And what have we done?

14th December 2007 at 00:00
"So this is Christmas," goes the John Lennon song, "and what have you done?" A seasonal favourite which asks a question that often creeps into our minds at this time of year. You start in September so full of promise, with a list of things to do, and before you know it the leaves have fallen off the trees, the nights have drawn in and the longest term is over. Always there lurks the guilty feeling that the autumn-term action plan will have to be carried over to spring. Should more have been achieved by now?

Usually, the problem is not that we haven't done anything; it's that we're too busy to notice all the stuff we have accomplished. And just because we haven't achieved all we hoped doesn't mean we've been doing nothing. It's just much harder to value jobs that crop up and get sorted out immediately, as opposed to those "actions" we plan for and, perhaps, never get release time to do.

One of the first pieces of advice I was given as a subject co-ordinator was to value your time like you value your budget. You wouldn't spend whatever money you have at your disposal and not know where it had gone. In the same way, I was told, you should value your time and keep an account of how you spend it. I started to "budget" some regular time each week for my subject and began to write down the things that I had done. It helped identify what was eating too much of my time and reassured me that I was achieving something.

So this year, take one of the many diaries you will get for Christmas and use it to keep a record of what you do. Set aside just 10 minutes each week to think about what you've done and write it down. As you go through the year, you'll build up a picture of the work you are doing and put a value on the time you spend. So here it is ... Merry Christmas.

Peter Greaves, Deputy head, Dovelands Ptimary School in Leicester.

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