What business gurus can teach schools about managing a massive workload

Tuesday, 25 July 2023 by Weduc

In recent decades, there’s been rafts of books that have taken the business world by storm. Some of these books are considered to be so effective and influential they’ve become iconic.

There’s no reason these books shouldn’t share their secrets with school teams. After all, school workloads can feel increasingly demanding and unmanageable. You need whatever help you can get for ramping up productivity and keeping disorder to a minimum.

So, what can you learn from the finest business brains?

That massive workload that keeps mushrooming, no matter how hard you try to keep it under control - can some of these influential corporate hacks really help you boss it like a pro?


Productivity hacks from the boardroom to the classroom

'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change' by Stephen R. Covey

Covey advocates freeing up time to concentrate on the tasks that make a difference. In order to achieve this, you need to downplay the trivia that doesn’t generate results in the greater scheme of things.

Teacher Matthew Lynch learnt lots about defining goals and priorities from Covey. So much so he gave the book a nod in an article for Edvocacy, which he called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teachers’.

In his article Lynch warns, “Sharpen the saw. Don’t work yourself to death. Teaching can be one of the most labour-intensive careers if you let it. The trick is finding ways to work smarter and not harder. It means being as efficient as you can be, always.”

John Rampton selected a pivotal quote from Covey’s book for Entrepreneur Europe: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your scheduling app but to schedule your priorities.”

What lessons can school teams learn from Stephen R Covey?

It’s all well and good for Covey to be pushing entrepreneurs to set priorities. They’ve likely got teams of minions doing their bidding for them, so they can get on with changing the world.

How can you apply these principles in school?

Say you’re a key player organising the next parent’s evening or open day? You’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm, and not enough hands-on-deck or extra hours on top of your ‘day job’.

Perhaps it’s time to prioritise working “smarter not harder”?

A parent’s evening booking feature on a school app is the perfect tool to help you do just that, enabling you to:

  • Tailor parents’ evenings to your needs (and the needs of parents, too).
  • Offer automated appointment booking that removes the need for having to write and send letters, confirmations and reminders to parents.

And how about making a complete digital switch to remote parent’s evenings if you’ve not gone the whole hog already?

Imagine the vast reduction in the amount of primping and preening that goes in to getting school ready to receive and impress visitors.

'Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity' by David Allen

This book is often considered the book about getting next level organised. In it, Allen teaches a framework for compartmentalising and managing your workload.

An Amazon customer was so impressed they described the book as “a truly life changing system” that “should be taught in schools”.

Back at Entrepreneur Europe, John Rampton selected a key quote by David Allen as an all-time great productivity hack: “Getting things done requires two basic components: defining (1) what “done” means (outcome) and (2) what “doing” looks like (action).”

What lessons can school teams learn from David Allen?

Aligning the “doing” and the “done” sounds like an intriguing possibility, right?

But how do you square workload management with an ever-growing heap of obligatory administration that make your head spin?

Let’s take the sheer volume of forms in schools as a prime example.

There are forms to be created, sent and monitored in schools for most things under the sun. Students changing address… new dates for the after-hours computer club… a heads-up about the next school trip to London… a request for donations for this year’s charitable Christmas Appeal. You name it, there’s most probably a form or several for it.

Take the pain out the “doing” and get “done” more quickly and efficiently. Form features linked to your school app automate this manual time suck by:

  • Building forms
  • Sending forms
  • Collecting responses

'How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do' by Graham Allcott

Doing good business is all about priorities, priorities, priorities for Allcott. He’s a disciple of sorting the wheat from the chaff to make lighter work of both.

The author himself wrote for Management Today, “Are emails, interruptions and unnecessary phone calls sucking the productivity out of your work day?... The truth is we spend a lot of time distracting ourselves at work with things that may occasionally add some value, but that are not what really generates the impact, profit or change that we’re paid for.”
Sounds familiar? It does to productivity and professional learning expert Martine Ellis.

She wrote for LinkedIn, “Teachers and trainers are some of the busiest people I know, so this is a must-read”.

What lessons can school teams learn from Graham Allcott?

The fact ‘death by email’ is universally hated hasn’t stopped anybody from doing more and more of it. It’s as negative for teaching staff as it is for a crack corporate team.

An inbox that grows and grows the more you feed it is soul destroying. There’s a school to run, for goodness’ sake

The solution for many schools and Trusts lies in a purpose-designed school communication app like Weduc. It’s your knight in shining armour when communications overkill is threatening to eat you alive.

Here’s the thing. Most people live on their mobile phones these days. So, why aren’t you harnessing the technology that’s just a click of a button away for battling one the biggest school resource thieves?

A school app is ingenious for cutting through swathes of unnecessary individual communication with various stakeholders.

Instead, you can communicate announcements, events and news with all stakeholder groups or specific groups to suit.

A school app helps you practice what the gurus preach

Non-teaching admin in schools generates a humongous amount of additional work. Communication is a major part of this. So, alignment of it is one of your best friends.

Being able to pulling it all together in to a single user-friendly platform is a game changer for getting on top and staying on top of your non-teaching admin.

At Weduc, we’re experts at helping school teams boss time consuming and overwhelming non-teaching admin.

We’ve already harnessed many of the common themes running through these global bestsellers, themes like:

  • Improved productivity.
  • Streamlined processes.
  • Wasting as little time as possible on the micro to better equip yourself to contend with the macro.
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