A New School Year…

So tomorrow starts the official beginning of a new school year for me! This will be my 7th year in the classroom and it feels good! At times the new school year feels like a beacon of light – 130 new students & families to get to know & a fresh way of approaching curriculum material. At other times it feels like the calm before the storm – the never ending stack of papers to grade, e-mails to answer & phone calls to return. As I approach this new school year all I can think about are the facts – I need to be able to balance my work and home life effectively. How do I plan to do that?

Routines, routines, routines! It can be overwhelming when I look at everything that I need to accomplish at once, so rather than do that, I’ve decided to take things one day at a time. While I will never be able to get everything done and remain caught up on all of my projects, I’m okay with that and I’ve accepted the fact that in order to accomplish my goals I have to make progress slowly but surely each day. Another big piece to this puzzle is organization! I do not want to waste time looking for things this year. Here are some of my routines that I plan to use:


  • Check & respond to e-mail (twice per day)
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Open the mail & sort it into “to file” bin
  • Write in paper journal (even if it’s just one sentence)
  • Back up Mac on external hard drive & sync iPhone w/ calendar/contacts
  • Pack lunch & iron clothes before going to bed
  • Make to do list for significant other
  • Hula hoop/exercise
  • Make a list of 3 MITS (Most Important Tasks) to accomplish for the day and write them on index cards


  • Sort & file paperwork
  • Clean out work bag & purse (old receipts, candy wrappers etc.)
  • Update blog
  • Make a meal plan for the week
  • Do laundry
  • Read google reader feeds
  • Pay bills & update budget


  • Hair, nail, eyebrow appointment
  • Clean out refrigerator
  • Purge e-mail inbox


  • Take clothes to the cleaners
  • Evaluate monthly goals
  • Print new photos for scrapbooking


  • Conduct an annual review
  • Purge files
  • Gynecologist + annual physical.

I am hoping that this little checklist will help me to keep things in order and to not allow stuff (literal and mental) to pile up until it gets out of control and I HAVE to do something about it. I made a pretty one sheet document that has everything laid out and I have it printed & plan to keep it in my purse/family binder. For the most part it focuses on home. I plan to also do one for work. I’m approaching this new school year proactively.

What do you do to maintain control and order? What routines do you have set up to make your life easier?

2 thoughts on “A New School Year…

  1. I love this post, Donnie! Fall is definitely a time of renewal and re-evaluation for me (versus January; it must be the student/teacher in me, lol), and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can streamline and be more efficient in my daily/weekly/monthly routines. I’m still figuring it all out (today is my second day of classes at Berkeley!), so the only thing that I can confidently block off right now is my gym schedule. I’m still trying to wrap my head around paper/paperless organization …

    1. I’m always re-evaluating and re-organizing lol. I tend to do a lot of work re-organizing in the Fall and personal in December. I get wrapped up in the Resolutions craziness lol. Paper vs. paperless is a constant struggle for me. As time goes on I do feel like I’m becoming more digital. My entire schedule/contact database is digital, as are most of my teaching materials. Thanks for stopping by!

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