Thursday, November 16, 2017

Don't Let What's Urgent Keep You From What's Important

I bet you are a fantastic problem solver. Most educators have developed this ability because problems come at you all day long. And you make hundreds of decisions from dawn till dusk.

Our time is a precious resource that can be extremely scarce because of all the demands we face. If we're not careful, the tyranny of the urgent will consume us and may crowd out time for what's most important.

Can we agree that the things that are most urgent are often not the most important? Reflect on your day. There were things you felt had to be done. But at what cost?

When you spend all your time dealing with urgent matters, not considering what things would have the highest leverage for success, you are simply spinning your wheels. Lots of activity not going anywhere.

Benjamin Franklin dedicated 5 hours of his week to learning. His personal growth and learning was a priority. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah Winfrey also share this personal commitment to learn at least one hour a day and probably more.

You will never reach your growth potential if you are captive to the urgent.

We did a strengths finder with our staff about a year ago. It was a survey instrument that gave us feedback on our strength areas. We shared these out in a meeting and enjoyed reflecting on how our differences make us collectively strong.

But we all got a chuckle when I asked for teachers to raise their hands if love of learning (one of the characteristics) made their top five strengths. Surprisingly, in this sizable group of educators, only 2-3 teachers had it in their top five.

Of course, I think our teachers love learning. But I also wonder how much of a priority we are giving to our own growth and learning. I challenge you to spend at least 5 hours a week learning and see how it impacts your effectiveness.

For me, my learning each week involves reading, blogging, connecting with other educators on Twitter, and thinking and reflecting. 

Make time to support your own growth and learning and watch how it influences the learning and growth of your students.

The most successful people in the world are extremely busy and they are still finding time to read and learn consistently. Don't let the urgent things rule over you. Take back what's important and invest in your own growth.

How are you growing and making time for the 5-hour rule? What are you reading? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

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