Hints and Tips for a productive day

Being a School Business Manager is a varied role, and with that comes never-ending To-Do lists. It doesn’t just stop at your usual responsibilities, there’s also the ad-hoc requests from other members of staff and acting as everyone’s Google. Sometimes, feeling like there’s no end to your busyness can hinder your productivity, so here’s some tips for when you’re up to here with it and can’t seem to make a dent in your To-Do list.

Planning your To-Dos

  • Try writing a 1-3-5 To-Do list – this is where you plan to get one large, three medium and five small tasks done every day
  • Always break up a large project on your To-Do list into small tasks
  • Write down the stuff you complete that was never on your list, it makes you feel good to tick something off
  • By completing a significant task before lunch, you can take a much-needed lunch break and start the afternoon fresh without feeling panicked about your To-Do list
  • Get that task you like least done first, you can then focus on the tasks you enjoy more

Dealing with Email

  • Approach your emails in terms of how long it will take to reply. If it’s less than three minutes, get it done now. If more than that, set it aside
  • The faster you respond to emails, the shorter your response can be without seeming rude. It also means you save time not having to worry with the “sorry for the delayed response” – even if you’re just responding to say you’ll look at it soon
  • If you’re feeling like emails are distracting you from focusing on the task at hand, try checking them only 4-5 times a day. After all, if something is urgent people can call you or come and see you

Managing meetings

  • If your meeting only needs 20 minutes, only schedule it in for that long. Allowing an hour for a meeting makes it more likely that it will take that long – send an agenda beforehand and don’t be afraid to bring conversation back to the agenda
  • If an update from a meeting doesn’t require a decision to be made, update those involved via email instead of holding an update meeting
  • When possible, schedule meetings back-to back. It’s hard to keep switching from meeting mode to work mode and picking up where you left off

Mastering time management

  • Know that you work best in the mornings? Set this time aside for work that requires more focus and avoid meetings at this time. Then plan in your more mindless tasks for when you know you hit a lull
  • Come up with a list of tasks you can bash out in 10 and 15 minutes. This stops you from wasting time between meetings, even if it’s just answering a certain email
  • Use deadlines and time limits to your advantage. Set yourself one even if the task doesn’t technically have one – knowing something must be done that day will ensure you don’t waste an hour looking it up on the internet

Dealing with distractions

  • A quick-fix to stop co-workers distracting you is to pop your headphones in. They’ll then only disturb you if they really feel it’s necessary
  • Stop trying to multi-task! While it may feel like you’re getting more done, everything will ultimately take you longer
  • When you stumble across an interesting article, save it to your favourites and read it another time. Whether it’s on your lunch break or when you’re giving yourself five minutes to refresh after completing a task.



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