As a multi tasking brain overloading course director I am faced with many different avenues of work throughout the week. This can lead to a huge juggle of life. Add into that mix an ever expanding family, now with the addition of a new four legged companion, everybody needs some time. So how is it done? It is a very thin line of balance and believe me when I say, I do get it wrong a lot. But there are certain things I try and do to keep me organized so I thought I would share some tips with you.
Everyday has a to do list
Whether it is a scuba class, or a website update. Everything I do is broken down into a “todo”list that I should be able to complete. Don’t load your Monday mornings up with an insane number of things and then not being anywhere near doing them. It makes a dent into your motivation first thing in the week. Not good.
Prioritize your to do list
Some things are certainly more important that others. Make sure you have this noted down on your to do list so you get them done first. Also, if there are any quick tasks, get them done straight away and don’t delay on them.
Prepare the night before
If you can prepare for your day or class the night before then do as much as you can. Pack your bag and make sure you have any necessary documents and extra equipment needed ready to go so you are not running around at the last minute. It’s the simple things like getting the coffee machine ready the night before so all you have to do is turn it on. Setting out your clothes for the dive, towels etc. Loading computer and charger if needed into your bag and getting ready in anyway you can really.
Set a clear schedule for your classes.
In the class or underwater, you should always have a clear defined plan. Including back up flexibility options. For example, what if student takes longer in the pool? What if they have troubles with their exams? You want to be able to have flexibility in your scheduling but have in the back of your mind sections to complete and when. It will keep you on track and let the others members of your team know when and where you are doing your classes. With a PADI IDC for example we have a schedule set out at least 2 weeks in advance and everybody on the team knows, so we know when the classroom is scheduled, when to expect pool sessions etc.
Always do a double equipment check Quietly before the boat leaves the dock
Every time I am assembling my gear bag, it is never done in peace. There are 20 questions firing my way always so it is easy to get distracted and miss something. Once I have everything packed I will take a quiet moment and run through everything in my bag and the plan that I have for diving that day. Do I have everything I need?
Pre-dive safety checks are of utmost importance
You are getting your students organized, you have your slates in hand. Boat is at the dive site and you are diving into the water. I know many an instructor in the stress of the moment, forgets slates, a weight, extra weight, even turning their tanks on! You are a professional and should be setting a good example. So run your pre dive safety check no matter what is happening. Close your eyes if needed once your students are good to go and run mentally down your physical equipment you have on and check that you are good to go.
And always remember, your to do list will NEVER end.
When something is done, there is always something else to do. It is very important to not judge yourself and set your self a limit each day or each week, whatever you choose. You must set yourself reasonable goals to complete, chip away at the bigger ones by breaking them down into easily accomplished tasks. That way you are not beating yourself up about not reaching the big “to do” you are slowly and steadily making your way there through easier steps.