Life Hacks for Principals

A hack refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency.

The holiday time between Halloween and New Year’s Day can be exhausting for school staff. Recently I turned to Twitter to see how others are handling work-life balance as school professionals. I mostly use Twitter to learn about innovative curriculum and leadership strategies, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that other education people love to share school hacks that make life easier. Here’s what educators on Twitter suggest for getting the job done:

Take Control of Your Time

The benefits of getting sufficient sleep have been well-documented, and some people find that getting up early can boost their productivity throughout the day.

There are so many excellent education-related podcasts available. Use that commute time wisely and get your professional development on the road.

This is a genius move. It is so easy to get sucked in when you are dealing with the unexpected, all day long. Pro tip: You might be able to use this to make sure a potentially endless meeting finishes on time.

Manage Your Environment

As an administrator, using a cart is a groundbreaking hack. It’s so easy to get stuck in your office all day, but having a cart could be a great solution. Not only do you get to see and be seen, but you can also manage your time.


Bringing in an essential-oil diffuser into your workspace can be a game changer. Simple essential oils have been shown to have positive effects on mood and productivity.

Most buildings have Keurig or other coffee, and it’s very seldom that I crave school coffee. What if you upped your game and got a Nespresso machine that can make both great coffee and a delicious espresso?

Plan Your Food

Making dinner is a constant source of tension for busy people. We all love thoughtful dinners but can struggle to make them happen as we juggle all of our responsibilities. To make family dinners happen, some people start early.

Other people swear by culinary time-savers. While quite a few people use time-saving services like Blue Apron, those who enjoy cooking find ways to be more efficient in the kitchen. Currently, many colleagues are singing the praises of the Instant Pot, which is a multifunction pressure cooker that cuts cooking time in half.

Sometimes you just need a break from the emotional labor of figuring out what to make for dinner. It’s essential to find times to cut yourself some slack and take the path of least resistance when it come to meals.

School Hacks for Self-Care

Prioritize what makes you happy and what relieves your stress. For many, that means hitting the gym or lacing up your shoes to go out for a walk.

Some people find their self-care in playing an instrument. Playing music is a good way to relieve stress, and sharing your music with others can be joyful and fun!

For others, journaling is also key to self-care. Bullet-journaling combines reflection, art, and organization, and can be an incredibly satisfying project!

Join our Facebook group Principal Life for more conversation about and insights into the challenges of school leadership.