Teachers are constantly managing dozens of tasks that need to be completed. I have always found it helpful to use todo lists and reminders to make sure that I complete tasks on time as well as follow up with project tasks. My favorite way to organize my todo lists is the Getting Things Done (GTD) method by David Allen. Recently, David Allen shared some of his favorite books that have informed his organization method and some advice on how to stay organized. Here are some highlights from the interview.
Discussing why sleep is important to function at high cognitive levels:
As a matter of fact, I’d be quite concerned if you’re not getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night. There are a few people, […] that can get by with less. But most people need at least that much sleep in order to really optimize your cognitive functions.
Teachers need to keep this in mind and also share this information with students. Many students are not getting the sleep necessary to function at high cognitive levels in class.
On why lists and more specifically checklists help us organize and keep track of information:
You need some sort of a checklist. I mean, I’ve got tons of checklists. You could call anything a checklist. Your calendar is a checklist. What do you need to check to know where you need to be when, and to locate yourself in space and time? So everything, every kind of a list that’s a reminder list, is some sort of a checklist. Even your someday-maybe stuff. Even the food I might want to cook at some point, books I might want to read at some point, movies I might want to see, cities I might want to visit, et cetera. Those are all checklists.
Discussing how technology has improved and decreased productivity:
There are quite a number of studies I’ve seen that basically state that productivity has not increased in the last 10 or 15 years, whereas technology has exponentially increased. So an increase in technology does not necessarily mean an increase in productivity. As a matter of fact, for some people it’s like, ‘Oh my god, I got a new computer program I have to learn. Geez, my productivity just went down the drain because of trying to understand and how to optimally use the technology.’
As a technology coach I often see how teachers become overwhelmed by new technology tools. These tools are great but it can be difficult to keep up with the changes to this software and it takes time to learn a new tool. Some teachers feel guilty when they aren’t using a tool to its full potential. It is important to implement tools gradually so that teachers and students can learn how to use them effectively.
Keeping track of all of the tasks, commitments, and paperwork we need to complete as educators can be overwhelming. David Allen’s Getting Things Done method provides practical advice for organizing your tasks and ideas so you can move projects forward.
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