Making Time for What Matters Most: Prioritizing Your Get-to-Do List

Session notes from “Making Time for What Matters Most: Prioritizing Your Get-to-Do List,” led by Greg Moffitt.

What was the speaker’s main message?

There are things you love about your job and things you don’t love about your job. The question you have to ask is how can you make more time for the stuff you love while still getting all of the stuff you don’t love (the tasks of the job) done? Ask yourself this question, “What do you want/need to do each day that will make a difference in your school?” Then, write it down and hold yourself accountable.

What was the speaker’s best quote?

Lead for equity; lead with empathy!

What were the top ideas from the session?

Use a grid to prioritize norms, Moffitt recommends:

  • Five classrooms per day (instructional practices)
  • Four things to update (newsletter, website, emails, agendas, etc).
  • Three times with kids (recess, lunch, before/after school)
  • Two check-ins with staff
  • One thank-you note
  • Plus one–#goodnewscalloftheday

If you have an accountability partner, you are more likely to be successful in accomplishing your priorities. Have someone help select classrooms to visit, have someone close (and guard) your door for 15 minutes so you can complete a task, have staff share student successes for good news calls and thank-you notes. Consider a remote accountability partner through Voxer or WhatsApp.

What is one strategy that you will implement immediately?

Create a School Hub–All the Links Fit to Print. This is a Google Doc/Sheet that has all of the links the staff may need to do their job (general information, schedules, reception/celebration, PBIS, family information, newsletters, SEL, district resources, meeting dates/info, shared drives/folders, special education, etc.).

What is one strategy that will help you with instructional leadership?

My Get-to-Do List

  • This list is a simple grid with Monday through Friday across the top and the five priorities down the left. As you complete them, check them off and if you miss them, just highlight the box as a reminder to pick it up tomorrow. This is not meant to be a gotcha or stress, just a simple reminder of your priorities.
  • Pro Tip: Add mission, One Word, goals, quote, or inspirational statements at the top to keep you motivated.

What is one idea you want to learn more about?

CSI Walks–this is an instructional walk strategy focused on Content, Strategy, and Impact

What are resources you will check out?

  • Get-to-Do List–example of Moffitt’s matrix that can be used to prioritize and schedule your week. 
  • Principals Hub–this shows how to set up a Google Sheet with All the Links Fit to Print to the resources your staff might need.

I can’t wait to tell my teachers about this idea:

Why do I have these priorities?

  • Instruction is at the top because it is where the magic happens!
  • Updates because it is what has to be done.
  • Visibility because it is where the kids are.
  • Check in with staff because if you take care of the teachers they are better prepared to take care of the kids.
  • Thank you note because centering on joy and gratitude is good for the soul and the brain. 
  • #goodnewscalloftheday to celebrate why we are here!

Notes by Todd L. Brist, principal of Watertown Middle School in Watertown, South Dakota.