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December 13, 2012

Combination Innovation: Comprehensive Calendar + Upcoming To-Do List

Since we recently posted on keeping your Comprehensive Calendar in Outlook, we didn’t want to ignore our paper lovers. Here’s a nifty sample—a Comprehensive Calendar and an Upcoming To-Do List —all on the same page.

As teachers, we face two kinds of To-Dos:

  • Hard deadlines and appointments
  • Soft ambitions that require some advanced planning

Let’s look at Drew’s example below. He’s a Kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn, and a paper-based guy for most of his organizational tools.

What people prefer on their Comprehensive Calendars often varies.  Let’s look at what Drew chose to include on his:

  1. Deadlines, such as “Bulletin Boards Due” are listed across the top.
  2. Duties that happen at particular times during the month, such as “Breakfast Duty” and “Recess Duty” are noted on certain days.
  3. Special events, like “Improv 4 Kids” and “Pumpkin Farm” are planned.
  4. Personal travel (“Texas”) is also on here to help avoid calendar collisions.

Note how Drew does not include his hour-by-hour schedule here.

Drew’s Comprehensive Calendar is reserved for high-level and out-of-the-ordinary events that may be hard to keep baked in his brain on a busy teaching day.

Now, on to Drew’s Upcoming To-Do List. We love how Drew has listed items here that do not have hard deadlines. Instead, these are things he would like to accomplish in the month of October. Drew told us, “On the Upcoming To-Do portion, I put events that I need to plan for in advance, like classroom projects, travel arrangements, etc. Basically, things that are in the back of my mind the I don’t want to forget about.” Let’s review a few examples of what Drew decided to include.

  1. Plan and assemble TERC for week of 10/15. This gives him lead time against a deadline.
  2. Email lead parents description of new curriculum pieces. This is a small To-Do without a definite deadline.
  3. Create new attendance routine. This is an aspirational task Drew would like to accomplish in October.
  4. Create new bulletin board. This is affiliated with a deadline on his Comprehensive Calendar, but can happen any time before then.

So, how does Drew stay accountable to his Upcoming To-Dos even when they are not yet assigned a specific date on his calendar? By carefully reviewing his list each week and determining when he might accomplish the To-Do. We love this system because:

  • It avoids putting “fake deadlines” on your calendar. We all know what happens with those. . .
  • Items that Drew has memorized, like his teaching schedule, don’t clutter his calendar.
  • Drew has a place to record his aspirational work for the month!

We posed a few questions to Drew and loved his replies!

Q: How often do you review your Comprehensive Calendar and Upcoming To-Do List?

I review the calendar every morning as I look over the events of the day.

Q: Why did you decide to “go paper?”

I chose to go paper-based because I like the idea of being able to have it open in meetings, plus I guess I’m a little old-school that way 🙂

Drew, thanks for sharing with us. We hope October was as productive for you as it looks!

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