Definition of Time Management
There's no concrete definition of time management. Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People suggests that a good time management definition must include doing the most important thing now. The only way to do that is to distinguish between important things and urgent things.
Quadrant 1 contains items that are urgent and important:
- Handling Classroom Disruptions
- Making Copies for the Next Class
- Creating Lessons for the Next Day
- Fire Drills
- Beginning Class
- Teaching Duties
- Handling Immediate Technology Issues
Teachers in Quadrant 1 work hard, but not smart. Too much time in this quadrant leads to burnout and dissatisfaction. Although some Quadrant 1 activities are unavoidable, most can be handled easily with good planning.
Quadrant 2: Where You Want to Be Most of the Time
Quandrant 3 & 4
Many teachers think their managing time when in reality they're managing emergencies. These people refuse to take time management advice because they're too busy.
These teachers complain a lot about how hard their job is and how little they get paid. Their job is hard because they spend most of it in handling “emergencies." These teachers burn out quickly. They swear at copy machines five minutes before class and rummage through filing cabinets half way through the period, desperate for a time-filler, fearful of student rebellion.
They’re too busy to make lesson plans, can never find anyone to fix their computer, yet they easily find someone to complain to about being too busy and not being able to find anyone to fix their computer. Their classes begin late and end early. All teachers find themselves managing emergencies from time to time, and that’s OK. If you find yourself constantly managing emergencies, however, it’s time to change.
Learn from My Experience
During my first few years teaching I really needed help in this area. I worked harder than my students and harder than my colleagues. I never had time to build relationships with coworkers. I always went home exhausted and frustrated. No matter how hard I tried to get ahead, I fell further behind. Although I really needed a vacation, I graded papers all weekend and slept during holidays.
I struggled settling down students and beginning class on time. I failed to engage students for the entire period. Why was I working so hard and getting nothing accomplished?
Because I was so overwhelmed with work, I started neglecting my personal life. The first thing to go was exercise. The next thing to go was good eating habits. The third thing to go was my social life. The fourth thing to go was my sanity. Luckily I found a mentor who gave me some advice and pointed me toward managing time more effectively.