The Principal's Principles

A Middle School Principal, striving to make the world a better place, one day at a time.

What I’ve Been Listening To: Peter Bregman

For the past two weeks, I’ve been reading Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath. If you want to do some thinking about how you make decisions and a process that will lead to even better choices, pick up a copy. After reading and learning about the WRAP method that the Heath brothers outline in their book, I started going through some of the bonus material on their website and found a podcast interview with author and speaker Peter Bregman focused on productivity and matching your actions to your priorities. I’ve added the book 18 Minutes to my reading list, but while I wait for the Amazon delivery, I am going to put one of his ideas into practice.

Bregman advises people to take a paper and make 6 boxes. Inside 5 of the 6, he urges us to write our top 5 professional priorities. The 6th is labeled “miscellaneous.” At the end of each day, I’m going to sit down and look at the tasks I completed for the day and see where they fit into the 6 boxes. Ideally, 95% of my tasks should be in my 5 priority boxes, which you can see below.


As for mechanics, I’m going to post the boxes on a large paper in my office and at the end of the day, post my tasks on the chart with post-it notes. My goal is to spend 95% of my time on my priorities.

During the podcast, what I found interesting was Bregman’s statement that in general, most of the tasks people complete in a day while he is doing his consulting fall into the miscellaneous box, a major reason people don’t feel productive. If your tasks for the day are not fitting with your professional priorities, you are doing something wrong. Either your priorities are off, or you need to reflect on your actions.

This exercise fits very well into my vision for my year, which is “stay in your lane” (thanks to Dan Hickey for the inspiration), and I am looking forward to seeing if my actions match my priorities this week.


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