How to Organize Your Teacher Life With Google Calendar
Tell me if any of these statements ring true for you:
You're desk (at school or at home) is covered with post-it notes with reminders, to-do's, and ideas.
You often sit down at your computer to do work and you spend 15 minutes trying to figure out where to start, and what exactly you need to get done.
You're juggling a LOT - between your school work, your family, your (fill in the blank) you have a hard time knowing which end is up.
You constantly feel like you're "forgetting something."
I know that it did for me...until about a month ago. It all started with a coffee mug and a pretty planner.
Let me explain.
For Christmas last year, my husband gave me this cute coffee mug from Anthropology. You see, 2015 was a bit of transition year for me. I was struggling with figuring out how to be a "work-at-home" mom with a toddler and a very needy dog :). I was frustrated about 75% of the time and by the end of the year, I had made it my mission that I was going to figure it all out in 2016. So my husband - knowing my struggles and goals - gave me this mug. And I drink out of it most every day now.
It seems silly - but when I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and read the quote "make it happen" on my mug, I feel ready to begin the day.
So - with the start of the new year, I set out to reach some new business and blogging goals. I took some online educational classes, chipped away at some small and large projects that I had been wanting to complete, aaaaaand... got a nanny two mornings a week. 4 hours of uninterrupted time twice a week was GLORIOUS.
Also for Christmas last year, I received a pretty planner.
Now, I knooooow you know what I'm talking about when I say how important a PRETTY planner is in a teacher's life. No ordinary planner will do.
Fact: teachers love their planners.
I knew I needed to be more organized and up my productivity, so I was hoping to solve that by keeping track of my life using the planner.
Here's the thing though - it didn't work for me. I was constantly writing, erasing, rewriting, and moving tasks and ideas from one day to the next because I didn't get things done that I wanted to get done. So, then I switched to Trello - which I still use to keep track of things like blog post ideas and ideas for new resources for Teachers Pay Teachers. But - it still didn't help me "make it happen." After MUCH trial and error, I started using a tool and resource that had been right in front of me all the time:
Google calendar - and oh. my. goodness.
About a month ago, I sat down and literally mapped out my life, day-by-day, week-by-week, and task-by-task.
Here's why I'm loving it:
I can color code my life (orange for task items, red for product creation, pink for blog stuff, blue for meetings....etc.)
I am able to sit down and look at EXACTLY what I want to accomplish each day (no more spending 15 minutes thinking about where to begin = waaaay more productive)
I have everything in one place
I have the satisfaction of physically checking items off my task list - my favorite part!
I can easily drag items on my calendar to a new spot if I need to rearrange my schedule (bye-bye messy looking planner!)
I can plan ahead and see what I need to do to get where I need to be.
I am kept accountable to myself. Instead of saying, "meh, I'll sleep in today" I have to say "get outta bed, girl, you've got 7 things on your to-do list!"
I can access my calendar from any computer, tablet, or even my iPhone.
I will never go back.
A pretty planner can NOT replace the feeling of being organized, streamlined, and productive.
The more I thought about how it has helped my life, I couldn't help but think about how this tool could help teachers - in a BIG way!
As teachers you have to keep track of:
staff and grade-level meetings
parent/teacher conferences and other communication
reading and writing conferences with your students
days off of school (As if you could forget those! But, it is nice to see it written on a calendar, knowing they are coming up!)
copies you need to make for the week
the list goes on...
HOW TO USE GOOGLE CALENDAR FOR YOUR TEACHING LIFE
Now - if you have a system in place that works for you, then keep at it. But - if you were like me feeling like you were all over the place, then I want to encourage you to watch the video below that I put together to show you how Google calendar might work for your teacher life!
Get ready to get your teacher life organized!