Winning Back Your Day: TIME

Jason Messenger's picture

Written by Jason Messenger, Principal at Lakeshore Middle School (Stevensville) and Region 7 Representative on the MASSP Board of Directors

Time is a resource every building administrator could use more of to complete their increasing workload. Now more than ever, as we become the Instructional Leaders instead of the Building Managers, we must find ways to win back our day. Since becoming a Principal twelve years ago, one thing that has become an increasing time sucker is email. I have found that I receive almost three times the amount of email that requires some type of a response than when I began. I also noticed at the end of last year how emails were detracting from my ability to be the Instructional Leader I want to be. Thanks to a great suggestion from Doug Grier at Ottawa ISD, I have incorporated the "Secret Weapon" to take control of my day and become more productive.

The Secret Weapon is a free, organizational methodology for both professional and personal aspects of life that re-organizes emails, ideas, and every to-do, big and small, into one system that stays synchronized across a person’s computer, as well as their smart phone. This system utilizes Evernote. I firmly believe it can work with many different systems.

It has allowed me to:

  • Spend less time on daily/pop-up emails
  • Create a “to-do” list
  • Set my daily schedule


  • More time in classrooms
  • Overall improved staff communication
  • Increased face to face time with staff
  • Assigned time for email

Even if the “The Secret Weapon” is not for you, I encourage you to find ways to win back your day and in the end return to productivity!