Work Like A Boss!

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

Are you efficient at what you do?

I believe all teachers are experts at working efficiently, but there are one or two things we can all do to work smarter …

You are already brilliant!

Let’s face it, when last did someone you know (working outside of the classroom), have 30 children follow them around all day whilst they try to get their to-do list complete?

Teachers are brilliant at getting things done!

Sometimes we believe we are inefficient, make mistakes and drop a few tasks.


Simply because we have far too much to do.

Whether it’s marking smarter, writing efficient lesson plans, or using online tools to work more efficiently, we can always do something else to work better.

Look for the problems, not the solutions

Whilst our safeguarding radars are always on, working smarter and more efficiently in the classroom begins with us.

Our mindset, our attitude and our approach to every lesson.

If we want our students to be independent, resourceful and independent, then we need to model that. I wrote in a previous post about how our perspective affects everything we do. We stay within our comfort zone and find excuses for why things don’t work.

Knowing when to quit

I recently made the decision to stop doing something, which I will share in a future blog post at some stage.


Because it was drawing upon all the energy and time I had which I currently need to use elsewhere. Knowing when to quit, pause or delay something is just as important as completing another task. In fact, it’s more important. It’s called prioritising, and it’s something we all need to do if we want to be more efficient.

There are 168 hours in a week.

  1. How many of those hours are you working for? On marking? Planning? In meetings?
  2. How many are you sleeping?
  3. How many are you spending with your family and friends?
  4. How many hours are you spending on your hobbies?
  5. How much time are you spending on your personal development?

All of these things are important.

Take an audit

The first step is to audit your time. How much time are you really spending on each task? You may be surprised.

The second step is to start prioritising.

What is the most important thing you need to be doing right now?

The third step is to start thinking about how you can be more efficient. How can you do more with less? How can you automate some of your tasks? How can you streamline your processes?

These things will help you be more efficient, but it all starts with you. It starts with your perspective. It starts with your commitment to the cause and with your approach.

So, what can you do today?

Well, to get started you could try Eisenhower’s urgent and important matrix.

You might like to try a paper-based Kanban board which organises tasks in a visual way which helps to identify priorities and move tasks from initial concept to completion.

I’ve been using Trello for five years, an online version of a Kanban board, with checklists and the ability to tag team members. Trello has been brilliant for helping me organise all the different schools and clients I work with.

It ensures no task is dropped!

Many of you will know that I have been emailing over 60,000 teachers for many years, and the insights I learn from the open and click rate determine what information I should share in the future, and when and how efficient it needs to be.

This data makes me more efficient too!

I’ve recently started using Streak – a content resource management (CRM) tool – which will be familiar to many organisations in business. I’ve been aware of it, but I’ve never had the capacity or desire to start using it as a teacher. I’m into month three and I can already see a dramatic change in how efficient I am working.

I am often reminded about the tools that we use and what difference they would make to me as a teacher and school leader. If only I could give you a small glimpse under the bonnet of @TeacherToolkit, it would all make sense …

Then there are the tools we want to use and the ones we’re told to use, but that’s another story.

I’m not here to sell you anything, but I am here to tell you that you can work more efficiently! You just need to learn to see how … and where … and when.

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