This is an excerpt from my weekly Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week Newsletter. The newsletter is sent out every Sunday evening (Eastern Time). In my newsletter you’ll find my favorite tip of the week as well as a list of my most popular posts of the week. You can register for the newsletter right here.
I find that I answer the same questions fairly often in my email. Likewise, when giving students feedback on assignments I can often use the same comment from assignment to assignment and from student to student. Therefore, I have message templates stored in my inbox and have re-usable comments stored in Google Classroom.
If you’re an Outlook user, you can also create canned responses to use to answer frequently asked questions in your email.
This is one of many productivity tips that I picked up while reading Cal Newport’s Deep Work. Don’t ignore your email completely. Just ignore it until you actually have time to read it and respond to it. (My newsletter contained more information on this habit).
When it is time to tackle my inbox, I have some filters in place that help me prioritize messages landing in my inbox. (My newsletter contain more details and directions on this).
When planning your week, use email scheduling and assignment scheduling so that you don’t have to manually send messages every day. Every popular LMS (learning management system) contains a scheduling tool that you can use to write up a list of assignments and have them distributed on a schedule over the course of a week or month. Gmail users, you can schedule messages to be sent in the future. (My newsletter contained more information including tutorials on automation).
A Big Things List
My to-do list doesn’t include little things like “take kids to school” because that’s something that has to be done and can’t be put off for “later.” My to-do list has things that could be put off, but that I’d feel unproductive if I did put them off. For example, right now I’m trying with all my might to finish a big writing project. So on my to-do list I put “write 1,000 words.” It doesn’t have to get done that day, but I feel a lot more productive when I do get it done.