Time management is a critical skill for any professional, but it’s especially vital for directors in childcare centers. With many responsibilities, from overseeing staff to managing finances and ensuring the center’s smooth operation, directors can easily become overwhelmed. This is an extrapolation of the valuable insights offered in Chapter 7 of From Overwhelmed to “I Got This, our bestselling book. We’ll explore the concept of “Tiger Time,” the art of creating effective to-do lists, and the importance of setting boundaries to achieve efficient time management for directors.

The Significance of Time Management

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s underline the importance of effective time management for directors. Your role is multifaceted, involving tasks that range from administrative work to staff management and communication with parents. Without a structured approach to managing your time, you risk feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and less effective in your leadership.

Understanding “Tiger Time”

One of the key takeaways from Chapter 7 is the concept of “Tiger Time.” So, what exactly is Tiger Time, and why is it crucial for directors? Think of it as a designated period during your day when you can work without interruptions. Just like a tiger fiercely protects its territory, you must safeguard this uninterrupted work time.

In the busy world of childcare centers, interruptions can be constant. The author of the book recommends setting boundaries and making it clear to your staff when Tiger Time is in effect. During Tiger Time, you can focus on crucial tasks that require your undivided attention, such as strategic planning, financial management, and business development.

Tiger reclining

Interrupt this tiger at your own risk.

The Power of Planning

The core principle of effective time management is planning. Without a plan, you’re more likely to be reactive, bouncing from one task to another without a clear sense of purpose. The author suggests that even if you feel like you don’t have enough time, planning is essential to gain more control over your schedule.

The process of planning can happen at the beginning or end of each day. It’s a moment to set your priorities, identify your most critical tasks, and allocate time for them. This simple practice can lead to more productive days and ultimately save you time.

Creating Your To-Do List

A to-do list is a director’s best friend. It’s a tool that allows you to organize your tasks and stay on track. Chapter 7 recommends a systematic approach to creating a daily to-do list:

  1. List and Review Goals for the Week: Start by outlining your weekly goals. What are the most critical objectives you want to accomplish?
  2. Write a To-Do List: Based on your weekly goals, create a daily to-do list. Include tasks that align with your objectives.
  3. Break Down Complex Tasks: If you have significant tasks, break them down into smaller, manageable subtasks. This makes them less overwhelming.
  4. Prioritize: Not all tasks are equal in importance. Prioritize your to-do list, placing the most crucial tasks at the top.
  5. Identify Tasks for Delegation: Recognize tasks that can be delegated to others on your team. Effective delegation is a key time-saving strategy.
  6. Update as the Day Progresses: Your to-do list is a dynamic document. Update it as you complete tasks or as new priorities emerge throughout the day.

The Unscheduled Schedule

In the book, there’s a concept called the “Unscheduled Schedule.” This tool is designed to help you track how you use your time throughout the day. It involves recording your activities in 15-minute increments for a week. By doing this, you gain insights into where your time goes, allowing you to make more informed decisions about how to allocate it effectively.

Setting Priorities

Priority setting is a crucial aspect of time management. To determine your priorities, consider using the “triage” method:

  1. Tasks Requiring Your Intervention: Identify tasks that only you can complete—these are your top priorities.
  2. Tasks Not Requiring Your Intervention: Recognize tasks that can be handled by others on your team, freeing you to focus on more critical responsibilities.
  3. Tasks Best Removed: Some tasks may not be successful, even with your involvement. Remove them from your list to avoid wasting time.

Once you’ve triaged your list, assign priorities:

  • Top Priority: These are tasks that must be completed as soon as possible.
  • High Priority: Tasks to be done within two days.
  • Medium Priority: Tasks that need to be completed within the week.
  • Low Priority: Tasks that can be addressed in a week or more.

Consider your personal interests and passions when setting priorities. Aligning your tasks with what brings you joy can lead to greater job satisfaction and efficiency.


In the world of childcare center management, effective time management for directors is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Chapter 7 of the childcare management book offers valuable insights, emphasizing the importance of “Tiger Time,” planning, to-do lists, and priority setting.

By implementing these time management strategies, directors can gain more control over their schedules, reduce stress, and ultimately become more efficient leaders. The goal is not to be busy for the sake of busyness but to achieve efficient productivity that truly signifies something in the realm of childcare management. Mastering time management is your path to success as a director.