School vacations can be lifesavers for Principals. They help us find the time to catch up on the managerial side of the job, much like the gift of a snow day. Here are seven quick tips for a valuable school vacation:
Use your gift of time to work with colleagues. Today I spent the morning with my Assistant Principal and Office Manager to work through a project or two that simply needed uninterrupted time to reach success.
2. Knock off projects you saved for vacation…
…but this means that you would have planned for a productive vacation in the first place. If you use a To Do program (e.g. Omnifocus, Todoist, Wunderlist), be sure to develop a project or context that reserves certain initiatives for a vacation or for summer. Given the unusual calendar that exists in education, this time is gold for administrators.
3. Check for safety issues around the facility.
Without the presence of too many teachers in the building, look for obvious signs of safety issues in classrooms and hallways. Be sure that all doors are clear and have free egress. Check for overuse of paper in rooms and look for drop hazards.
At the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday, the school year is almost half complete. This is the perfect time to reflect on the first half and adjust goals for the second.
5. Review the status of students.
While we are dedicated to the success of all students, there is a small percentage of children that are more complex and need particular consideration. A school vacation can give you the time to review the status of each child or perhaps create a workflow to accomplish this in the future. In your project management or To Do program, create a project for specific students. Review IEPs, student schedules, the level of support these students receive, and the latest confidential meeting notes and academic data.
6. Fine tune your workflow.
As alluded to above, school vacation is a great time to develop or refine a workflow around your emails, to-do’s and document storage. Our jobs are increasingly more complex and with that comes a need for a reliable workflow. A good start is to study the principles of GTD (Getting Things Done), from the mind of David Allen.
7. Relax, exercise, and be part of your family again.
Our jobs can easily average 70 hours a week given night meetings and work on weekends. Remember that your support comes from your family and that productivity largely materializes from proper sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. The productivity wizards at Asian Efficiency write often about the power of sleep. They actually suggest 7-9 hours of sleep for a typical adult. Are you getting that much?
I wish you a productive and yet restful school vacation and Happy 2017 from this reflective Principal.