For our Senior Administrators Virtual Mentor Program (SAVMP) prompt this week we were asked to think about time management. Fellow SAVMP participant Amber Teaman wrote eloquently and shared a helpful graphic that got me thinking about my days ( from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey).
One of the reasons it caught my eye was the location of email and a niggling guilty sense that I had chosen to not answer the email of someone recently. I hate the feeling of firing off an email and hearing . . . nothing. Any yet, this particular person was not a current parent of a Westtown student, not a potential parent, not a colleague, not a member of my family or a close friend. For all of these I try and reply within 24 hours. Nor was it someone asking for a reciprocating sort of information common among independent school teachers and administrators. It was just the email I could ignore -- along with the daily announcement from Diigo, the New York Times, the Smithsonian, and our school's spam filter. Email is our chief means of communicating basic information, and like all other sorts of information, basic information has exploded in volume.
What really struck me about quadrant two was the relationship building bullet. On Friday, I had a series of meetings -- see quadrant one. But all of those meetings were with individuals, all were in the interest of building relationships and encouraging the capacity of those individuals in the chair across from me. I met with three interns, two of my independent seminar students, and a stressed out advisee. I also carved out time to complete a project (see quadrant 1). However, this project was related to continuing my relationship with our young alums. Meeting with teachers and students, observing teachers in their classrooms and working with them through their evaluations fill my days and weeks. However, I give over little time to the other areas of quadrant 2.
One of my first blogs was about closing my computer when people come to speak to me, this week I want to experiment with leaving my email turned off for some of the time I have carved out to work at my desk and while I am doing that I want to create space for quadrant two's planning and values clarification even as I tackle the two projects with deadlines fast approaching!