Tips for remembering to bring things, do things, and manage to-do lists

Teaching involves lots of little tasks.  Here are some ways to remember everything on your list.  Pick and choose tips that will make your life easier.

Remembering to bring things

Load your car the night before: when possible, spend tonight loading your car with things you’ll need tomorrow.  Anything that won’t get too hot (or cold) in your car overnight can be loaded before the morning rush.  Load as much as you can.  For example, if you have a potluck the next day, you’ll have to put the food in your car in the morning.  But plates, napkins, etc. can go in the car tonight.

Put a Post-It on your door: write your task on a Post-It and put it at eye level on your door.  It will remind you to grab that casserole or whatever the next morning.

Put your keys by the item: Put your car keys next to the item you want to remember.  In the fridge, on the counter—wherever the item is.  The next morning, you literally won’t be able to leave until you bring the thing in question.  That is both the genius and the pitfall of this tip.

Keep a container in your car: I keep a laundry bin in the back of my car.  Things that go back and forth to school rest there.  That way, they don’t slide all over the place, and I know where to look for/place things.  I keep a cooler in the car, too.  That way, I can put things like DVDs in the car without cooking them.  Good for grocery shopping, too.

Remembering to do things

Put a to-do list on the whiteboard: this can be a list the kids see—or not.  For example, you could write a to-do list for the next morning on the whiteboard before you leave for the day.  You can also write a quick to-do list on the board at the beginning of your prep time.  It’s totally fine to designate a space on the board for to-do lists that affect the whole class.  Let them see what goes into running the classroom.  You might be able to delegate plenty!

Use a steno pad for an ongoing list: I became much more productive and organized once I learned this tip.  Every time you think of a task that needs doing, jot it on your steno pad.  You can let kids write to-dos on the pad, too.  (With your permission.)  That way, little tasks like “give Andre another permission slip” don’t slip your mind.  Click here for my post with more details on this tip.

Leave space for a to-do list in your lesson plans: Many plan books have an extra column at the beginning and/or end of the day.  Use this space for to-do lists, appointments, etc.  If your plan book doesn’t have this space, make it!  Truncate your plans to free up a column or write in the margins.

Keep errand-related items in your car: it’s a lot easier to do errands on the way to and from work if you keep the relevant materials in your car.  Library books go in the car when you’re done.  Receipts for dry cleaning live in the car.  Items you need to return (with receipt!) go in the car.  That way, you’re ready for a target of errand-doing opportunity.


 

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