When you work in a small school district, you have to find creative ways to work smarter, not harder. There aren’t secretaries at every turn or levels of assistants for delegating tasks. We’re not “top heavy” and we all wear many hats to get the job done. (Fun fact: Even our superintendent shares his secretary!) The tools below are my staples for staying organized and completing tasks efficiently.
1. Google Calendar
Warning: dramatic statement … I LIVE by Google Calendar. Like, really. There are times when I am walking in the hallway of a campus, hear the ding, and do an immediate about face to head in the opposite direction for a meeting that slipped my mind. Google Calendar is my TOP survival tool! Here are 3 of my favorite things about Google Calendar:
- It’s searchable. Can’t remember when you met with that guy last year? Do a search! I put TONS of details in my calendar events so I can search them easily later. This has saved me on several occasions!
- It’s a time management tool. I schedule EVERYTHING on my Google Calendar, including blocks of time to work uninterrupted on big projects. If it’s on my calendar, I know I will take the time to get the job done instead of putting it off, AND it keeps me from overbooking myself (usually!).
- It integrates with YouCanBook.Me. This is an AWESOME scheduling tool that I use regularly to allow teachers, principals and everyone in between book time on my Google Calendar. It’s user friendly, and the free version gives me everything I need.
2. Google Keep
I am pretty much a “Google Girl.” I love all things Google – especially when the tools help me do my job better and keep my sanity (win-win!). Google Keep is such a powerful tool, but it’s not one of the main apps, so I think it’s underutilized. Google Keep allows you to create digital sticky notes and task lists. Here are 3 of my favorite things about Google Keep:
- It’s with me wherever I go. Because these digital sticky notes sync to my Google account, I can access them from anywhere and on any device. Long road trip and your mind is racing with ideas/tasks? Open up Google Keep and make a list. Check the tasks off when you get back to the office!
- Notes and lists are sharable. Need to brainstorm with a colleague or share tasks? No problem – just share the digital sticky note. (This works really well for tandem grocery shopping, too!)
- It’s a productivity tool. I use Google Keep stickies for daily priority lists and “top tasks.” I have a “Fab Five” sticky note that is pinned to the top of my Google Keep screen with the five things I must complete today. This little nugget keeps me on track (and can keep the stress at bay!).
Boomerang for Gmail
If your inbox is a disaster or you are one of those “wake up at 2am and work” kind of people, you need Boomerang in your life. Boomerang does these things for you:
- Schedule emails to send later (like, NOT at 2am … don’t be that guy!).
- Temporarily archive emails and have them pop back up in your inbox at a certain time. (It’s like snooze for your email!)
- “Boomerang” an email back to your inbox to remind you to follow up if you haven’t gotten a response from the sender.