So I have never been an organized person…like never.
In grade one, I wrote an autobiography (with tremendous help from the librarian) titled
‘I Have Nothing To Wear’.
It recounted my morning routine of my parents telling me to get ready and getting frustrated that I wasn’t ready and the title was my excuse while staring at a full closet of clothes.
In high school, as part of my student council, I had to take a leadership course. Our final project for achieving personal leadership goals was to improve my own organization. It helped but I’m still disorganized.
I now raise my 3 mini me’s … and manage to get us all out of the house in time for school.
Yet my life isn’t a complete mess. At least I don’t think it is.
There are a few strategies that I use to help keep me semi-organized and on top of things even if I only pretend to be an organized person.
I felt this was important to share these organizational tips so that if you are a disorganized mess in hiding, you can plan around it and learn to compensate for it.
Tip #1: Organize My Environment
I may have less than great time management skills but I can certainly organize my environment. This is one way that I help myself be more organized in other areas.
I colour code my notebooks in my classroom. Language is yellow, math is blue, science is green etc. These also correspond with the colours of the corresponding curriculum documents.
I label things … all the things
This is more to do with knowing that inside my head is disorganized so my life on the outside needs to be more orderly.
I have a home for the extra papers and the clutter. In a classroom you always have extras but where do you store the extras. I have a large bin exclusively for extra papers. All my extra papers go in here.
Tip #2: Timers
Set timers…use alarms…
My phone is my lifeline and one of the most used features on my phone.
Think of tasks that happen each day.
Set a timer for this.
My attendance needs to be done at 9:10. So I have set my ringtone to match this time. My ring tone is Work by Rihanna (except I use the Kids Bob version…it is school after all)
I also use Peanut Butter Jelly Time to signal it’s time to clean up too. When you train your students to do certain things to music this will help them and you to stay organized
Tip #3: Lists
I make lists.
I have talked about this before but this still is a strategy that I find very helpful.
There are many different types of lists you can make. But the thing is…you list needs to be put in a place that you will see it.
I particularly like lists because they help me to prioritize what needs to be done.
Tip #4: Routine
By far the easiest way to get things done.
If something becomes part of my routine then I am far more easily to remember it.
First, so I don’t have to remember to change my daily agenda each day, I use a weekly schedule. This is posted all the time.
Next, I make the calendar date a job for one of my students. This is then one less thing I need to do in the morning.
I also try to time table my week the same or at least the most consistent as possible. This helps me to establish a routine.
I try to do the same things each day of the week. This way I don’t have to remember it I just do it.
Tip #5: Tech in the Cloud
I take photos of things I need to remember.
I take photos of memos, emails, and important dates then I can save them to dropbox and easily find them on my phone. This way, I always have all my documents wherever I need them.
I can use Dropbox and Google drive to remember things for me. Or if I forget at least I know where to find it!
Everything I store on my computer is within those two services. I rarely save anything only on my computer. And if I do because all my products are Apple, I can rely on iCloud as a backup.
Secondly, I have set up google cloud print. This means that I can print to my classroom printer from any device, even my phone. This service allows me to make any printer a wireless printer when it is hooked up to a laptop connected to the internet. It also lets my students print to it from any device that is connected with their google account.
If you’d like to learn more about technology hardware to use in your classroom, read a full blog post on the topic here!
Tip #6: Planner
I like to plan.
This goes hand in hand with making lists.
In the moment I may not be organized but one of the ways I manage that fault is to plan for it. If you would like a copy of one of my editable Unit and Lesson Planning Templates click here!
I know day to day I am disorganized but I am also well planned. So this is something that I need to work out for myself to function
I make a plan and plan things down in detail. Then as things are falling apart I get help from others to help me carry out that plan.
Tip #7: Support System
You know something that I have noticed is many teachers have a strength in time management and organization.
Maybe this is why I see my own shortcomings more in this teaching environment. I am a big idea person, a creative plan-for-the-future type person. I am not a detail orientated person in any way.
But also for someone that struggles with knowing the details day to day. I am in an environment surrounded by others who are good at this. So I trade and work as a team.
Knowing my weaknesses and putting them out there has been a good thing for me. It trying to pretend too much that I can do all the things. When you are able to identify your own shortcomings and tell those around you about it, they rally around you.
This is what teamwork is about.
Have an honest conversation about what you are good at and do more of that. Allow others to do the parts of the job that you don’t do so well. But don’t hide it own it, say it, and put it out there.
Age, experience, and life so far have taught me that I am not perfect, and not everyone will like me. But putting your true authentic self out there and letting go of the pretending is liberating.