Too Much to Do: Amy’s Time Triage Tool

Oct 19, 2016

It’s that time of year again: Comprehensive Calendars are set, To-Do’s are a-poppin’, and it always feels like there’s just too much on our plates. So what do we do when we find ourselves in this situation?

We cannot create time, but we can rearrange it. Amy D., a principal manager in Brooklyn, shared the Time Triage Tool she uses to coach busy leaders who are full of To-Do’s. While no Together system can save you from too much work, no matter how much you have it under control, it can help you see the entirety of what you have to do – which can quickly add up!

Amy says, “A talented senior member of my team was struggling with all of the requests for time coming at him. He was unclear on why his calendar was filling up beyond capacity. I realized there was a way to take inventory and bucket his tasks into 4 categories for us to problem solve together.”

Let’s look at how Amy organized this.

Amy and her team member decided what should and shouldn’t be done by considering:

  • What is aligned and/or critical to this year’s goals and priorities?
  • What is essential for priming for next year’s goals?

According to Amy, her team member was able to make connections like, “Yes, I should be coaching these 2 people right now but since they are working on the same skills, I could be doing this more efficiently by bringing them together in one meeting.”

Amy was also kind enough to walk her own workflow through a bit of Time Triage:

  • New York Middle School Culture Audits. Keep doing; they are high leverage (norming together, quality feedback to the school, principal development). A great use of 2-3 hours! GREEN!
  • Network-wide attendance system suggestions.  It’s not a critical problem, but it could add value. I’ve suggested where ownership should fall and what process is needed, but it’s not critical to this time of year. I’m not uniquely positioned as the only person to do this. I need to get this off my plate rather than engaging further. YELLOW!
  • I’m coaching six Regional Superintendents on quality “close out” conversations with principals. I could raise this as an option for us all to address together in our monthly meeting so we can efficiently build skills as a cohort. BLUE!
  • I was asked to submit High School Regents performance data to share with our board.   I’m not the only one who could do this and Achievement Directors are actually better positioned to roll this up. I need to suggest a better way. RED!

Any readers want to volunteer to run their To-Do’s through Amy’s Time Triage Tool? I’d love to see how it works for you!

And don’t worry, we will revisit ways to say no nicely in a few weeks!