Thursday, October 29, 2009

Get Organized--10 Take-Aways

The National Middle School Association has asked its presenters for a list of "10 Take-Aways" from their presentations. At first glance, to try and reduce several hours of well-chosen material to 10 points is tough. I must admit, however, the exercise was eye-opening. Summing it all up in 10 points forced me to look not only at tools but to look at principles which emerge again and again regardless of the tool. I have often said that if I go to a workshop and come away with one point that is life changing, I would consider my time well spent. To be able to offer people 10 of them makes me realize the importance of the material and its relevance to the world of today and what's coming tomorrow.


So, here are the 10 Take-Aways for my participants:

  1. An educator's world is complex and becoming more so with each passing year. Staying on top of all of our responsibilities requires a system.
  2. We do what is easy; therefore, our system must be easy.
  3. "Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now." Thank you, Alan Lakein!
  4. Make the decision, "When do I want to see this again?" and put it in your system so that you do. However, your system should allow you to answer the question, "What if I need to see it before then?"
  5. Tickler files keep your desk clean and ensure that papers resurface on the desired date.
  6. A digital signature tool allows that which arrives digitally to stay digital. It offers the advantages of portability, shareability, and searchability.
  7. Education is a cyclic business. Getting good at identifying repeating tasks makes life easier.
  8. Documentation is easier than you think.
  9. You can be a master at follow-up. The "bookmark" system shows how.
  10. Stress is feeling the whole world is caving in. Organization is keeping all of the balls in the air by giving each one the right amount of attention at the right time.
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