Using GTD as an Elementary School Teacher

Posted 09/18/14 by James and filed under:

Every once in a while we like to take a look at a specific profession and talk through how GTDNext could be utilized. These are just ideas and a starting point for people to run with. With school starting we focus on teachers in this article. 

Teachers have a very tough job. Keeping track of curriculum for four or five subjects, how far along each child is with specific assignments and  projects, who has handed in their assignments, grades, parent teacher conferences, school projects.  It’s a never ending list and it’s very tough to keep track of it all.  GTD can be very helpful in these types of chaotic situations.

Top Level Organization

From a GTD perspective one way to approach this challenge is from an “areas of focus” perspective.  While GTDNext has a dedicated “Areas” filter, that is meant for an even higher level than areas within your job role.  With GTDNext you can create large outlines of sub-projects.  You could create one top level Project for each area of teaching. This is probably the best way for teachers to keep their work areas of focus organized.

For example you could have a “Teaching Plans” top level project as one of your areas of focus as shown in the picture below.


Another area of focus could be Parent Communications.  You could create many different parent communication projects under the main top level project of “Parent Communications”


Getting things into the System


Teachers are known for their heavy use of sticky notes.  That’s great!  Sticky notes are a great way to record thoughts and actions as they come up during the day.  The problem is, what do you do with them next?  How can you make sure that all those ideas are turned into solid actions and plans?

A great way to handle this would be to have a central inbox on the teachers desk where all inbox sticky notes go after they are created.  Then at the end of each day, the teacher can open up GTDNext and enter all the sticky notes found in the inbox into GTDNext.  If short on time, just use the quick add feature to add them to your inbox and process later.  Or if more time is available then type them directly into the project or area they below.


Using the System to Drive your Work

After getting organized and planning out your tasks it’s time to do them!  Using the Next Action list and the focus list will be very helpful for teachers.  Spending a few minutes each morning to tag next actions to do for the day with the focus tag will help keep the day running smoothly.   After prioritizing the day, switch to the focus list and manually drag the items into the rough order you would like to accomplish them during your time for the day.

Keeping the System Working

One of the most important parts of GTD is the weekly review.  Teachers are short on time, so being prepared and making the most of time available is key.  This is where the checklist feature in GTDNext can come in handy. During the weekly review the teacher can review a checklist created in GTDNext to make sure they quickly think through all the areas needed to keep the classroom running smoothly.


To Sum it Up

Teaching is such a complex job that this short post can hardly do justice to all the organizational needs of elementary school teachers.  It’s really intended to be a starting point for your thinking and a way to prompt additional thinking on ways to better utilize GTD in your job as a teacher.

Have a great and productive year teachers!