Computer and notebook with yellow overlay and black text, staying organized using systems and procedures

Staying Organized in Your Classroom (And Life!)

I’ll be honest, I probably take classroom organization a little too seriously. I’ve found over the years, that having systems and procedures is the number one thing that can make or break you. Without systems and procedures it’s almost impossible to stay organized in your classroom (and life!)

Before we get started, I wanted to share with you the book that inspired my whole revolution. Atomic Habits by James Clear is an amazing book that can change your life by simply reframing your thinking. By putting into practice the things from his book, and some of the strategies I’m going to show you here, you’ll feel like a whole new person! You’ll be the organized person that everyone wonders, “How in the world do they get so much done in a day?”

We are going to talk about two major things – SIP and SOPs. I’ll briefly explain them, but I don’t want you to get too hung up on them – it’s not important that you accurately classify everything you do. But try to use these as guiding principals as you optimize your life and classroom.

Systems in Place

Having a SIP means having a System In Place. A SIP is a method to your madness so to speak.  It simply means you have a plan of how to do something.

Here’s a list of some of my SIPs:

-Making a market list

-Writing an IEP

-Cleaning the house

-Assigning/Collecting/Grading Homework

-Creating a new resource for TPT

It doesn’t need to be anything complicated,  Literally, just think of something that you want to be able to do without even thinking about it.  Something that you want to be so seamless that you could easily tell someone how to do it.

Standard Operating Procedures

How we transform that list above into actually doable things, is by making a set of SOPs, or Standard Operating Procedures.  This is where you get into the nitty-gritty of an item on your list.  It’s where you detail exactly what you will do or how you will do it.  Some of my SOPs I literally have written out, a step-by-step guide.  Some of them, I just know the order and what to do.  And some, ok all, of them I use ToDoIst to help me track. But, that’s for a future blog post!

Sample SOPs:

Here’s my SOPs for making a market list:

1)  Print a new copy of my market list

2)  Grab my monthly menu planner

3)  Clean out fridge, freezer and pantry.  Add any basic items that are needed to the market list.

4)  Write any meals that I already have enough ingredients for on the menu.

5)  Look at sale ad/coupons to plan out other meals for the week.

6)  Fill in any empty spaces on the menu with meals from the recipe book.

7)  Add ingredients to the market list for the meals from steps 5 and 6.

8)  Put list and menu on the fridge.

Why does this help me?  I can bust out an entire week of meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in about 30 minutes.  And, once I get to the market, I know exactly what I need and I rarely forget or run out of anything.  My process is so stream-lined, anyone could do it.  And, I’ve done it so many times that I can do it with automaticity.  I don’t have to think about each step.

Repeat that idea of having a standard operating procedure for the rest of the things in my life and everything runs so. much. smoother.

Ok, homework time! Make a list of things that you do every set amount of time (for instance, make a list of things you do every day, every week, every month, etc). Pick one or two of those things to write out your SOPs for. We’ll be using that list with a productivity app to help us stay on track in my next blog post!

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