“Work Smarter not Harder”

There is an ever increasing workload given to teachers each year but unfortunately no more hours are materialising.

Unless teachers start working an unproductive 80 hour week we need strategies to accomplish more in less time. A 40 hour working week is the goal I strive for.

Each year I strive to find new ways to complete tasks more efficiently and I want to share with you some of the strategies that I employ to “work smarter not harder”.

1. Automate, automate, automate

If I can find a way to automate or partially automate a task I will. In the last few years mail merges, v-lookup tables and scheduling assistant have become my best friends.


Mail merges are great for creating individualised letters to parents and students, individualised learning plans for students, report cards, individualised emails, bulk password emails and more.


I mainly use v-lookup tables to complete large data set analysis.

Scheduling assistance is a feature in outlook that allows you to view availability of colleagues, meaning that you can book an appointment or meeting without needing to have a conversation to plan a meeting.

2.¬†Use “Impact vs. Effort”


I always consider before completing the task how much effort is needed to achieve the desired impact. For example if I need a list I usually just jot one on a note pad, as much as I like to use technology often the effort needed to make an electronic list is greater than that to create a paper list with the same impact.

3. Schedule


At the beginning of the year I create a base schedule using Outlook. This allows me to see where I have availability to complete large tasks, meet with students and staff


4. Use small portions of time to complete task.

10 minutesHaving a short time frame helps me to focus in on a task. I am a natural procrastinator and setting short deadlines always helps me to complete a task more quickly. For example if I need to make a video for a class I use the 10 minute house group time to record, edit and upload.

Those small pieces of time can add up to a lot of productivity in one day if you take advantage of them.

5. Done is done

As much as we all like perfection, everything we do cannot be perfect. In the last year once I complete a task, I publish for feedback if necessary and only make necessary modifications. Making a task perfect has very little additional impact for a much larger effort therefore adopt the “done is done” perspective.


These are my top strategies to complete more in less time. “Working smarter not harder” in 2018.

Working smarter not harder

What strategies do use to work smart?

Leave your strategies below in the comments or post on our facebook page.


About cmcaton

I am a Secondary Teacher and Head of Department Mathematics in Education Queensland. I am passionate about the development of pedagogy that engages the 21st century student and love to explore their implementation in the classroom. Disclaimer: The thoughts on this page are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Organisation, planning, Technology and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s