@SarahP_ELT won a copy of Duncan Foord’s book, The Developing Teacher, for the tweet that got the most likes (if I remember correctly) and I won a course in the feedback raffle. It took me absolutely aaaaages to decide which online course to do, I eventually opted for “Leadership in ELT” and Duncan himself was the tutor (he was extremely patient, I must say!).
Why am I rambling on about this? Well, two reasons, @SaraP_ELT kindly gave me the book 🙂 and it came in really handy when I did the course and secondly because to complete the course you had to write a blogpost which I never shared with anyone but Duncan. After over a year, the course ended in February 2018, I’m sharing with you what I wrote at the time.
I found the course extremely useful and I would definitely recommend it to anyone going into leadership or having to deal with bad leaders.
It’s all about time management… or is it?
Are you one of those people who never has time for anything and feels guilty for spending time on something they like? If so, it is well worth rethinking the way you manage your time.
I have just completed an online course on Leadership in ELT, run by Oxford TEFL. Module 3 of the course was on leadership in organizations: time management and, motivation in particular. Initially I couldn’t quite fathom out why these two were in the same module. Now I know. Very often, when we say that we have no time to do something it’s mainly because we have ‘chosen’ not to do it and this could be down to lack of motivation more than bad time management.
The ‘Circles of influence’ activity (Foord, 2009) adapted from Covey (2004) helped me a lot as it highlights how we should really only focus on areas we can influence, where we can make a difference therefore reducing the feeling of frustration both in our workplace and in our everyday lives- if you can’t beat them, indulge them and get on with your own life!
The quadrant activity (Foord, 2009), again adapted from Covey helped me identify which activities to prioritize at work and how things I had considered ‘interruptions’ were probably the main activities to be dealt with during my working day.
I have a diary, a weekly planner and a wall calendar. I write down everything I need to do during the week and generally get through my planned activities- even if not in the order I wanted to originally- yet I still felt un-organized. The course, the module, my tutor have all helped me realize that it is all about motivation.
We have time but don’t use it well? It’s probably because we haven’t thought it out properly.
The Franklin-Covey YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2sZ_W7TM5w gives us an example of how we can fit seven large rocks, representing real life tasks, into a large bowl of small pebbles. This can be done with a paradigm shift by putting all the large rocks into a bowl and then pouring in the small loose pebbles. They all fit.
Deciding what is most important to us or the things we can’t change (the large rocks), e.g. scheduled lessons, and juggling the minor activities (the pebbles) around those allows us to fit (almost) everything we want into our weekly schedule. It is, however, important to reflect on our plan on a weekly basis to identify where we over-planned or why we weren’t able to achieve our goals.
When setting our personal goals, in a TED talk video Daniel H. Pink suggest using an AMP model:
Autonomy (choosing for yourself)
Mastery (getting better)
Purpose (a result or aim)
By using Pink’s model we can decide where we want to go, we can measure our own improvement and, most importantly, we have the power to decide what we want to do and how to fit all the other small loose pebbles around our objective.
Managing our time more effectively and deciding what our priorities are will help us feel more fulfilled, more engaged in our own lives thus allowing us to work more on our own fulfillment.
Covey S. R. (2004) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. London: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.
Foord, D. (2009) The Developing Teacher: Practical activities for professional development Surrey:Delta Publishing: