The art and science of decision making every teacher needs to know!

Decisions, decisions, decisions…

What theme will my classroom be?

What order will I teach my lessons?

How will I organise my day?

What will I do with my release time off class?

As teachers we make decisions all day long, some we know are coming, some surprise us. Some of us are good at decision making, quick and confident, while other slow, second guess and unsure. However you make a decision in your teaching life, I would assume you make decisions in your life the same way.

Some teachers choose resources quickly, other spend hours scrolling through interest, some take less time to reports while others spend hours pondering over semantic, some are quick to know what display to put up and how to arrange it while others are all over Instagram looking for ideas, and still, they can’t decide.

So why does this happened?

There is science behind decision making that is a must know.

Ever wondered why deciding what to have for dinner is so guard?

The brain can only make so many decisions in a day, and the best time to make a decision is in the morning, however, once we have made a certain number of decisions, every decision after that gets a little bit harder.

Think about how many decisions you make before you even leave the house:

What do I wear?

What top goes with this skirt?

What tie will match best?

What shoes will I wear?

How will I do my hair?

What will I have for breakfast?

And if you have kids you are repeating this so many times over.

These decisions are not that big to make, yet they easily decrease our decision-making quota for the day. Now add in decisions you don’t even know you are making because you are continually on autopilot, think driving, conversation and where to park.

Once we have used up our decision making space, the bigger tasks we normally face at the end of the day are that little bit harder; making decisions in a meeting, planning in teams and having to make decisions about what to teach, how to teach, what activities to use, writing reports and making decisions about what  to say for each child, it’s hard, these are big decisions.

But imagine if you could make these decisions just a little bit easier for you, quicker even, allowing you to get more done, be more productive and even save time. Well, you can.

There are some decisions you can make ahead of time which will ensure the decisions you have to make throughout the day are easier and in return, you can reap the benefits of more brain power to use around decisions which are just that little bit harder. I mean deciding where to park and deciding what to write on a report are two very different decisions to make.

So how do you reduce decision-making time on a daily basis? Simple. Make some decisions ahead of time.

Here are some simple decisions making changes you make now:

  • Decide what to wear the night before, organise all your outfits on the weekend or even wear the same thing every day like Steve Jobs.
  • Plan your meals in advance. You could try writing a meal plan and shopping for it so you know what dinner is each night, you can make you lunch for a week and have it ready each day or even perp all our meals on a weekend so the decision of what to eat at each meal is gone completely. (this is what I do and not only does it help with not having to make a decision, it saves me so much time!)
  • Plan your day and week. At the start of each week develop a rough plan for what you will do each day, then each morning or the night before break your day into 30min increments and plan exactly what you will do. This help so much with procrastination, you know the feeling ’Oh I am off class after lunch, what will I do?’, a decision to make which can easily be avoided. By doing this you will not only be more productive but also save even more time.

So there you have, 3 things you can start doing now which will ultimately reduce the decisions you make during the day, and in return allow you to make other decisions more quickly, easily and with less effort, meaning those big decisions like teaching and writing reports are taken care of.

I’d love to know how you go one you try this, please let me know and if you have more ideas on how to make decisions ahead of time I’d love to hear them.

 

 

 

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