast, Jenna and Kate talk about how this reflects the 80/20 rule: 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. The goal is to identify what that 20% is, and then stress a lot less about the other 80%, and maybe even cut some of it out completely!
Is this activity a bit challenging for you?
Here are some tips to get you going:
Your challenge this week: identify your high-impact activities. Which activities are getting you those big wins? This may help you let go of some of the other time-consuming planning activities that just aren’t getting you the results you want.
Sure, other activities may move the needle forward, albeit slowly, but once you know which activities will move the needle way forward, let yourself: think big (we want those big wins), act brave (take a small step and shift your planning for just a week to test this theory) and be your best self (which is not likely when you are consumed by endless planning that does not yield big results and leaves you feeling exhausted and unfulfilled).
Once you have identified your high-impact planning activities, don’t keep it to yourself! Share your high-impact activities in the comments section below or on social media. Keep me posted! I’m @lyons_lb on Twitter and Lindsay Lyons on LinkedIn.
I cannot wait to hear what you come up with.
For transcripts of episodes (and the option to search for terms in transcripts), click here!
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.