Bracket Your Day with Consistent Routines

Bryan ZwemkeBlog, Manage Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier

TL;DR:

  • Structure the beginning of your day to have a consistent routine. 
  • Before leaving work, clean up your email inbox by returning all messages from the day.
  • As you end your day, create a system to keep track of items that need to be addressed the following day. 

As school leaders begin their school year supporting their students, staff, parents, and community, it is important to take some time to develop routines that create a consistent and predictable way to bracket your day. Our jobs as school leaders have certainly evolved beyond the building and the access to us as leaders is far-reaching.

That accessibility is helpful and supportive to our ecosystem but comes with a cost to our mental health, time with family, and time for self-care. Email and social media are excellent two-way communication channels but should not dominate your day. 

Our jobs as school leaders have certainly evolved beyond the building and the access to us as leaders is far-reaching. Click To Tweet

Consistent Routines at the Start of the Day

I love technology. My alarm clock is a Google Hub, I use an Apple Watch, and have an iPhone. I just don’t love that much technology before my workday begins. This school year, I get my workout and do not touch my phone until I am going to leave for work. I carve out 45-60 minutes to work out, get ready, and get something to eat before looking at my devices.

If there is something that needs to be addressed, I have a commute to make a call or have enough time in the morning to respond to an email or look at socials. This has been liberating in the morning to focus on the part of the day that I can control the most. 

Consistent Routines at the End of the Day

Before leaving work, I try to clean up my inbox by returning all messages from the day. If an item will be addressed the following day, I use Google Keep/Tasks to flag the item for the next day as a reminder. This helps take the notification off the phone and sets the stage for the next day. In the evening, I will take one more look at the device which includes emails and socials. This year, I have tried to do that with enough time to process any issues before calling it an evening. 

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Exceptions to the Rule

Anything related to safety is an exception to the rule. If I get a phone call, a hit on the anonymous tip line, or an email related to safety, self-harm, bullying, or any other item that can be considered, then the routine goes out the window. 


About Bryan Zwemke

Dr. Bryan Zwemke is a High School Principal in Illinois. He is an active member of multiple educational organizations, including being a guest blogger for the Teach Better Team, sharing his insight on supporting the entire ecosystem that exists in every school building. Bryan completed his qualitative research on building a school system’s social capital through social media. Through his work in this area, Bryan continues to partner with districts to show schools the power of sharing their story through a strategic framework and empowering staff and students to share their voice.