RAFT: Time Management

Teachers never have enough time but stuff has to get done.

It’s a demanding job that requires some serious time management. It’s certainly not uncommon to feel like you are always treading water and if you stop…well, there’s a danger of drowning.

There are lots of systems and approaches to take but a lifesaving solution I like is to build a RAFT.

The RAFT acronym refers to Refer, Act, File or Toss. This is also known as Read, Act, File, Trash especially when dealing with emails.

This clever little four step system not only saves you but it can stop you splashing about and help you distinguish between the deep-end and the shallow-end.

The RAFT method works as follows:


In the case of ‘refer’, then look at what’s in front of you and pass it along or discuss it with someone else. This includes anything that is dependent upon someone else for the next step or needs to be delegated.

If it’s a written communication then skim through it and decide if it’s something that actually requires your attention. If it does, move on.


These items you need to work on alone. Does the written communication need you to do something?

If it’s a quick reply then just get on and do it without delay – job done. If it isn’t urgent then place it on your calendar for a time when it needs to be done. Prioritise what needs doing and suspend what doesn’t and allow it to resurface at a more appropriate time.

To get things done, see David Allen’s two minute rule as part of his five simple steps that apply order to chaos.


If the message does not require action but needs to be referenced or filed, then file it for retrieval later.


Be ruthless on unactionable, unimportant messages and get rid of them without delay!

RAFT is very similar to Four Ds of

  • Delete it
  • Do it (now)
  • Delegate it, or
  • Defer it (act on it later)

RAFT is a simple but practical way of improving your productivity so why not give it a go?

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