Note: Bob’s GTD story is in the form of an email he sent to the team at David Allen Company. In it, he describes how he came across GTD, what tools he has used, and the positive impact it has had on his life.
My name is Bob Mecozzi, and I have been the Director of Bands at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School since 2008. Stagg High School is located in Palos Hills, IL., a southwest suburb about 20 miles outside of Chicago. Our school has 2,400 students, with nearly 300 students involved in our music program in some capacity (band, choir, nonperformance classes, etc.). I teach five classes during the day, in addition to directing or co-directing our co-curricular marching band, jazz ensemble, pep band, and spring musical pit orchestra.
I say all of this to mention that while much of my job would seem to be just teaching music, the vast majority (probably 80-85%) of my work is non-music related tasks. Communication with parents and administrators, advocacy, budgeting, curriculum, inventory, repair and maintenance of instruments, uniforms, fundraising, etc. are just some of those non-musical tasks. As a young teacher, my head was spinning trying to balance all of those things while still being an effective music teacher getting students not only ready for performances and becoming lifelong music appreciators, but also guiding their social and emotional development. I don’t have the statistics in front of me, but I know that an alarming number of teachers leave the profession within their first five years, and I believe a big component of that is because the expectations of what they think their job will be does not match their current reality.
When I got married in 2013 (to another music teacher), I understood that I had to restructure how I did my work and how much time I spent at school, but that point really hit home for us in 2016, when we had our first child. I knew that the way I had been doing my work would have to change, and being home by a certain time meant a hard deadline. I had used some productivity type task managers up to that point but not much seemed to stick for me (or more accurately, I didn’t see it through or give enough energy to dive into it). I really wanted something that allowed me to not have to rely on my mind to just remember to do things, especially those tasks that I only had to do once a year. That’s when I discovered Todoist®, which then lead me to start reading Getting Things Done, and I’ve been using it ever since. And while I’m not at 100% implementation of it, the techniques have profoundly changed how organized I feel.
I wanted to take this moment to thank Mr. Allen and the entire GTD team. Because of your productivity methodology, I believe I am a better husband, father, and teacher, because my life has much better balance. I can leave work at work, and be present when my daughter wants to play in our basement.
In addition, I also wanted to let you know that I’ve created a presentation geared towards music teachers called It’s Possible! How to Achieve More Effective Life/Work Balance Using The Getting Things Done® Methodology. This presentation was chosen to be a seminar at The 73rd Annual Midwest Clinic on December 19th, 2019 at McCormick Place West in Chicago.
Included in the references are links to purchase the book, along with links to GTD Connect and some of the very helpful guides. One disclaimer – I do make sure to mention that I am in no way affiliated with GTD, but instead am just a music teacher who has found tremendous benefit in the system and want to help my colleagues in any way that I can.
And as a side note, I have started reading Getting Things Done for Teens, and believe there is some incredibly valuable insight and information for a generation of students who have more things to balance than ever before.
Thank you for all that you do! It is greatly appreciated by so many.
Bob, Great work utilizing GTD concepts in your work and spreading it to other teachers and students. Having grown up and founded a business years ago near your school, I’m so happy to see GTD making it’s way into the minds and hearts of teachers and, hopefully, students. Keep at it.
Bob, I am a music teacher so thaks so much for your post. Adagio works better for me than trying an Allegro con brio style of life!! If it doesn’t get done then tasks migrate to another day,get delegated or go onto my someday maybe list. I find that in teaching, I never can do it all, so accept that my do do list will rarely get to done fully. Less stress if I accept that. My only daily non negotiable rule is e.mail inbox to zero twice a day. Thanks for the post. xx
Sorry for the typo, meant to read thanks!!
A Great story Bob. Reading about how complicated your life is made my head spin too. Trying to balance so many tasks at once is overwhelming, to say the least. Being able to get things done is paramount to your success and well-being. P.S. I believe more and more children are awakening to their right-brain creative side which is why more kids are taking music and art class in school.
What a great story! Concert band was one of the few bright spots in my high school life. I want to assure you that what you do is incredibly valuable, and the fact that you’ve found a way to make it work is awesome. My band director helped me to compete statewide, audition for citywide junior symphony, and direct the pit orchestra for Guys and Dolls in my senior year.
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