The Routine of Being AMAZING

There is good teaching and there is great teaching. Teaching is more than just “in front” of the class. It is proper planning, preparation, timely assessment, classroom organization. In fact, I've often found that the “little things” become the big things more often than not. It is about your habits.

2011 has been the “year of the habit” for me where I've focused on one question:

“What are the habits that are going to help me be the kind of person I want to be in this life?”

As I've shared with you before, if you shape your habits, you shape your destiny.

Brian Tracy says that “95% of what we accomplish is a result of our habits” and I believe him.

You don't have one really great workout and lose 30 pounds. In fact, I can attest to the fact that you can have 300 mediocre workouts and lose 30 pounds! Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first. You don't write one amazing blog post and build a career. You write quite a few blog posts and eventually a few amazing ones will emerge. The majority of posts for most bloggers don't receive comments or tweets or anything – but they are read by someone, usually!

I use the Home Routines app to create routines to help stay on top of things.

What are the routines?
If you look at what successful people do and emulate what they do – you will be successful in that area too. For housekeeping, I follow “The Fly Lady”  For school, I pretty much know what needs to be done every day, consistently.

Using the Home Routines app, I'm able to set up things for each day of the week (if I wish) or checklists to kick start my productivity. At the beginning of my planning period (which includes my lunch time) I always open up my quick checklist and race to punch out the items (as many as possible) before my Smart Ones finishes in the microwave in the teacher's lounge. This way, everyday, my room is cleaned, smells good, is sanitized, printers don't run out of paper, my inboxes are down, and I keep up with grades. These are the small things that when they accumulate make my life a nightmare or interrupt the flow.

Pareto's Peace Plan
Then, I have a “Pareto Peace Plan” list. Pareto's principle says that 20% of things can account for 80% of the effect. So, there are a few activities that have a massive spillover effect into my life. If I do them consistently every week my life is better AND the life of my children and family is better.

My weekly routine that helps me keep on top of little things with a big impact.

Here's my Pareto's plan. This resets every week so I have to do this each week to stay on top of things.

Finally, the beginning and end of day routines are vital and I have a weekly routine for school. I don't mind sharing those with you to get a big picture of things.

Morning routine. I get up at 5 am every morning to get started on a GREAT day.

This is my evening routine. (The Hats are to hide my youngest son's name and not part of the app.)

Here are the things I do every week at school and the typical days of the week. As long as these things are done each week, I can stay on top of things.

Features in Home Routines I don't use.
Note that this app has to do's and focus items. The focus items are based on the flylady and you can do this, but I prefer to use the Motivated Mom's app because they have a printable and the person I have who helps me a few days a week doesn't have an ipad. If you do all the chores yourself, this app would be fine.

Questions to Ask yourself About Your Routine

  • What are the most important things if I do them every day, that will make the biggest difference in my life?
  • What are the things I need to make sure that I do every week in my job that will make the biggest difference?
  • What are the things I need to make sure that I do every week at home that will make the biggest difference?
  • What are the 20% of my problems that cause 80% of my headaches?
  • What is the one habit that is most important to start in my life right now? (Set an appointment with yourself every day this week to do that one thing.

Think about your life. Great lives aren't lived by accident. Not all great lives have a list or are super organized but for me, living intentionally has made a huge difference!

Remember your noble calling, teacher. You can be amazing and great – one tiny thing at a time. The little things do make a big difference in the classroom. If you're less stressed about small things then you can focus on the big things — like your students.

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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