Daycare supervisors have to be able to juggle a lot of brightly colored balls in their average workday.
Not only do they have to oversee all operations in their center, but they have to deal with sometimes challenging children and a few high maintenance parents. Employee management and training also fall under their purview along with educational program development and regulatory compliance. For many supervisors, especially those new to the industry, the hours can disappear without managing to complete the essential elements of their ‘to do’ lists.
That’s why time management skills for daycare supervisors can mean the difference between enjoying the day and struggling through it.
While the ideal scenario is you working smarter with a concrete plan you stick to come hell or high water, we’re all human. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of tips that will make time management for daycare supervisors become a piece of cake.
Open Door Policy
Yes, it sounds marvelous to tell a parent that “my door is always open” until you are inundated with so many drop-ins you can’t get a single thing done. So, what can you do?
The first thing is to establish set open-door times. Send these time slots via email or newsletters so they know when they can visit with their questions or concerns. During your regular hours, you can place a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. During these closed-door sessions, assign a colleague to call answering duties.
Make sure that everyone understands that you have other things that are a priority, and ask them not to interrupt you unless it’s a real emergency.
Switching between tasks and activities requires such a shift in focus that it can result in lost time and lost nerves. Every time you stop your task at hand to answer and email that has just popped up, you are fragmenting your focus. Do better for yourself and schedule tasks in batches so that you aren’t at the mercy of constant emails and phone call interruptions.
Prioritizing your ‘to do’ list is also essential to planning your day. Choose to only check and answer emails at a few designated time slots.
Planning out your work week in batches will help you stay on top of your job commitments but don’t forget to take breaks. Use the Pomodoro technique for scheduling breaks, or just close the door and give yourself the breathing air you need.
Realistic ‘to do’ Lists
If your ‘to do’ list is daunting, you might get overwhelmed by it.
Don’t put down every single thing you have to do in the week –just focus on a realistic list of what can be achieved in one day. You will quickly become demoralized if you can never get on top of your tasks. You want to leave the office feeling like you have achieved something, not depressed from not completing an impossible to do list.
Do you leave things to the last moment? Do you rush around doing a million things except for the tasks you need to complete? Just do them. Sit down and finish it. There may be a lot of things on your mind, as well as a bunch of other tasks, but focus on what you are doing right now and don’t let yourself think about the rest.
It’s no good making schedules that you can’t execute.
When you put a plan into action, track your daily activities to get an overview of the actual length of time it takes to complete a task. You could be underestimating the time it takes to complete a specific job. When you start to get a handle on the time each task takes, you can create a much more realistic plan for your work week.
Keeping a time log which includes your fluctuating energy levels during the day will alert you to which tasks are best to schedule for which hours. When is your energy the highest? Plan to tackle the hardest tasks during this time.
Come up with systems that support your work requirements. You need to have well-ordered documents and folders on your computer for easy access. Your physical office environment must also be free of clutter with filing cabinets that are easy to access and manage.
Your tasks remain but it’s much easier to do them when you know the exact location of every resource.
Don’t Be a Solo Hero
You are part of a team – delegate.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to do everything yourself. If you need extra help, ask for it. If that requires you to hire more people, look into other ways of earning extra revenue like Hopping In, which lets you earn more by filling up unused or newly vacant spots.
This requires saying ‘no.’ You won’t be able to be everything for everyone so save your energy for the requests that matter.
Although time management for daycare supervisors is a special field that could always use more insight, these tips can help you get more quality time in your workday. No matter if you need more time in the short or in the long term, stick to them – especially to saying ‘no’. It can be hard but it pays off.
You also need downtime because in spite of how much you like your job, you need your me time, too. After all, it’s you who needs to make your daycare even more successful.
Author: Hopping In Blog
Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps childcare centers and family daycare providers fill unused spots.
To contact him or for media inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org