1. Find a Calendar that syncs with everyone

Google Calendar's colour coding is the best

A calendar that can sync with everyone in your family is essential. I use Google Calendar that is linked to my wife, my work, and my personal accounts. I put everything on there; when reports are due, school holidays, excursions, meetings, as well as my wife’s appointments as they all appear on one screen. I love the fact that I can colour coordinate each calendar so I can see at a glance who is involved, as well as using emoji’s to simplify the content. Google Calendar also lets you set goals and reminders and choose how you want to be notified (which I set 2 weeks out, 1 week, and 3 days all as default settings) as well as linking to your Gmail by automatically adding to your calendar based on the content of an email.

 

2. A physical project planner like SCRUM or Kanban

Having a SCRUM whiteboard makes planning ahead easier

I love using my SCRUM board to keep track of what I have to do, what I am doing, and what I have achieved. I use different coloured post stick notes to represent different tasks so I can easily shuffle them to their next position rather than rewriting each task. It is wall mounted above my desk so every time I sit down I can see what needs to be achieved. I am very visual and it forces me to look at what I need to do.

 

3. Electronic planners

Colour code your tasks or projects for easy identification

When out and about I use Google Keep to add lists, notes, ideas, photos, web pages and more. It syncs across my phone, tablet, computer, and chrome so I can access it from anywhere. You can “Pin” a list, colour code and label it according to whatever you need - Personal, work, inspiration etc. Trello is another app that is quite similar and very popular if you are not already on the Google platform. Both are free and great at ensuring you never miss out.

 

4. A decorative and definite workspace

Having a work space that is clear and nice to sit at will improve productivity

Setting up a dedicated area that is visually appealing and one where you actually want to spend time will improve your productivity. As a teacher, your desk is NEVER big enough, but if you are lacking the space, try and use the walls and a filing cabinet to store everything you need. My workspace has a desk calendar, my SCRUM board, a light, space for two laptops, and a few knick-knacks that make it feel more enticing. Previously I used the dining table or coffee table! I felt so awkward and in the way. 

 

5. Keep your files in order

Keep everything in the cloud

I have as much as possible saved in the cloud! I am worried that one day there will be a thunderstorm and all my files will come crashing down!! But it saves so much space. I use Google Drive because as a NSW teacher we have unlimited storage, but OneDrive or any other system is just as good. I have folders set up that are colour coded with emojis in the description to help quickly find things. Every file is searchable from a quick search at the top and you can restore old versions of a file if needs be. Plus I can access it from any device or platform. Never needing a USB or working out which USB has what is awesome! I store photos, files, videos, movies, music and more that I can use whenever I need to during school hours or after hours, plus I share important folders and documents with my students without the need to photocopy everything.

 

6. Clean as you go

The hardest thing to do as a teacher is keep your desk clear of clutter

That scrap piece of paper handed to you, or last weeks minutes, even household bills, all need to have a place. Once touched, you can not put them down until they are in their appropriate file, cupboard, bin etc. We all “file” things away which usually means throwing on a “I’ll get to that” pile, but inadvertently gets forgotten. I also hate double handling, moving something from one place to another just to get it out of the way as you have to move it again later. The cleaner your work area, the more productive you feel!

 

7. Use Sunday to prepare for the week.

Plan, prepare and organise your week over a coffee or quiet drink

Whether you use that time to draw up a to-do list, plan your meals, update your calendar/planner/SCRUM board, or just look at the events for the coming week, Sunday is the perfect time to get prepared. Heck, I might have even been known to do it over a beer or coffee! It just gives yourself that mental preparation for the known’s that will be coming your way so when the unknown’s crop up you feel less overwhelmed.

How do you stay organised? What tips, apps, tools or ways do you try and keep on track of everything?