How to prioritise your workload

Prioritising day-to-day jobs is no mean feat; we took to Twitter to ask the SBM community how they do it…

Prioritising workloads is always difficult and, no matter how varied the SBM role may be, there’s one thing all of our readers have in common: simply not having enough hours in the day. Being a school business manager means having more fingers than most in far too many pies; this tweet from @WrexhamSBP a few weeks back perfectly illustrates this:

A full on week (when isn’t it!) managing to break the back of a lot of “bitty” stuff. Had an SLT mtg Thursday after school & was the 1st time in a while I have been strategic. This role is often a huge slice of operational stuff, without it the school cogs could start to grind.

The “bitty stuff” is some of the hardest to prioritise, often encompassing last-minute issues, pressing e-mails, phone calls that need to be made and people who need chasing up to do their own jobs so that you can do yours more effectively. We asked the Twitter education community how they normally prioritise their workloads – here’s what they said:

Firefight: Will someone land in jail? Is someone in danger? Will we end up in court? Will the building burn down? Are we losing money? 2. Improve: What needs fixing and how? What’s going to move us forward? What can I do to make things better/easier? Alternate accordingly! – @lauraljbusiness

Consider: By when will it need doing? What will happen if it’s not done? Who will benefit / what will the benefits be? And this shouldn’t be a criteria but it does creep in: does it look like an interesting task that I would really like to do? – @PeterhouseSbm

Set up lists, I use one note: HR, Finance, Premises, new Projects, Govs etc You can spend days fire fighting but that’s the job somedays. But know your limits and when you need time out. Work from home when distractions are too much can really help. Delegate where you can.

Chat to other SBMs; are they feeling the same? What are they doing different? Stop, reflect and get perspective on what’s really important. Meeting f2f with other SBMs can really help give you a boost. Build your network. Build your team. – @SbmCoventry

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Swallow that frog that’s been bothering you first. Look at the deadlines, distribute pesky jobs if you can, silence your email ping, drink more coffee. – @ruralSBM

How do you prioritise? Join in the discussion on Twitter: @edexec

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