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NYC Helpline: How To: Develop as a Professional

Calendar!
Theresa London Cooper

A wise and masterful supervisor once started all of her meeting with one word: "calendar!” Calendar is a simple concept that can have a significant impact on how you perform your duties and manage your life. You may be thinking, what does that mean. I will share this concept with you because I have found it extremely helpful in organizing my professional and personal life. Before the school year begins--and it’s not too late if the school year has begun--I purchase a 16-month paper calendar. I record the following information: 

  • All school holidays
  • Parent-Teacher conferences
  • Test dates
  • Scheduled meetings
  • School visits
  • Invited guest speakers
  • Out-of-town trips
  • Birthdays
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Dinner dates

The calendar helps me organize my thoughts, establish short and long-term goals and reflect upon my responsibilities for the year. It gives me focus, reminds me of the important upcoming events, helps me plan ahead and assists as I create my daily to-do list.

As a classroom teacher you can also record the birthdates of your students, assembly program dates, and your absences and lateness, which I hope are few. Recording your attendance will allow you to confirm the end-of-year rating sheet from your principal.

Some of my colleagues use electronic calendars or PDAs (Blackberries, cell phones, even iPods have calendar functions) because they are compact, easy to manage, stores tremendous amounts of information and can often be maintained and synched on your computer. There are downsides, of course. The learning curve for some PDAs can be steep, retrieving information can be frustrating, and electronic devices do malfunction, which can lead to data loss. (This has happened to some of my colleagues and they were frantic.) I prefer a paper calendar and pencil. Ultimately whether to get a digital or paper calendar is a question of your comfort; which ever works best for you is the correct choice. The important thing is to choose the format that you are most apt to use and maintain.

You might also consider whether or not you will keep one or two calendars. Some of my friends also maintain wall calendars, which serve as a daily reminder of where they should be. Of course these calendars are not as convenient to carry around so, you may want to do what I do and purchase a 16-month calendar that’s very thin and fits nicely into a handbag or briefcase.

Calendars work best when you are diligent about recording all of your appointments. At first, I kept separate calendars for my professional and personal appointments. I soon learned that this system was not effective because I needed my professional dates in order to schedule my personal dates. Now I have one calendar that contains both professional and personal dates. I don’t overbook. I’m more organized. And best of all, I know where I’m supposed to be and for what purpose, professional or personal.

However you choose to maintain a calendar, know that it is a worthwhile investment for busy, productive people like you and me.

E-mail Theresa.

See also:
How to Get Organized by Bonnie Glasgold

 

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