Daily 3’s: “Chunking” The To-Do List

Time management can be challenging for any one, but for teachers it can be particularly difficult. One of the strategies many people use for tackling a variety of tasks is “chunking”. Chunking breaks tasks into categories. In other words, rather than organizing a “to do” list by preps or classes, organize and complete your tasks by “chunking” like activities together.

My daily to do list used to be organized by class and looked like this:

1st period: Grade recent projects, call home regarding student x, review tomorrow’s lesson. Finalize rubric for next project.

3rd period: Grade recent projects. Finalize rubric for next project. Call students y & z. Solidify ideas for future projects.

Misc: Complete academic intervention forms, email guidance counselor

4th Period, 5th period and 8th period would have their own to do lists as well. That makes for a lot of lists!

Now I use task-oriented categories and limit each to 3 unless absolutely necessary. This way I can “chunk” like tasks together. It makes for a more organized list and a better use of my time. I use the following four categories for every list. I call it my “Daily 3’s”.

Phone calls: students x,y and z (turns out today I only had to call 1 parent)

Lesson planning: Finish rubric for next studio art project, finish rubric for next advanced art project, solidify ideas for future studio art projects

Grading: Period 4 project, Period 5 project, Classwork for periods 1&8

Misc: Complete academic intervention forms, email guidance counselor

What techniques do you use for time management? How do you organize your to do list?