Time management is a common pain point for childcare centre managers: it just feels like you’re never going to reach the end of that lengthy to-do list.
But the issue of time management is bigger than just your personal schedule. By utilising the latest time management tools and techniques, you can optimise your whole childcare centre, upping your productivity without hiring any more staff.
1. Keep a Time Log
When it comes to tackling time management, there’s only one place to start: find out where all your time has been going. After all, you’ll only be able to organise your time once you have all the facts and stats of how long all your different tasks take, and where you’re losing time. Ask your team to record where they’re spending their own time too, so you can get an overview of the whole childcare centre.
What are your priorities? The tasks that absolutely must get done in your childcare centre? Consult with your staff and make a list of these priorities. Assign them to yourself and members of your team. If you’re all accountable for one or two priorities each day, they’re much more likely to get completed. Once this is done, look at the next most important tasks, assign them between your team, and so on and so forth. Consider also whether there are any tasks that are surplus to requirements that you could cut or reduce the frequency of?
3. Schedule Each Day
At first, scheduling may feel like it’s taking up more time than it gives you, but once you get into the swing of it, you’ll begin to feel its myriad benefits. Scheduling doesn’t have to be a headache — it’s less about huge books filled with indecipherable scrawl, and more about slick apps that make scheduling a cinch.
Google Calendar is a great option: not only can you fill up your own calendar with tasks, but you can see each of the team’s own calendars. It’s super easy to assign workers to different rooms or tasks, and gives you a handy overview of where everyone should be at every point in the day.
4. Use Tools To Streamline Processes
We’re lucky enough to live in a world with numerous productivity tools that supercharge our manpower. Before you decide which is the right one for you, examine the current jobs and processes within the centre. Which are taking up too much time? Which could be streamlined?
Often, the tasks taking up the most time include the endless admin that comes with running a childcare centre — such as registering children or taking bookings — and communicating with parents, whether due to an emergency, a change in plans, or simply to let them know how their little one got on that day.
5. Block Out ‘Do Not Disturb’ Time
If you’re the sort of childcare centre manager who is always on hand to help, this one can be tricky. But it is important. In many centres, while the team is busy caring for the little ones, the boss is sat in an office dealing with the business side of running a childcare centre. Wrapping your head around the myriad tasks that come with running a business is hard enough — and it can be near impossible with babies crying in the background or constant interruptions by staff asking questions.
Set aside a day or two every week where you shut yourself away and stick a big ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door. Assign a different member of staff to man the phones and answer emails from parents. Delegate staff questions to the next most senior member of your team, and set out the exceptions to the rule — for example, if there is a genuine emergency, you will want to be disturbed. Not only will this help you get through your trickiest paperwork, but it will make you a better, more present manager the rest of the time.
Interested in learning more about how tech can further help you improve your time management? Reach out to us at Kidsoft today!