As I sit reflecting on a full Monday of school following a four day weekend for our students, I realized that I spent half of my day in quadrant II while the students were in school and the other half of my day, when students were not in the building, in quadrant I. Unfortunately I also dabbled a bit in quadrants III and IV, both when the students were in the building and when they were not in the building.
Image from Steven Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"
Quadrant I activities for the day included meeting with a group of students while investigating an issue which occurred last week (pressing problem), restraint training with a couple of staff members (deadline-driven meeting), organizing restraint training for five staff members (deadline-driven meeting), and a formal teacher observation (deadline -driven report).
Quadrant II activities for the day included meeting with a student and his teacher to develop a better relationship (relationship building), preparing for the EXPLORE test administration with a teacher (preparation and planning), meeting with a teacher who just found out about a terrible family tragedy (relationship building), enjoying lunch and recess with our students (relationship building), meeting with a teacher about the best learning environment for one of our students (values clarification), and visiting classrooms to interact with students while they were learning (relationship building and values clarification).
Fortunately, there were no activities from Quadrant III.
There were only a few irrelevant e-mails (unimportant e-mails) which falls into Quadrant IV.
Some days are just like this, but I need to do a much better job of spending more time in Quadrant II, especially when the students are in the building. Then I think back more on the day and realize it was a Monday. Tuesday will be here before I know it, and I will do my best to focus my efforts on Quadrant II. But I also know that I'm a principal and even my best days are filled with things I never learned in "Principal School".
Addendum- I wrote this earlier today and went back to reread and revise. Here's is what I have come up with after reading all of the ways my day fit into the four quadrants. My goal is to have everything I do be for and about the students. Some days I am highly successful. Other days I am less successful. On those days that I am successful, I am definitely in quadrant II. On those days that I am less successful, I find myself in quadrants III and IV way too often. Doing what is important, whether it is urgent or not urgent, will make the experiences for our students much more impactful for their learning and success.