Photo by Brett Jordan

Last week David provocatively asked “What would you do if you had only two hours a week in your job”. It hit a nerve with a number of people, including, unsurprisingly, me.

There were elements of David’s piece that were mighty attractive. For a start, imagine only working for two hours a week! What a treat. And secondly, imagine if your job was to do only the things that you believed were most important; if you could cut through all the BS and get to the real nitty gritty that made a difference – how meaningful would that be?

How would that look?

I wonder though, if it may just be a bit of a red herring because being human would make it impossible. We wouldn’t, or couldn’t ever get to this nirvana without feeling guilty, or conflicted, or judged, or questioned. We carry too much baggage in our heads. Stuff that was placed there not just yesterday, but the day before that, and the week before that; even years. And we carry with us the expectations of a future, which is more often than not labeled THE Future, as if it is already written and all we really need to do is do the right thing here and now and it will all become so.

Of course, we don’t have the luxury of working just two hours, or four or eight on just those things that are most important. Nevertheless it’s still a great question to ask in order to clear your mind. So I’d say to you, give yourself a bit of space this morning, after you’ve read this and ask these three questions

  1. What’s important to you right now?
  2. What do you need to get there?
  3. Is there anyone close to you who can help you that you can go to talk to? (and then go and do that)

And then once you’ve done this, because even this is a big task, see if you can do this next thing. It’s a quote from Maya Angelou, and it’s wonderful. Can you make it happen before the end of the term?

“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us”. ~Maya Angelou (Book: Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey)


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Photo by Waldemar 

It’s February 2024 and the newly elected coalition Government has just launched its revolutionary education policy. All principals have been called to Wellington to learn about the fresh new AI derived curriculum and how it will transform their schools. Their excitement is palpable. This huge new project will dominate the next 6 months, so they will have no more than 2 hours per week to think about, or work in their schools.

“If you could only work 2 hours per week, what would you focus on?” ¹

I know this is a ridiculous question, but indulge me for just a moment and consider it – 2 hours, that’s all you have to lead your school . . . what will you do? And what will you not do?

.   .   .

There are several ways of trying to answer this, for example you could start by considering what are the very most critical things you do each week. You could make a short list of 5 things you absolutely must do and then whittle away the amount of time you spend on each.

You could choose just one.

Or, you could start at the other end and begin deleting stuff that is either unimportant or you already know is a sticky mess of procrastination and inefficiency . . .

.   .   .

I’m going to suggest applying a filter – is the piece of work leadership, or is it management?

In the spirit of Friday provocation, how about:

Management = Heck no!

  • The newsletter
  • Any fixing/unblocking/shifting stuff
  • Admin meetings
  • Minor student discipline issues
  • Tidying other people’s messes (figurative and literal)
  • Anything to do with finances
  • Attendance intervention plans
  • Board reports
  • PTA reports
  • Rosters (of any sort)

Leadership = Heck yes!

  • Connecting with staff (being visible, positive, interested)
  • Connecting with students/whanau (being visible, positive, interested)
  • Strategic thinking (which requires space and pause)

I know which list looks more fun and energising to me!

(I would also add ‘staffing’ to the critical work pile. It sits both in management and in leadership but is often the single biggest driver of both possible stress and possible happiness for all involved – you, students, other staff, whanau. We all know what happens if it goes wrong, from not having a teacher for a class, to working with unhappy team members – and the flip side is that when it is going well, everything is better.)

What do you think? Where would you put your 2 hours?

.   .   .

There’s also an interesting side effect of narrowing down your work to the absolute essentials, it raises the possibility of creating time to do other essential non-work things.

Perhaps 2 hours is too extreme. But what say we doubled it? Would 4 hours allow you to get more essentials completed?

And if 4 was still too little, how about 8? At what point would there be ‘enough’?

Is it possible that at some point, well below the mythical 40, that you cross over into spending your time and energy on things that really aren’t important (or even necessary)? I suggest the answer might be closer to ‘yes’ than many believe.


.   .   .


I said I’d share the data from responses to my last post about email – Master or Slave. Thanks to everyone (109 people) who took a moment to share. The numbers are below for your interest, and I’ve put a couple of useful tips that were shared as well.

  1. How many emails did you receive yesterday?

Most                   175

Least                   9

Average              49

  1. How many emails are sitting in your inbox?

Unread                              Most 838            Least 0                Average 36

Read (but not filed)        Most 21299        Least 0                Average 347

  1. Helpful tips:
  • “I attended a Google Certified Educator Course about 5 years ago and the guy talked about ‘zero’ inbox. I thought he was absolutely mad and this was impossible to achieve, but I now live and breath it AND encourage my staff (and anyone who will listen) to do the same. So the easy secret to share here is the ‘Snooze’ function on Gmail. Absolutely my best digital friend and I encourage all to use it as a ‘101’ for organising emails. Zero inbox is now my reality and it REALLY helps me function.”
  • “My inbox is my to-do list. I get rid of an email once actioned. Works for me.”
  • “I am a teaching principal and I have an automatic reply saying that I am only in my office on Tuesday and Friday, emails will be checked before 9am and after 3pm – this does not seem to deter anyone!!”


I’m grateful that so many of you shared and now have my own aspirational goal to get to “zero inbox”. Dave

¹ Borrowed from Tim Ferris, someone who excels in asking thought provoking questions.

Photo by Markus Winkler 

What is it about taking your own advice that is so difficult?

There’s some sort of paradox at play that makes it easy (relatively) to give solid, helpful advice to just about anyone, but makes it 10x harder to follow for yourself.

And that’s a nuisance because of all the people in the world, you are uniquely positioned to see what you actually need at any given time.

.   .   .

Over the last week I made a mistake. I let a situation stretch out for just a little too long and in that extra space, people inevitably filled in the gaps themselves. Rationally, I knew this might happen, but. . .

(Just for context, the situation involved a group of students where one or several had been less than ideal in how they had treated each other. Each of these students had a parent, and each of these parents had a social media account.)

If I’d been chatting this situation over with a colleague when it first emerged, I would have said something like, “get on the front foot and sort it out as quickly as possible. If you let it sit unresolved, someone is going to throw some petrol on the simmer and that won’t be good.”

But, here I find myself 10 days later and only now have I managed to work through to a resolution. The simmer did indeed burn a little brighter than it needed to.

.   .   .

So, what stopped me from acting more quickly?

My reflection is simply that I didn’t get my priority order straight, and that led to running out of time/energy. The last fortnight has seen a number of unexpected pieces of work crop up, mostly around people not behaving as well as they normally would (Steve talked about the current ‘niggly’ vibe last week), and that, combined with the most pedantic, time wasting audit process I have ever been subjected to, was that.

Each situation required time, energy, and wisdom, and despite knowing better, I dealt with some of the less complex ones first.  By the time I handled the ‘smaller’ issues each day, I’d run myself out of time and energy, and guilty confession here – I may have run myself slightly out of my work ban hours too . . .

You’d think I’d know better, and the really crazy thing is that I did!

.   .   .

For ages now, a common 40 Hour Project theme has been to get very clear about what matters most, and to stick to that work as a priority. But in this instance, I let the unexpected work trump the important work and I’ve been thinking about how to make this less likely to happen again as the adventure of Term 2 unfolds – how do I keep my priority list straight?

What I’ve decided to try, is to put a scheduled 5 minutes into my morning routine to write a brief ‘shopping list’ type visual reminder for myself. I’m going to do it on paper, and I’m going to use it as a touchstone throughout the day. I know this may sound like just another bog standard ‘list’, but the difference for me will be the 5-minute daily recreation and the habit I’m going to try and build around checking it.

Let’s see how this goes.


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Photo by Roberto Sorin 

If you are a NZ principal operating under the “work ban”, how is that going for you? 8am – 5pm on week days equals 45 hours (unless you are managing a lunch break . . . ).

Most people that I’ve talked to are finding it impossible to do their usual job inside this set time.

The key word here is ‘usual’. In the context of your role, ‘usual’ could be transposed for ‘huge’ or ‘complicated’ or even ‘downright silly’. It could reasonably be described as dancing the line of what’s possible, and something that stretches most people on a good day.

Sure, we have disengaged with Ministry of Education initiatives and are solely focusing on our schools and community needs, but it is very clear that even these items by themselves don’t fit inside of 8 until 5. What does that say about the load of the complete job?

.   .   .

Which brings me to a phrase that I heard inside of some training I was doing recently –“it’s OK to do the best you can with the resources you have”.

The resources we each have is not a static situation. How much you can bring to any particular task or situation varies widely depending on a myriad of factors – health, support, competing work, others around you, a crisis, home life . . .

In effect, your “best” will be different, probably on a daily basis! Stephanie Thompson nicely described this in her guest post You Are Not A Machine.

So, the puzzle of how to work in a finite number of hours is only solvable by taking stock of the resources you have available, then adapting the plan based on that reality.

And therein lies a problem – many of us are used to ignoring our ‘current state’. I witnessed a very common illustration of this point recently at a curriculum PLD session.

The presenters had worked hard all morning, giving freely of their energy and expertise and now, 3 hours in, were visibly tired. Clearly, they needed a rest/food/fresh air before doing any more work, but . . . they had a second session due to start 30 minutes after ours and through a series of unplanned for events, we had gone 20 minutes over time.

I gently suggested to the leader that they could start the next session 10 minutes late, and at least have a bite to eat in the sunshine before starting again. I predicted that the attendees would understand, and it was better for them to have a brief wait (teachers can always chat!) than an exhausted presenter.

That’s not what happened though, they ‘soldiered on’.

.   .   .

So, what about you? How good are you at recognising when your ‘resources’ are low and then adapting your plan based on that reality?

When resources are low, your ‘usual’ needs to change accordingly, and that is most definitely OK.



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Photo by Lukas Blazek 

Time, the most precious gift and the one thing that we can’t replenish – when it’s gone, it’s gone. Each of us gets 168 hours every week. You, me, and Elon Musk got exactly the same amount last week, and each of us used it differently.

I don’t know about you or Elon, but in my allocated time I didn’t get to some stuff that I wish I had. If you’d asked me why, I might well have said because I was too ‘busy’.

But I don’t actually think this is true, what I think is that we make time for things that are important.

Here’s a personal example.

I had a full day of work-related activity lined up including meeting with some parents, a Board report to finish, an important conversation with a team member, and my promise to cover someone’s morning duty. And our office manager was sick. That morning when I turned on the shower, mentally lining up all my ducks for the day, I realised it wasn’t getting warmer. Plenty of cold but no hot.

I grabbed a towel, stepped out of the shower and started down the passageway. Three steps later my bare foot went “squelch” on the carpet and I realised where the hot water was going.

My priorities for the day shifted exactly at that moment.

The point is, that when something important (fixing the leak) and urgent (it’s getting worse by the second) came up, I could find plenty of time to resolve the situation. I messaged people, rearranged plans and started phoning plumbers. It took all morning.

Before the leak started, if you’d asked me to spend two hours that morning on something else, I’d have said, “sorry I can’t today”.

As it turned out, I had plenty of time to do what needed to be done – I wasn’t short of time, I just started the day with different priorities.

This example is due to a crisis (first world crisis!) forcing my shift in priorities, but most of the important stuff that we struggle to find time for is longer term – things like exercising or creating that new strategic plan. They sit there, hovering in the background adding mental load, but still undone.

I’d like to suggest that how and what you prioritise are the real issues when you say, “I’m too busy”. No matter what you decide to do with your 168 hours you still have exactly the same amount – and the choice is always yours. 

There are two simple strategies that I’d like to suggest to help you allocate time for important things.

Firstly, to find your top priority items, think in the longer term – maybe a year ahead. Tim Ferriss uses a technique called “fear setting” to do this. He considers what harm or loss continuing with a particular habit will have in the longer term. An example is gaining a kilogram in weight every couple of months. A couple of extra kilos probably isn’t a problem but if we look at the outcome after a year or two, the harm is bigger. Tim uses this ‘over time’ technique to amplify problems so they become priorities.

I have used this negative consequence idea as a motivator but have also flipped the viewpoint and looked for some positives. An example would be to imagine what it would be like to have an extra $500 cash to spend on a hobby or fun event next Christmas. That’s only $10 per week – skipping 2 bought coffees or not buying a Lotto ticket gets me there easily. Imagining that happy outcome gives me motivation to change a habit.

The key thing to use as leverage is the effect of your immediate choices over time.

The second strategy that I find super helpful is really about making sure I stick to my priority plan and to do this I use my calendar (diary) system.

I’ve written about this before and in essence it reflects the fact that we put the important things on our calendars –

“When you have a meeting with your leadership team, it’s on the calendar. When you want to see what is happening next week, you check the calendar. Meeting your appraiser? Yes, it’s on the calendar.”

The truth is, that when we make a commitment to do something/be somewhere, we add it to our diary or calendar. All the important work stuff is there, but what about all the important other stuff?

So, a 2-step action plan to ensure your 168 hours each week are properly prioritised, starts with applying a longer-term lenses to what matters most (which will include both work and human needs) and then adding the necessary smaller steps to your year calendar/diary.

If you work backwards from the desired outcome, it’s pretty easy to identify and add the small steps needed. Once they’re locked in your calendar, you’re likely to do them.

None of us are really short of time, we just need to be clear about what matters most.



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Last time I wrote about how we often over think our roles and that this in turn creates problems that aren’t even there. It was part of a piece about slowing things down, especially at this time of term.

Recently I was part of a discussion regarding the dilemma that we all face – when do we find time to show leadership when we seem to be in constant management mode. 

As principals, we are expected to be leaders yet we tend to spend  our lives in the day to day grind and minutiae of school existence rather than floating above it, being ultra visionary and seeing the “big picture”.

Perhaps it’s time to get off this hamster wheel of doubt created by over thinking the management vs leadership debate.

Surely they co-exist, not only side by side, but together like osmosis, flowing into one another; at times morphing into pure management while at other times being pure leadership, but more often than not just a colourful mixture of both.

Apparently it was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “people don’t care what you know until they know that you care”. This to me, is one of the real touchstones of what being a principal is all about.

Effectively this means that the people that you get paid to lead, or manage, don’t care about either of these terms. They just care that you care.

When you do enough in your school to show that you care consistently to a diverse group of humans, then that is both great leadership and great management.

There are times when you need to manage. This might feel like you’re knee deep in the veritable crappolla generated by others. But the fact that you’re there, and you’re showing you’ve got something more than a heartbeat, is in itself great leadership.

Equally there are times when you lead. And this might feel like you are able to fly above the same crapolla generated by others. But the fact that you can see what is going on with eyes like a falcon is also in itself great management.

So don’t over complicate it, and definitely don’t worry about it, you’ll be where you need to be, when you need to be, and that is good enough.


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Photo by Natalie Daley

It’s great that we are in a Term break at last (at least for those of us in NZ). This year is proving to be anything but business as usual and the challenges just keep coming. We’re been operating in a “hoping for the best, but ready for anything” type mode. This is a tough way to live long term!

Something that has helped me stay energised and well through the ongoing adventure of 2020, has been to get very clear about what matters most. I’m coming from the perspective of a statement we often use in the 40 Hour Project –

“being a school leader is part of who we are, not all of who we are”.

From a work perspective, there will always be things that are more or less important. There will be periods when more time and energy need to be committed to particular tasks. Bearing in mind the statement above though, alongside the work requirements will be other things.  A  misalignment between these two competing needs is a common problem. And misalignment happens easily unless you have clarity.

A statement to describe this idea could be:

“People are more resilient when they are clear about what matters most.”



One of the gifts of having space to think clearly (time for a sabbatical!), is that you can really consider what matters most to you. The absolutely fundamental items will almost certainly be personal – things to do with family, health, relationships, finances . . .

As school leaders, it’s very easy to let the urgent parts of each day take priority, and maybe that’s OK short term – but if you apply a longer term lenses to what it means to work/live as you are, priorities will change.

I’d like to suggest that until you do this exercise, you will often feel tension between what you need personally and what your work requires.

For example, if you haven’t done any exercise in a month, yet you woke up this morning worrying about school data targets, you are probably confused (about what matters most) and need to create space to get things straight.

.   .   .

And it’s not rocket science! Here is what I strongly recommend you do:

  1. Find some uninterrupted space. Ideally this will be somewhere you don’t usually go and will be away from the people who you usually interact with. In duration it needs to be long enough to allow you to sense the approach of boredom. No devices at all. Zero. Zip. Nada. Somewhere naturally beautiful is ideal but a quiet corner in the back of a Library you don’t visit often will work too. Find your space.
  2. A blank piece of paper and a pen (I actually use a notebook, but start on a blank page).
  3. Now just make a list. A list of the things that really, really matter. Don’t be shy or driven at all by what others might think – this list is for you and you alone.
  4. This is the perfect time to use some “fear setting” so that you build your list past the immediate.
  5. Sort the list so that the very most important thing is at the top.

Job nearly done.

The final, crucial remaining step, is to accept that you have to work in a way that allows you to address the items at the top of your list. If you can do this consistently, you will be aligning your needs with your work and when the pressure comes on, you are now positioned to make choices that are sustainable and energising.  Just do it.


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English is a notoriously tricky language to navigate. Take a look at this classic sentence describing a panda to see that simple nuances and grammar can dramatically alter the meaning of what you’re trying to say.

A Panda eats, shoots, and leaves


A Panda eats shoots, and leaves. (It’s also available in joke form.¹)

It’s a bit the same with our Forty Hour Project catch phrase –

“Be Slacker Better”.

We mean one thing with Be Slacker Better, but it’s a totally different take on “Be a Better Slacker”. 

When I wear my Be Slacker Better tee shirt, most people I know laugh and say something like; “Yup, I’m with you! I’d love to spend my time lying around on the couch watching Netflix and drinking beer.” I daren’t wear my tee at school in case I’m accused of being the biggest slacker around and an affront to the whole educational community. A principal can’t be a slack arse, let alone go around promoting it!

Of course, lying on the couch watching Netflix and drinking beer (being a better slacker) is something I often aspire to, sometimes even in my professional life (!) but it’s not something that I am actively encouraging.

I’ll use a small example to help show the difference. No doubt you’ve all had similar experiences in your roles. Our principal and leadership roles are full of such events, so this experience won’t be new to you I’m sure.

.   .   . 

Recently I found myself attempting to manage a series of unfortunate events during the end of a lunchtime, all bang, one after the other. I was out in the playground watching some 8 year olds tear around the field playing football. Suddenly I heard a commotion and I had a swarm of kids around me yelling, “Mr Zee, Mr Zee, you’ve got to come quick, it’s real bad, there’s lots of blood”. 

Over on the adventure playground I found a five year old who had simply forgotten to duck as he ran around and had split his forehead open in a collision with a playground bar. The kids were right – there was blood everywhere. The boy lay on the ground with a nasty gash open for all to see. I made the decision to move him and so picked him up and made for the sick bay. 

Around about the same time, a fight was beginning between some of our 13 year olds and 10 year olds. They’d been sharing a game of soccer and a purposeful foot-trip by one of the younger boys was now being dealt with in an over the top sort of way. A teacher was trying to sort the problem out, but the bell to return to class was about to go and she needed to get to class.

At the same time, our current class runner/skipper had decided he wasn’t going to go back to class and he was more interested in playing “catch me if you can” with any adult who was trying to get him back into class.

In my arms lay a five year old boy bleeding all over my coat and leaving a nice trail on the concrete. I took him into the sickbay and chose to stay with him because he was really upset.

“Steve, I’ve got four boys out here needing to see you – they’ve just been in a fight.”

“Mr Zee, Brian has headed off out into the field and he won’t come back  – can you get him back into class.”

Sure I said. I’ll console the bleeding and upset boy, he needs me right now!

Sure I said, I’ll sort out those four boys from the fight!

Sure I said, I’ll chase after Brian and get him back to the classroom, he’ll be back before you know it!

Sure, I’ll do it! 

This really wasn’t going to end that well.

.   .   .

Mark Mason in his book, “Everything is F*#ked – a book of hope”, argues that our brains are wired by two parts; an emotional feeling side, and a thinking/self-control side.

Ultimately it’s our emotional side that stokes the fire for us to do anything. Without emotions driving us there’s simply nothing for the self-control side to, well to put it simply, control. There are plenty of documented stories of people who have brain injuries or surgeries and who have lost their ability to have feelings and as a direct result have also lost their purpose in life.

So it’s not surprising that when I was confronted first with a lot of blood and then another couple of behavioural issues to decipher, that it was my feeling side that began making the decisions first. 

Mark Manson likens this to a Clown driving a Consciousness Car. He argues that our feeling brain drives our consciousness, and in the seat beside it sits our Thinking and Self-control. However, the feeling side has control of the driving wheel, the accelerator and the brakes. And, just like a teenager, the feeling side doesn’t like being told what to do, and so the thinking side of your consciousness is always trying to play catch up.

Not surprisingly my feeling side led from the front. Self-control only kicks in when there’s something to provoke it, so it was my feeling side that said, “Sure, I’ll do that, and sure, I’ll sort that, and sure I’ll chase after Brian.” 

And because my feeling side doesn’t like to be told what to do, my self-control side tried to reason to start with. It said; “The other adults around are all busy people taking their classes and you don’t want to pull them from their core job”, and “You’re the principal and your core role is to look after people”, and “Your job is to sort out the behaviors (and don’t forget to sort them out good and proper!), and “If you aren’t being seen to do this then maybe you’ll be considered an imposter”, and “Maybe you’re cutting out the middleman by just doing it all, cos it’ll end up on your plate in the long term anyway” and … well, you get the picture. The easiest thing was to just do it … do it all. Which, simply put,  wasn’t the best thing to do.

So after a while of consoling the bleeding child and making sure that he was in good hands with the school first aider (which of course he was from the moment I stepped into the sick bay), I headed out to sort out the fight with the four boys. “Don’t forget Brian” my thinking side reasoned, “he’s out there somewhere and needs to be back in class”.

Next day I got a phone call from a very disgruntled parent. She was very upset about how I had dealt with the fight. Her young boy had been punched in the eye by an older boy and it appeared that there were no consequences, and if there were then they were all weak ones. And…… what the hell was I going to do about it! No doubt you’ve had similar types of phone calls. It always astounds me how someone else’s bad behaviour gets turned into your bad behaviour.

It made for an uncomfortable realisation that Being Slacker Better would have been the far better option. 

Sure, at the end of the day, I did cope, and all three events were “sorted”. Some were sorted better than others. However all could’ve been sorted much better if I’d simply been slacker with myself and directed people around me to step up. The fact that someone said “Steve’s got it sorted” added to the tension that I couldn’t be slack. 

But in whose’ mind was I really being slack in? Somewhere in my subconscious is an incredibly unfair feeling that if I hadn’t done what I did, then I would’ve been slack.

Just because I thought it doesn’t mean it was so though. Not all of our thoughts are correct.


.   .   .


As principals, we do this frequently. We rely on our emotions to drive the choices that we make. That’s what humans do. It’s not in our job descriptions, or performance management reports, or policies and procedures that really drive what we do. When was the last time you even read your Job Description? No, it’s our emotions. It’s our feelings. They start the ball rolling, and they provide motivation for us to actually do something. So if you also have a feeling that because you’re The Principal, that you need to do everything, or else you’re slack, then you have a problem. I imagine we all have this from time to time.

The difficulty is that our emotions/feelings don’t have a rudder when determining the best way to go. And essentially, they love to undermine self-confidence if they consider you’re being slack or if they think that someone else will think you’re being slack.  

This is counter productive to your own well-being which somewhat ironically, puts you in an even more vulnerable position. 

Being Slacker Better means looking for better options, even though your immediate gut feelings might be to do it all yourself. It would’ve been way better for me to delegate responsibility to another adult for any one of the three things that I was trying to do all at once.

I would’ve been better to triage the situations a bit like they do in the Emergency Department of a hospital. Are the doctors and nurses of those departments slack because they make decisions about what, and who they’re going to see first? I don’t think so.

So what are the key takeaways when Being Slacker Better?

  • Understand that it’s your emotions and feelings that get you moving. They are your drivers and what ultimately motivates you. This is key to understanding that your motivations might not always be the best thing to do even though you feel they are. 
  • Give yourself some time before embarking on a big challenge.
  • Go easy on yourself. You are your biggest critic. Have high standards, sure, but keep them in check with what is actually required.
  • Don’t be overly proud in an arrogant way. I always wondered if this was a great example of the old adage “Pride comes before a fall”. You are not the only one who can “get this sorted”.
  • Understand that your role as a Principal/Leader is better suited as not being responsible for the job, but being responsible for the people who are responsible for the job. This is very important.
  • Give yourself some time after embarking on a big challenge. 
  • Indian Educationalist, Saif Sarwari, has a great saying; “Sincere principals don’t count the number of hours they put in … they count how much they put into those hours … and that makes all the difference – give yourself some slack, your performance should be measured in the difference you make, not the number of hours you work.
  • Celebrate a job well done – irrespective of who has done the job.
  • Feel comfortable to delegate. Believe in the people around you and show trust in their ability to get the mahi done. This builds leadership capability and ultimately means you can Be Slacker Better even more often!
  • Don’t dwell and don’t beat yourself up if things don’t quite go as planned. Yes I had an angry parent, but this time next week, or next month, or next year it won’t really matter.
  • Consider formulating an alternative plan that could be used in challenging situations when you are inundated – write it up, record the key people that you want to delegate to. Talk to them about how you’ll communicate with them and how they’ll know they need to step up. Part of this plan is knowing what your priorities are as a leader .


.   .   .

My little situation turned out just fine. It was ok. Everyone was ok. Everything was ok. It could’ve been better – but I got the key elements right. The point is, if I’d been a little bit slacker things would’ve been better.

The following day the little boy who split his forehead open on the metal pole came in with his three stitches and this card. And it was then that I knew I got the most important part just right!

Mr Zee and the lady, Thank you



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¹ A panda walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. The waiter brings him the sandwich. The panda eats it, pulls out a pistol, kills the waiter, and gets up and starts to walk out.

The bartender yells for him to stop and says, “You come in here, order food, kill my waiter, then try to go without paying for your food. Who do you think you are?”

The panda turns around and says, “Hey! I’m a Panda. Look it up!” The bartender grabs his phone and googles “panda” which reads:

“Panda: a bear-like marsupial originating in Asian regions. Known largely for it’s stark black and white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”