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How to prioritise

How to Prioritise When EVERYTHING is a Priority (Part One)

 You know you need to prioritise ... but when you have a mountain of marking, clothes to wash, planning to finish AND you still haven’t bought your sister’s boyfriend’s best mate’s dog a present yet ...  it often seems easier to put everything off and do anything other than deal with it all.

We can help.

As well as making teaching resources that save you time, we’ve got a few ideas about how to get the rest of your To Do List, Done. Here is Part 1 of our special series on How to Prioritise so you can finish your day with a smile!


Children wanting the teachers attention

Feel like everyone AND everything needs your attention all at once? We feel your pain. Never fear, help is at hand…



Prioritise with the A-E Method

With this method, you will be allocating the letter A, B, C, D or E next to each task on your To Do list. But, wait. Before you start, think realistically and logically about how you allocate each letter. Although some things may feel like an A, they may, in reality, be a C. Here’s how it works:


VERY important

There will be serious consequences if you do not prioritise these tasks. Examples:
  • Booking a doctor’s appointment
  • Paying a bill
  • Finishing lesson planning for the week ahead
  • Preparing homework tasks for the weekend


Not as important as A, and only minor negative consequences if these are left. Examples:
  • Preparing for a staff meeting
  • Ordering resources
  • Finishing long-term or medium-term planning for later in the school year

Less important

Still important, but not as important as A or B and there will be no negative consequences for not completing this task. Examples:
  • Washing the car
  • Sorting out the mess in the spare room
  • Tidying your desk
  • Preparing slides for future lessons


These tasks can be assigned to someone else or even automated. Examples:
  • Food shopping – do it online, and get it delivered
  • Errands – perhaps you can ask a partner or a flatmate to help out?
  • Recurring classroom tasks – preparing spelling lists, writing notes in diaries, displaying children’s work. How many of these could you ask your hard-working Teaching Assistant to do? We’ve also got advice for NQTs and more experienced teachers about working effectively with Teaching Assistants.
  • Straightforward classroom tasks – putting out resources, or tidying up – how many tasks such as these can you get your children to do?


Find a way to get rid of each of these if you can to free up your time and feel less stressed – both mentally and physically. Examples:
  • Laminating, labelling or colour-coordinating things that don’t need it – stop doing it!
  • Excessive time on social media
  • Agreeing to favours or tasks that only benefit the other person


You can apply this method to any ‘To Do List’ in your personal life and/or school life. By improving how you prioritise you can begin to enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career and have a happier, more satisfying personal life. Regularly checking in with your list will help you stay on top of things without feeling overwhelmed.

Read Part 2 - Quadrants! (Not maths or Star Trek related, we promise.)

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