Making Life Easier: Productivity Tools For School Principals
A Stanford study of school principals time management confirmed that the way they allocate time to tasks genuinely drives school performance upward. That being said, it's really important to identify the most vital tasks and focus on them. School principals value their time because they understand a brutal truth: There is no silver bullet to winning your time back!
As you become a school leader, demands on your time will naturally start increasing. And there’s no easy way to stop this. You often hear about the new “breakthrough” tactic that will free up half your workday. Some quick tip that tells you to: Say no, delegate, prioritize.
I wish it could be so easy, but it isn't. Nonetheless, there are a few tools that can make your life easier. Since there’s an app for everything, we thought we’d take a look at 5 great productivity apps for school principals to help them save time.
Project management is the foundation of any head teacher’s job spec; delegation the key to smooth and successful sign offs. Apps like Asana enable users to launch multiple projects and assignments within the app, appoint team members, and track progress through use of deadlines and task-setting. It also has a handy group chat function and a live reporting function for crunching data, saving hours of precious time spent in staff meetings.
2. Google Calendar
Calendarize your social activities within work and they’re less likely to be side-lined. Internal relations account for around 15% of a head teacher’s daily work; this is the social stuff that builds relationships with students and staff, like getting involved in school events like fundraisers, attending school productions, and generally being a visible and approachable face within the school. Often these sorts of engagements are the first to suffer when meetings run over and the day throws something unexpected at you. Using a popular calendar app like Google Calendar and actively booking out time to do things like walking the school at break time or attending dress rehearsals for the show means you’ll get sent reminders ahead of the event, and the people you choose to share or sync your calendar with will also see that you’ve booked time out to do these things.
Half a million worldwide users can’t be wrong. Emailing (let alone actually carrying) hefty folders between individuals and departments puts a huge strain on all those inboxes, wasting wastes precious time and memory as multiple versions of the same document are saved to the school’s network. Using Dropbox streamlines the document-sharing process, enabling users to share a link to a folder which can be accessed by everyone. Sharing media to Dropbox is lightning-fast and safe, offering storage up to one terabyte.
4. Schedule Once
20% of a head teacher’s day is spent meeting with people –either face to face or virtually– from interviewing prospective new staff to observing lessons and mentoring current students. Scheduling meetings and comparing availability between multiple parties is a time-consuming task within itself, especially when interviewing people in different time zones. Schedule Once enables students, candidates, and staff alike to lock in appointments with you, whilst you have the power to ensure that every possible time slot you can offer is bookable.
Principals spend around a third of their day’s work managing myriad admin activities at once –from accounting and recruitment to managing discipline– so no head should be without the best administration app on the market. Evernote’s strapline is ‘Remember Everything’ and allows users to write notes; share folders; save web pages, excerpts from eBooks and other media; record meetings and whiteboard notes, and then display presentations and documents across multiple platforms.
At the heart of all the best productivity apps for head teachers lies a solution to a common problem: Time. Time –or the lack of it– is possibly the biggest challenge facing principals in schools and colleges today, so most apps suited to head teachers aim in some way to save time where there is extra to spare. Because, of course, some tasks will not withstand any trimming down, whilst others could do with a good shakeup. The best apps for teachers will always be those that optimize bulky admin processes, support and encourage remote teamwork and bring powerful data together in its simplest and most accessible form.