My new school year started today. Like most teachers I’ll have more on my plate this year than I did last year. Being efficient with time is going to be more important than ever. Here are five simple things that I do to improve my use of time. Hopefully, one or all of these tips will help you too.
Use Message Templates/ Canned Responses
Both Gmail (G Suite for Edu mail) and Outlook will let you create message templates that you can quickly use as responses to emails or as the basis of an entirely new email. This video will show you how to use Canned Responses in Gmail.
If you’re an Outlook user, you can create canned responses to use to answer frequently asked questions in your email. Here’s a good video overview of how to create and use canned responses in Outlook.
Use Email Filters
Not every email needs an immediate response. Not every email needs to be stored in your primary inbox where it clutters and distracts from the task at hand. Create email filters to organize and prioritize the messages landing in your inbox. This video and this video will show you show how to create filters in Gmail and other G Suite-based email accounts. Outlook users, this video is a good place for you to start to learn about using filters and folders.
Use Scheduling in Your LMS
Every popular LMS (learning management system) contains a scheduling tool that you can use to write up a list of assignments and have them distributed on a schedule over the course of a week or month.
Block Your Social Media Distractions
Those times when we check Facebook or Twitter for “just a minute” are never just a minute and they quickly suck time out of our days without adding much, if any, value to them. Use a Chrome extension like ReCall Study Time or Stay Focusd (intentionally misspelled) to limit the amount of time that you allow yourself to spend on social media sites.
Schedule Reminders and Task Lists
Gmail and Outlook offer built-in tools for setting task reminders. I use the built-in task reminder in Gmail throughout my day. This short video shows you how to use that feature. Outlook users should follow this tutorial to learn how to create task lists.