This is what I was promised during a recent session at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Summit. Was this tailor-made for me? I’m constantly running around – switching materials in the two minutes between classes, creating power points, emailing parents, entering grades – before I collapse on the couch at home with the nagging feeling I’ve forgotten something. During the three-day conference, this presentation, given by Eric Smith, was the most useful break out session I attended.
So, what is the secret to being an organized person with time for your own art?
Smith suggests the following 5 habits:
#1 Use Good Tools and Put Faith In Them
- Whether it’s an electronic calendar or good old-fashioned paper planner – don’t write it down if you’re not actually going to do it.
#2 Create Inboxes
- Two email inboxes: work and home. Two physical inboxes: work and home. One mobile inbox – the iPhone has specific apps for this.
- The physical inboxes create a vertical mess. This helps teachers like me who have the constant problem of tornado desk. Ask yourself the following questions when organizing the endless papers on your desk:
- Can I do it right now? (a task that takes 5 minutes or less)
- Can I do it later? (add it to calendar or list)
- Is there nothing I can do with this? (file it or TRASH it)
#3 Make To-Do Lists Based on Location
- Categories like errands (all the things you can do while out and about), at home or at school
#4 Take Time to Reflect and Make Adjustments
- Each Friday, Smith suggests asking yourself if you’ve gotten everything done, what’s still nagging you and if you can clear out anything remaining in your inboxes?
- A Friday calendar review can help you plan. What are you going to do over the next two weeks? What are you going to do over the next two months?
#5 Take Care of Yourself to Have Even More Crazy Creative Ideas
- Ahhhh, the elusive 8 hours of sleep. It’s important! I haven’t mastered this yet.
- Be honest with yourself – don’t work on things that get your mind wound up right before bed
- Exercise – even if it’s just a walk around the block
- Give yourself mental energy – appoint a time to check emails, don’t do it every 3 seconds from your phone
- Most importantly, reconnect with your personal art form
I’ll let you know how these habits work for me – I make no promises about the sleeping part.