3 Little Tricks to Smooth out your day

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Take a little time that makes a big difference! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be intentional about your life. Don't just let it happen, decide how you're going to live it. We had a conversation on my Facebook page the other day about how we could be better teachers and the overwhelming answer was “more time.”

It isn't possible to add more time, but it is possible to make more of the time you have. When I do these 3 things – all 35 minutes and 30 seconds of them – that day and the following day are FANTASTIC. It takes a little planning – of habits, priorities, and tweaking the 30/30 app to make it happen but it works.

1. Establish a Beginning of school routine. (15 minutes)

I have a 15 minute routine that I do when I arrive at school. I've programmed it into my 30/30 app.

I selected these things from a list I made when I was so stressed I was losing my mind using the Pareto principle to Pareto my problems (See The Pareto Project, and also Pareto your homescreen, the Routine of being Amazing, and Smooth out your week with the Pareto Saturday Principle)

The routines in my 30/30 app sync between my ipad and iphone.

When applied to stress, the Pareto principle means that 20% of your problems will cause 80% of the stress. For me, things like the printer running out of paper, not being ready to take attendance in PowerSchool, and my room being a bit messy are unneeded stressors. Here's my checklist with times (the screenshot didn't show everything.) YOURS WILL BE DIFFERENT.

Part of my 30/30 routine for starting my day with times.
I can check something as “done” if I get through faster.
  • Boot computer – 1 minute
  • Clean Desk –> 5 minutes
  • Log into PowerSchool –> 2 minutes
  • paper in Printers –> 2 minutes
  • Clean Classroom –> 5 minutes
  • Look at list –> 1 minute
  • Boot front computer –> 1 minute
  • Check email –> 5 minutes
The nice thing about the 30/30 app is that I'm racing the timer, so I don't get off track and also, if I finish something early, then I can click done and move ahead. 

2. Establish a daily Planning & Solitude to close out your day & plan tomorrow (15:30)

If you read books like Eat That Frog!,  Attack Your Day!:  or the The Power of Habit, planning your day is one of those essential components to accomplishing more with your time. Recently, I asked educators in my Facebook page about the one thing that would make them a better teacher… they overwhelmingly said time. Last time I checked, we've all got the same amount, so we'd better figure out how to use it well.
During this time, I review lists, plan tomorrow, reflect, and schedule an appointment with myself for my VITAL habits. If you read the Habit Factor, you'll see astounding research about how to actually get yourself to do the important things: set an appointment with yourself.
My 15 minute 30 second routine is:
  • Review Master List –> 3 minutes (I do this in Nozbe)
  • Review today's list/ make tomorrow's (I do this in Nozbe/ my Levenger planner)
  • Pray over day –> 30 seconds (I take time to be still and quiet to reflect, think of wins, consider if I behaved in an honorable way, and to seek guidance from the Boss.)
  • Review tomorrow's appointments –> 2 minutes
  • Schedule important habits (I put these in my google calendar on a special calendar I've created called “A routine of excellence” – it reminds me but doesn't officially “book” me, I also hand write it in my Circa Planner in my Levenger. An appointment increases the likelihood that you'll do it)
    • Prayer/ Bible Reading time –> 20 seconds
    • Schedule Blogging –> 20 seconds
    • Schedule Workout –> 20 seconds
    • Schedule P&S Time –> 20 seconds
    • Schedule time to balance my checkbook –> 20 seconds
    • Schedule time to read/ be with family –>20 
  • Close out today's notes (I go through my notes in my Levenger and my daily journal in Evernote (I use vjournal for this) to sort and put anything on my calendar that needs to go there.

3. Keep a joy journal (5 minutes)

I talked about the statistics on journaling in 9 Fine Reasons to Keep a Journal but they bear repeating:

Research studies have shown that keeping a 5 minute a day gratitude journal will “increase your long term well being” more than winning a million dollars in the lottery.

Yes! IF you want to be happy, you don't need more money, you need to write down the things you're thankful for. This ONE thing will change your outlook PROFOUNDLY.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere
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