Time After Time

When we have many tasks to accomplish and we’re taking inventory of the available resources for these tasks, rarely do we identify time as a resource. Not only do we not identify time as a resource, most of us don’t even acknowledge that it’s our most valuable resource amongst all things.

Well, you may say, “What about money, people, tools,…” but you can’t use any of those things if you don’t have time. You may even say, well, you really can’t do anything without money. While that may be true, if you spend or lose money, there is potential for earning more but with time, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So, whenever someone asks me about the most valuable resource, I always say, “Time.” So, how do we identify, utilize, and maximize our most valuable resource when planning and implementing our lessons?



STEP 1: Acknowledge that time is your most valuable resource.

This may seem self-explanatory but you need to acknowledge that time is a resource and your most valuable one at that. Once you consciously and continuously identify time as your most valuable resource, you are less likely to ignore its importance in any task you plan. This then often becomes part of the quantity vs. quality debate but they’re not mutually exclusive; in fact, I would argue that you are unable to get to the quality if you don’t have the quantity.


STEP 2: Set up structures to maximize the time you have.

When teaching a lesson, or conducting any other activity, if you’re unsure if you’re wasting time, have an observer use a timer and document each aspect of your lesson. Or, you could videotape your lesson, if that is permissible, to identify where there are gaps or time wasted to which you were unaware. Then, put structures in place to minimize the waste. For example, take attendance while the students are working on their opening task, assign a student to distribute materials while you’re still teaching, ensure that all tools students need are easily available. It may only cost you three or four minutes here or there but the wasted time adds up.



STEP 3: Stop multi-tasking.

Ok, ok, maybe you can’t stop multi-tasking. (I must admit, I do feel a tad bit hypocritical for advising that you stop multi-tasking totally since I can’t even recall a time in my life when I’m not doing or thinking about at least 3 different things at one time but…I’m still a work in progress.) So, if you’re like me and your circumstances typically prevent you from focusing on one task, then make a conscious effort to minimize the multi-tasking tremendously. I view multi-tasking like a computer with multiple windows open. Yes, your computer can handle multiple tasks at the same time but it doesn’t handle any one task as well as it would without the additional windows/tabs open. And, when there are too many windows open, sometimes the computer freezes, crashes, and doesn’t recover.  So, focus on the task at hand and do it well. You can tend to the other tasks later, during the time you have designated for them.




Acknowledging the significance of time will not only provide the potential for improved lessons, it will also allow you to be more productive within the time allotted for professional tasks. Consequently, you will have more time for other things of importance in your life like family, friends, and hobbies.