Do Stuff Together

Kendell Dorsey @acoupleofprinc1

Over this Christmas holiday season, I traveled to my hometown of Cincinnati. The day after Christmas I was relatively unscheduled. I knew I wanted to visit my 80+ year old cousin, who had been having a lot of recent health challenges. So, I took my great aunt over and we visited with him and his wife in a nursing rehab facility. He greeted us so warmly. He told me, “when you get older you’ll realize how important it is that people show up.” He talked about how close the larger family use to be and how people aren’t together like they used to be. Sadly, he’s right.

Since I was home in Cincinnati, there is a particular restaurant I enjoy eating at. I wanted to treat myself while I was “home.” I know my nephews like it too, so I invited my 2-20ish year old nephews to join me. It is always so interesting talking with them. When each one graduated from high school, my wife and I decided to take them on a little vacation as their gift. During dinner, they talked about how spending time and making memories mattered more to them than gifts or money. I was amazed by their reflections.

(This is my wife and I pictured with our nephews on our Florida trip celebrating Dylan’s graduation.)

Two different conversations, yet the same theme emerged. It appears your time and attention is one of the best gifts you can give. These conversations really moved me. I share this with you to say, “do stuff together.” In this day and time of enhanced technology, human interaction can be minimal. But spending time together makes the most impact on the lives of others.

Here are some ideas:

  • Have regularly scheduled game nights with family, friends
  • Visit elderly relatives, they often have a wealth of knowledge and family history
  • Invite others into your itinerary (going shopping or going out to eat)
  • Bring back eating dinner together (without phones)
  • Visit family members, friends (hang out) it doesn’t always have to be an event
  • Consider trips over gifts for holidays, birthdays or celebrations
  • Do normal activities together purposefully (i.e. cooking)

Now go out there and do stuff together. 😀

How to find the time to do it all? (Part 3: Work life balance)

time to do it all

It is interesting being a part of online educator groups.  It appears that low morale and frustration are at an all time high.  It also appears that educators are being asked to do more and more often with less and less.  Couple those challenges with working with the youth of today and it can downright be defeating at times.  It is important that you have work / life balance to really support your mind, body and spirit.  Here a couple of tips to help!

Leave work at work

Don’t even bring the bag home.  I discuss in earlier posts about finding and “calendarizing” the time to do work at work.  There something so euphoric about coming home and knowing your work is done.  You need that mental break and time to focus on your family and friends.

Socialize (with your colleagues)

Some of my best memories were having fun at lunch time with my colleagues.  While, there may be times where you have to get work done, life is short.  So, share stories, cut loose, laugh, it is good for the soul.  They have a common experience and it can often be a great way to let off some steam.  If you don’t have a lot of work colleagues then do this with your friends.  However, there is something therapeutic about speaking with those that have a shared experience.

Have something to look forward to

Is there a movie coming out your excited to see?  Do you have a new bottle of bubble bath you’re ready to try out?  Perhaps there’s a restaurant you have been dying to go to?  Is your favorite comedian coming into town?  What ever it is have something outside of work to look forward to over the weekend.  The anticipation of doing something you will enjoy you will help to minimize the stresses of work.  Then, do it!

Have a designated work start and work stop time

If you know you have more work than the work day allows.  Establish a time when you will arrive early or stay late and then don’t exceed that allotted time.  Work is important but it is not everything to your life.  You have to give your mind time away from work.

Find your sanctuary

As I get older, I am finding that being outside seeing nature really is a sanctuary for me.  I recently moved from Ohio to North Carolina and I just love the beautiful scenery of nature.  What is your sanctuary?  Do you make time to enjoy it as much as possible?

Educating our youth is of critical importance but so is your piece of mind.  Take time for you!

We hope you enjoyed the series!

  • Kendell Dorsey, A Couple of Principles

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How do I find the time to do it all? (Part 2: Email)

time to do it all



Kendell Dorsey, Dorsey Consulting Services
Twitter: @teachchrstn
Instagram: @kendellldorsey

Email can be one of the biggest time fillers of all!  When we think about work life balance, e-mail can be one of those things that really sucks up work time.

The goal is to leave work having completed your tasks and being able to focus on your personal life after hours.  The truth is that can be easier said than done at times.  The fact is often there is more to do within the work day than time to do it.  Here are some thoughts on how to minimize email’s impact on your work day.

Scan early in the morning

In the education world, there can often be information in email that you may need to know for your day.  I would always include a brief scanning of my email email into my daily routine.  I would not do much replying unless it was quick. The goal is to ensure there is nothing major I need to know for the day and if there is I can catch it.  I would save more closer reading and detailed responses for later in the day unless I had additional time in the morning.

Use folders and forwarding rules to your advantage

You can create folders in your email and have rules automatically forward particular email to a specific folder.  The great part about this is you could have folders for emails from particular people.  If there is a daily or weekly bulletin you can have them all in one place.  In addition, when folders have unread mail you have an indicator right away to check that specific folder.  To learn more about how to create folders and rules in Microsoft outlook, click here.

Read it once and then take action

This is great for email and regular snail mail.  Really work to read mail one time and take action.  If it is snail mail, trash it or file it for saving.  E-mail should be regarded in the same way.  File it in a folder for later, flag it for action or delete it.

Email at lunch

Part 1 of this series was about scheduling.  I would encourage you to consider reading and responding to email during  lunch time.  The time is short and forces you to focus on getting it done.  This allows you to have your full planning time for other tasks.

*Leave it for last*

Email can and will suck up your work time.  Opening email can often lead to more tasks outside of those you want to focus on.  The worst is when you’re on your plan bell, you open your mail and there is a message from an angry parent.  Then you find yourself re-reading the message, looking up evidence, crafting a response and BOOM, it is time for your next class.

MINDSET SHIFT!  If you had to chose work to take home why not have it be e-mail.  Think about it — email can be viewed and responded to any where from a smart phone.  You can check email at the mall, waiting in the car line for your child, sitting in your PJs in front of the tv.  You can answer email at any time during day at your convenience. Most importantly, you don’t have to carry home a bag of papers or curriculum materials to check email. Minimize email being a time filler during times when you want to be the most productive.

Looking forward to Part 3: Finding time!  🙂

How do I find the time to do it all? (Part 1: Calendarize)

time to do it all
Kendell Dorsey, Dorsey Consulting Services
Twitter: @teachchrstn
Instagram: @kendellldorsey

Grading, lesson plans, paperwork, email, phone calls, it goes on and on!  Add a bad day to that and you can certainly feel overwhelmed quickly.  When you have a moment of “free time” you can often become overwhelmed figuring out what to do first when it seems you have so much on your plate.  We can often waste valuable time deciding what to do or juggling between multiple things not doing anything completely.  Having a constant feeling of being unproductive can wear on you.  On the other hand, have you ever had that euphoric feeling of being caught up and leaving for the weekend with no bag (in the car) of papers to grade?  Hallelujah!  🙂

This post is for teachers, but certainly there may be others with similar concerns. Getting yourself to a place of productivity may require some mindset changes.


  1. You may not get all your work done within the scheduled work day.
  2. You may have to change habits that are time wasters during your work time.
  3. You may have to work differently.
  4. You may not get it all done.

Here are some steps to think about.

Step 1: Define your work day.

The ultimate goal is to leave work at work.  It may mean you have to come earlier or stay later.  However, it’s worth it to make the time sacrifice upfront so that you can have time in the evening and/or on the weekend.

You should determine what time you are coming and leaving work each day.  This allows you to have a clear space of time to get tasks done.  Some people are early birds, like me, and some like to stay after.  Once you have an established work time, live by it.  Your consistency in getting there and leaving “on time” will play a major role in your work life balance.  Disclaimer: it may be before students come and/or after they leave.

Step 2: Determine a dedicated time to do tasks each day and/or week

Think about all the required tasks you have, have you set an appointed time to do such tasks within your week?  Do you have a time to make phone calls?  Do you have a time to do lesson plans?  Do you have a time to do grading?

Lets’s be honest, for many teachers the designated planning time isn’t enough time to do all tasks given. Lunch time can also be a difficult time to get tasks done because it is short.  In addition, you need and deserve the mental break.   You can often lose valuable time having conversations, juggling between tasks or even trying to determine what you want to do with the time given.  However, you can take advantage of these times by having a clear plan for those times and being focused about getting work done.  Decide ahead of time what task(s) you are going to do during your plan and/or lunch and prep materials.

Carefully plan your before and/or after school time so that you can get the most of that time as well.  Have you ever thought about what a perfect week could look like when you get all of your tasks completed.  How could it happen?  What would it take?  Map it out!  Create a generic schedule of your work time, then follow it closely.  Make tweaks as needed.  Treat those times like appointments where you must get there and get tasks done right away.  Let’s be honest, life throws curveballs, but if you have a schedule to fall back on you won’t be too far behind when it does.  I have created a basic sample and this template will be available below.  Color coding is key!  🙂


When you have a schedule to fall back on, you won’t start grading during a time assigned for planning.  But you would also have an assigned time to do it.  There is something about knowing what you plan to do upfront, it makes you more productive.  The old saying, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.”

Sample:  PDF  Excel


Step 3:  What works best for you?

In Daniel Pink’s “When: The Scientific Secrets to Perfect Timing” he discusses the importance of knowing the times you work best and building your work around those times.  I am an early bird.  One year, I had a 1st bell plan.  I would get to school early AND have 1st bell plan, I was super productive.  BANGING!  🙂  Then I had 7th bell plan, OMG.  I never got anything done, it was terrible.  Plus, I was too exhausted by the end of the day.  In jest, I would tell my staff I could feel myself getting dumber after 4 p.m.  My wife, most likely, would be less effective with a 1st bell plan, as she is person who thrives later in the day.

Think about when and where are you most productive and build a plan that works around YOU!  Consider environment too.  Some people are not able to focus at home and will never be productive there.  If so, it is important that you set a plan where your work is done at work.  Inversely, some people may be more productive at home, place more time in the evenings and less at school.  Make it work for you.


In conclusion, I strongly believe there is something to having a plan in place.  You may not be able to work your plan all 5 days, but even if you get 3 good days in and you leave work with less to do you’ll feel more productive and happier.

What successful methods have you used to get tasks done?

Next in the series is about EMAIL!  Coming soon!  🙂

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How do I find time to do it all? (INTRO)

time to do it all


Do you feel like there are not enough hours in the day?  Are you frustrated when you have to take work home over the weekend when you just want to relax and unwind?  Does it feel like your work is never done? Are you then frustrated when you look at that bag of papers you brought home to grade that you never got to?   There is something important to know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Felecia recently posted a question in a Facebook teacher group.

Felecia psot.jpg

We thought there would be a lot of responses around student behavior, perhaps instructional practices, working with difficult parents but we were really surprised to see that the overwhelming majority of posts were about time management and organization!  WOW!

In this day and time the increase pressured on teachers is truly palpable.  Work life balance is a real issue that is necessary to work in education in this modern era.  The responses to her post have inspired us to start this series!  During the series we will give tips and resources of organization, mindset changes that will support time management and important ways to ensure there is a strong work/life balance.  We’re excited to provide this support and it is our sincere hope that it helps you be able to meet your needs and meet your goals!

This is all FREE.99!!  🙂  Absolutely free!

So follow us and let’s do this together!

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