You are the air traffic controller for all of the planes in your life. You decide what lands, what takes off, and what doesn't leave the runway. The more planes you have in the air, the more planning and automation you have to orchestrate - you have to plan the flight path. Otherwise, you will crash and the things that are important to you: your health, your family, your life will crash too.
Pareto's principal is that 20% of the causes have 80% of the effects. So, there are tasks that you can do weekly that will impact 80% of whether you'll have a smooth week next week. Also, 20% of the things give you 80% of the headaches. If you can identify those things, you can structure a Pareto Saturday that will help your next week go so much more smoothly.
Meet your new lifeline: Pareto Saturday
Pareto Saturday is taking time every Saturday to do the things that will help you the most the next week. It never fails, if I do these things the Saturday before, the week is usually a MUCH BETTER week than the harem scarem, topsy turvy, cliche inducing week that I have if I don't. Some call it planning but it is more than that.
The biggest issue is that any one of the tasks I need to do for Pareto Saturday can cause a time suck vortex never to release me, so I use the 30/30 app which allows me to put items in a list and sort of "race" through these tasks. I can always PAUSE if I have to, but I keep the app open and in my face to help push me through it. I also use this app for daily planning and other tasks including my morning routine to help me focus and get things done. It is great for a person like me who has no sense of time.
Items on my Pareto Saturday List:
1. Read over goals - 2 minutes
I have a note in Evernote that I can read on my ipad. If you want to achieve you must first conceive. You must conceive the goal and write it down. Then you must retrieve it and put it in top of mind. These need revision every so often, but Pareto Saturday isn't the time to do that.
2. Master List - Evernote - 7 minutes
As I shared in my last post, I use the secret weapon Evernote method to keep track of my active tasks. I use this time to go over all of my active projects and just review them quickly so I have them top of mind.
3. Trello (FCP) - 5 Minutes
I review the current task list in Flat Classroom. While many of these have evernote cards, workflow is vital when you're collaborating with teachers everywhere. I check in here to see current tasks and big projects that may need to be on my schedule for the week.
(Note, I have this organization on the side from what I do at school, which is why I do it on Saturdays, you most likely would want to keep work separate and skip this step unless you want to spend this time handling money or reviewing a major organization you may work with like a church or civic organization.)
4. Master Calendar - 3 minutes
I review my master calendar in my iPad but with my Levenger Circa planner OPEN as I compare and schedule things. If it is important enough, schedule it. I have 6 things I always schedule as shown in the clip from my Laminated "action sheet" that I keep on a clipboard in the kitchen. (I keep this action sheet in my face to make sure I've done it.)
5. Levenger Updated (3 minutes)
Make sure that each day is planned including the Routines that are vital as shown in the chart above. I have to see it to do it. The process of setting an appointment with myself increases the likelihood I'll do it 100 fold.
6. Wall Calendar Updated (2 minutes)
I have 2 months of dry erase calendars on my wall that are color coded by the type of event. School events are in orange (our school colors), family in blue, important birthdays in green, Kip's travel schedule in purple, and so forth. This helps me communicate clearly with my family (and my teenagers that don't listen well) what is happening WHEN.
7. Menu Plan (5 minutes)
I plan my menus for the week. What we'll eat when, include eating out. I try to cook more at the beginning of the week, when I usually have a bit of energy and when I know I'm going to be exhausted by the end of the week or will have a rough day, I go ahead and plan the days we'll eat out - then I can relax and not stress.
8. Write the goals for the week (2 minutes)
I write down on a whiteboard in the office and in an evernote note (sometimes I just take a picture of the whiteboard) my 3 (or sometimes 4) big goals for the week. So, if everything goes nuts, if I can shoot for them, I've accomplished something. The process of writing goals makes a huge difference.
The timer stops -- then, if I can, I do one thing that makes a TREMENDOUS difference in how fast I can get dressed in the morning. I can save 10 minutes if I:
9. Lay out clothes for the week
I just clear a place in my closet and go ahead and hang the pants and clothes together. If I know the week is rough or Kip will be out of town, I always just go ahead and do this. There's no last minute ironing or anything.
To you naysayers out here:
I take time management books from those without kids, or with a spouse at home to attend to their every need, or unmarried under advisement. I know they have a lot to add, but really, what is there to manage? Career. Sure. But I have a job at school, 3 kids to handle, feed, and clean up after, a wonderful husband that I love to cook breakfast and dinner for, a blog to write, Flat Classroom projects to manage, books to author, 3 businesses, and a nonprofit to manage as well as making sure I know how much money we have since I have the money black hole reaching into my wallet -- 2 teenagers of driving age - or as I call them teenangers ;-) And that's not to mention what happens if someone leaves a roll of toilet paper out and the new kitten decides to make snow!
Some of you don't think you have to do it all ahead because you're doing just fine, but I would think that there are things you can do to have more time.
But for those of you who feel like you literally almost hyperventilate you're running so fast from place to place, this is a lifeline that will change your life.
Try it once and see what happens the next week
You can do Pareto Saturday any day, but if you give it a whirl - even if you write the checklist down, it will change your life. Note that I also apply this in my classroom with a checklist that I do on Fridays to make sure I'm ready for the next week.
Remember your noble calling... whoever you are and especially you educators. You Rock. Let me know if this helps or if you already do something similar that works, tweet me or leave a note in the comments.