Time Management Tips for School Board Administrators

Lena Eisenstein
For any leadership position time management is an essential skill to possess, but often more so for school administrators. School administrators who are able to effectively manage their time are better able to contribute to the success of public schools.

The many responsibilities that school administrators are entrusted with make time a precious commodity. The complexity and range of the competing tasks and concerns required from a school administrator can be intimidating.

Managing public education institutions can be an overwhelming responsibility, and administrators may often find their time slowly taken up by emergencies or less important (but still necessary) duties.

Effectively managing one's time is not necessarily about efficiency or crossing items off the to-do list, but having the ability to capitalize on opportunities for student success and achievement.

There are techniques school administrators can apply to help keep their focus on what is truly important and ensure they are successfully managing their time to lead their institutions more efficiently and effectively.

Time Management Tips for Board Administrators to Follow

  1. Establish Priorities

School administrators should establish priorities at the beginning of every academic year, every week, and every day. Rather than a to-do list, create a priority list. What goals, issues, or concerns require attention first?

A perpetual calendar of priorities can be helpful for administrators. By listing the responsibilities that are known to take place in a certain month (i.e. when budgets must be submitted or reviewed, staff evaluations, etc.), it can help school administrators know what tasks need to be tackled during the upcoming season.

When an administrator prioritizes responsibilities, the most important assignments are accomplished first, which helps guarantee that they will be completed. Then the other tasks on the list can be tackled.

  1. Simplify Your Day with Routines

Our everyday lives are filled with routines and habits; these practices sometimes go unnoticed. When it comes to time management, habits can truly contribute to our efficiency. One way a school administrator can work to improve their time management skills is to establish and stick to a good routine.

Routines simplify everyday tasks to make them more effortless, so there is one less decision to be made. Whether it is how you read and respond to mail, when you write a daily or weekly report, or setting a weekly meeting for the same day and time. All of these routines can contribute to better time management and simplify the work that needs to be done.

However, do not be afraid to switch up routines if you need to make them work better for you. You may find that you actually have less time in the afternoon than in the morning to complete a task, so make the change. Routine does require discipline, but it creates simplicity.

  1. Conquer the Unexpected

A school administrator's day can easily be consumed with putting out fires. Disruptions and sudden emergencies will occur, no matter how prepared you may be.

Knowing that the unexpected is inevitable, it is easier to make changes to your schedule and to shift priorities if necessary. Keep in mind, what some may deem an issue that needs your 'immediate' attention, may be a task that can wait until the next day.

When conquering disruptions to your day, delegation can be a helpful tool to employ. Support staff can be essential to tackling an issue that may be a priority, but something that does not necessarily require your attention.

  1. Make Time for the Mundane

Administrators can also benefit from a 'closed door' policy. School administrators can have a scheduled time to close their door and tackle those mundane tasks that require a quiet space to focus on work (answering e-mails or returning phone calls). While this seems a bit reclusive, it can be beneficial to cultivating relationships.

Staff can feel more heard and attended to when they request specific meeting time with an administrator, knowing that they have your undivided attention. With the essential tasks out of the way, administrators can feel more freedom to nurture relationships with staff and students.

Work to discover what may work best for your specific situation to help allot time to accomplish important tasks, while also making sure that staff feel they have the opportunity to meet.

  1. Utilize Available Tools

Efficient school administrators know to leverage the technological resources that are available to them. Technology can encourage efficiency by allowing administrators to multitask or easily access pertinent information. The right technology can help an administrator's day run more smoothly, making time easier to manage.

Meeting agendas, past meeting minutes, budgets, and strategic plans are all vital to the work done by school administrators. Leveraging board management software, like Community by Diligent, school districts are able to ensure that these essential documents are easily accessible by board members, administrators, and the public.

Administrators should have the capability of retrieving these documents from any device or location, securely. Utilizing Community, school administrators can easily access these materials from any device with internet access, anytime and anywhere (office computer, a tablet on the move, etc.). This level of accessibility allows administrators and board members to share materials to make educated and timely decisions for the betterment of the district.

Community's board portal promotes transparency and trust through the availability of pertinent information (for the board, administrators, and the public). Beyond meeting information, boards and administrators can easily access policies, training documents, evaluation materials, and manuals to remain informed of procedures and practices.

Dysfunctional and inefficient leadership can distract from the work that must be accomplished to better local public education. Community supports the effectiveness and efficiency of school administrators to contribute to the achievement of students and districts.

The work of an administrator can appear daunting. Between trying to connect with students and staff, while also tackling the everyday duties, the responsibilities can often be overwhelming. Sometimes it can feel like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done.

However, when it comes to time management, school administrators need to know that it can be done as long as they learn to establish priorities and routines, expect the unexpected, leverage technology and resources, and are realistic about what they can accomplished in the day. When administrators work to develop their time management skills, schools and students reap the benefits.
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Lena Eisenstein
Lena Eisenstein is a former Manager at Diligent. Her expertise in mission-driven organizations, including nonprofits, school boards and local governments, centers on how technology and modern governance best practices empower leaders at these organizations to serve their communities with efficiency and purpose.