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Reclaim Your Time - 5 Tips for School Administrators

As school administrators, our roles are dynamic and demanding. From overseeing educational programs to managing personnel and handling daily tasks, effective time management is essential.

We meet with a lot of school leaders and we also do a lot of research on what makes for effective time management. This post unlocks five practical ways to empower your leadership and save you time: 

  1. Elevate work-life balance,
  2. Prioritize tasks,
  3. Delegate wisely,
  4. Leverage time management tools, and
  5. Simplify meetings.

#1: Elevate Work-Life Balance

One of the most overlooked aspects of time management is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Neglecting personal well-being can lead to burnout, which ultimately hampers productivity. Here's how to prioritize work-life balance:

  • Scheduled Breaks: Allocate regular breaks during the workday to recharge. Short walks, mindful breathing exercises, or a few moments of meditation can help clear your mind.

  • Self-Care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. This includes proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

  • Family and Personal Time: Allocate quality time for family, friends, and personal pursuits. Set boundaries to prevent work from encroaching on these areas.

  • Digital Detox: Disconnect from digital devices during non-working hours to reduce screen time and mental clutter.

  • Seek Support: If stress and workload become overwhelming, don't hesitate to seek support from a mentor, coach, or counselor.

#2: Prioritize Tasks


Prioritization is the linchpin of efficient time management. The Eisenhower Matrix, a time-honored tool named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, offers a practical framework for prioritizing tasks.

  • Urgent and Important: These are top-priority tasks demanding immediate attention. For school administrators, this could include addressing urgent disciplinary issues, responding to critical parent concerns, or handling emergency situations. To tackle these effectively, allocate dedicated time slots in your schedule.

  • Important but Not Urgent: This category encompasses tasks with long-term significance. For instance, strategic planning, curriculum development, and professional development fall into this bracket. Allocate regular blocks of time to these tasks to ensure they receive the attention they deserve.

  • Urgent but Not Important: Some tasks are time-sensitive but do not contribute significantly to your goals. Consider delegating or finding ways to streamline these tasks. For example, managing routine administrative paperwork can be delegated to support staff.

  • Neither Urgent nor Important: These tasks are low-priority and should be minimized or eliminated. Identify areas where you can reduce time spent, such as excessive email checking or meetings that don't yield significant outcomes.

#3: Delegate Wisely

Delegation is a strategic tool. Effective delegattion reduces your workload and also fosters professional growth and engagement among your team members. Here's how to delegate wisely:

  • Identify Capabilities: Understand the strengths and abilities of your team members. Assign tasks that align with their skills and interests. For instance, a math teacher might excel at data analysis tasks related to student performance.

  • Clear Communication: Provide clear instructions and expectations when delegating tasks. Encourage team members to ask questions if they need clarification.

  • Monitor Progress: Maintain open communication throughout the task's duration. Regular check-ins ensure that the task is on track and allows for adjustments if needed.

  • Acknowledge Contributions: Recognize and appreciate the efforts of team members who take on additional responsibilities. A culture of acknowledgment fosters enthusiasm and a willingness to contribute.

#4: Leverage Time Management Tools

The digital age offers a plethora of time management tools to streamline your workflow. Integrating these tools into your daily routine can significantly enhance your time management capabilities. 

  • Calendar Apps: Utilize digital calendars to schedule meetings, set reminders for important deadlines, and allocate time blocks for specific tasks. Calendar apps often sync across devices, ensuring you stay organized.

  • Task Management Software: These platforms allow you to create to-do lists, set priorities, and track progress on tasks. 

  • Collaborative Platforms: These tools offer features such as document sharing, real-time editing, and virtual meetings.

  • Progress Tracking: Implement progress tracking mechanisms for ongoing projects. Regularly reviewing project status helps identify bottlenecks and areas that require attention.

  • Automation: Identify repetitive tasks that can be automated. Email filters, autoresponders, and data entry automation can save considerable time.

Tip 4: Simplify Meetings

Meetings are notorious for consuming valuable time. To make the most of your meetings:

  • Set Clear Agendas: Ensure that every meeting has a well-defined agenda. Share it with participants in advance so they can prepare.

  • Time Blocks: Allocate specific time blocks for meetings and adhere to them rigorously. If a meeting is scheduled for an hour but can be concluded in 30 minutes, respect everyone's time and conclude early.

  • Focused Discussions: Keep discussions on-topic. If tangential issues arise, acknowledge them and schedule a separate discussion if necessary.

  • Actionable Outcomes: End meetings with clear action items and responsibilities. Follow up on these outcomes in subsequent meetings.

  • Evaluate Necessity: Regularly evaluate the necessity of recurring meetings. If a meeting consistently fails to yield meaningful outcomes, consider alternatives like email updates or collaborative documents.


Mastering time management is an ongoing journey that requires commitment and adaptability. Remember, time is your most valuable resource. Invest it wisely to unlock your full potential as a school administrator.

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