Wondering when you’ll fit in some extra professional development or learning opportunities as an energetic high school counselor this summer or this school year? (Especially when you just feel like a TIRED high school counselor?) It’s possible! You CAN make time on your calendar if you commit to trying!
Here are 5 ways to use your calendar to position yourself as an energized high school counselor.
1- Use your calendar to figure out a system that works for you.
Are you a paper and pen kind of counselor? Do you have little sticky notes all over your desk to remind yourself of your mile-long to-do list? Do you go back and buy the same printed planner year after year because you know it keeps you organized?
Maybe you’re more of a digital high school counselor who uses Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal. (This is me!) I would be lost without being able to access my calendar and lists from all of my digital platforms at a moment’s notice.
When you’re working in your “zone of genius,” it doesn’t matter which one of these counselors you are… figure out the one that works best for you and stick with it. When you’re working within your “zone of genius,” even if it’s just to plan for your workday, you’ll feel more energized than if you’re doing something that is draining to you. (Be sure to check out “3 Tips for Taking Back Your Calendar” to get a better grasp on increasing your energy and your commitment to your students.)
2- Use your calendar in your work life and home life.
Block off times in each of these calendars for you to focus on your work that needs to get done. Minimize your distractions when it’s time to work. Plug your phone in across the room, turn it on “do not disturb,” or put it on “airplane mode” to keep yourself focused.
A lot of my summers were spent prepping for the upcoming school year or participating in school counselor professional development. Even in the summertime, you don’t need to be wasting time “working” and having nothing to show for it.
Especially if you’re participating in some sort of professional development outside of work hours, you want to make sure that you’re making time for the things that matter and balancing home and work well.
With a better balance between work and home, you’ll naturally start feeling re-energized and ready to go “all in” when it’s time to focus on work.
3- Explore other organizational tech tools.
Are there gaps that you’re missing related to technology that you’re not even aware of? Did you know there are tech tools out there to make you a more efficient high school counselor? They make take a minute to learn but slowly incorporating some (or whichever one) of these that you like best could drastically improve your efficiency and energy related to your job duties.
Have you tried Trello, Asana, Monday, or Airtable yet? You can find lots of tutorials online, and you can try out each of these platforms for free. I, personally, love Trello as a place to keep my personal lists and ideas for work and home. I love that the interface looks very similar whether I access it from my phone or my computer. Everyone will have different preferences for the platform they like to use (if any)!
I even go back to the basics that I use every day like Google Drive. A quick clean-up and organization of my files here (or in my computer’s downloads or desktop) give me a fresh start and keep me organized moving forward.
4- Put up an email away message in the summer or contracted time off, and use your calendar for YOU.
When you’re away from your computer, and it’s not time to work… don’t let your thoughts wander back to work. There’s no need to check your work email “just to see if there’s anything there that needs answering.” There is always work to be done, and it will still be there whenever it’s time to get back to work. If there is an emergency at work when you’re not there, someone will let you know.
Helping professionals (especially) need time away from work to re-energize before pouring out again. You deserve to recharge from a stressful job, and you get to decide where your time is spent when you’re not on the clock.
5- Use your calendar to prioritize what’s important.
Set deadlines and goals for yourself. Just because you’re away from work doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to think about it. That can be hard… especially if you love your job! DO give yourself space and freedom to think about work when YOU want to though.
If you need to open up a note in your phone or your Trello app to jot some ideas down, do it. If you want to grab a quick sticky note and write a reminder for work and leave it on your kitchen counter, go for it. If rest is most important for you in the summer, go all-in on disconnecting from your work world.
Shift your mindset. Reset your priorities, and revisit your values. Think about what YOU need in order to make a more profound impact on your students, your school counseling program, and your school overall.
Do you need a richer counselor community? Do you need professional development that energizes you? Do you need space to recover and dream about the future of your program? Your next steps are up to you… because only you know what you need next.
Imagine a world where you’re ready and excited to conquer the world as a high school counselor! The payoff for making time for these things will re-energize you, help you be more efficient, and motivate you to love your job even more!
Get your name on the waitlist for the Clique Collaborative, a high school membership community. You’ll be the first to hear when doors open next!