On my recent trip to Mississippi, Braxton S., a high school principal, showed off his Together System. Yowsa, look at that fancy Weekly Worksheet on the front page! More to come on this baby later.
For now, I want to showcase what I was really intrigued by – the Unplanned Meetings section of Braxton’s planner. See below for a close-up of this brilliance.
OF COURSE! Principals are so often grabbed, ambushed or accosted for meetings not on their schedules. Whether it’s a cafeteria crisis, student emergency, or family in need, we must be at the ready!
Braxton explained why he created a template for Unplanned Meetings like this: “In my line of work, unexpected meetings pop up all the time. Some are really important and some not so much, but I still want to make sure I can refer back to any important ideas that arise. For example, one of my veteran teachers unexpectedly came to my office during her planning period to suggest ways to revamp the our peer observation structure.
In the past, I would completely forget what those kinds of conversations were about. But with this template, I can hold on to some of the great ideas that unexpectedly come my way!”
Many of us have templates, systems, or habits to capture notes from our planned, recurring meetings of the day, but the on-the-fly opportunities can get lost. This can easily happen to me, and it’s when I revert to post-its, notes-in-the-margins, or emails to myself – all to never been seen again!
Of course, in the era of tools like OneNote and Evernote, I did ask Braxton why he handwrites his notes. His reply? “I am so old school. I just enjoy writing and I enjoy color. I also can process things faster by writing than typing!” Research supports this here.
And naturally, I also wanted to know when Braxton returns to his notes. Looks like he’s got this part figured out too: “It’s part of my Friday Meeting with Myself. I look back at planned and unplanned meeting notes to see what I need to do in the upcoming week. This has helped me keep a lot of deadlines with my teachers, especially if I told them I would get back to them by a certain date!”
I could see this working well for anyone in a situation where people gather at the last minute, or if you work in a culture prone to pop-ins. Social workers, school nurses, office secretaries, busy superintendents, and more!
Braxton, thank you for the inspiration. Even the unplanned can be planned and tamed!