I’ve read quite a bit about time management and ‘making’ more time to fit in everything I want. I’ve also read articles that ditch the concept of creating more time; after all there is only 24 hours in a day. But for me, it’s how can I better juggle my time to fit it in not only what I need to, but also what I want??? I really want that good balance of life and work.
Some Of The Challenges That Pull At A Teacher’s Time
I think being a teacher has some unique challenges when it comes to juggling time. There are many parts of the profession that pull at you and require your attention, and managing all of these aspects can be difficult and at times very frustrating.
Some of the many things that can challenge your time include:
- Planning the curriculum/lessons for the year/term/week/day;
- Researching better ways to engage kids and get them motivated about learning;
- Assessing student learning and writing reports;
- Meeting with parents to discuss their child’s development;
- Creating an engaging learning space that kids will want to spend the day in;
- Writing individual education/behaviour plans for the kids that have special needs and /or challenges;
- Attending professional development opportunities; and
- Networking and collaborating with other teachers.
And I’m sure that you can probably think of many more tasks that ‘pull’ at your time. Now if you’re not a teacher, you’re probably thinking….geez that’s tough it just sounds like any normal job. The difference is that between the hours of about 8:40am – 3:20pm, we are teaching and engaging with our students and pushing them to be the best that they can be. So…all of these other things that pull at us need to happen outside of these hours.
Unless you want to spend your whole life living and breathing being a teacher 24/7 (which by the way is not healthy and I have written about having some ‘away time’ so that you don’t get stressed and suffer from burnout), then I think it’s important to really come up with some useful strategies for juggling all of these hats.
So you may be thinking that I’m going to give you a heap of strategies to try? Nope…sorry to disappoint, but I need some help on this too. I have a couple of things that I do that help me, but I really wanted to get a bit of a dialogue going with you guys, so that you could share with me (and all the other readers) what works for you.
Look there’s plenty of blogs out there that talk about this kind of thing and trust me I’ve read them, but they aren’t from a teacher’s perspective. I think that many of you probably have some great ideas that could work for me, but these ideas could also really work for you too.
Time Management Strategies
So I’ll start. I’m going to share with you my top 2 strategies for juggling my time so that I can fit in not only my teaching/school stuff, but also stuff for myself.
1. Set A Weekday Work Schedule
I find that when I allocate set times to certain tasks, then I am much more productive. This probably sounds very anal, but I don’t care it works for me. I have a set time when I am at school and working at my job. I find that if I start to bring work home, then I never have away time. So I try and have set hours at school so that it doesn’t spill over too much into my personal time.
I normally try to arrive no later than 8am (generally more like 7:30am), and stay in the afternoon until about 5pm. Hey don’t get me wrong, if these were the only hours I worked on teaching I’d be laughing. But by having this very structured and dedicated schedule, I find that I have to do less in the evenings and on weekends.
Then I actually allocate times for before and after school for particular jobs. For instance, I use the first 30minutes after the school day finishes to ensure that I have everything set up and ready to go for the next day. I’m usually pretty tired straight after school, so I don’t want anything too hard to do when the kids leave for the day. Because I’m already set up the day before for the next day, when I arrive in the morning I have that time to do my ‘serious’ thinking. It’s usually always quiet, I am most alert and I have at a minimum of 30minutes of uninterrupted time. This is usually when I do my planning. And it’s surprising how much you can get done in half an hour for 5 days a week, when you’re alert and there are no interruptions.
2. Use To Do Lists
Okay boring I suppose, but having a To Do List really works for me. I’ve played around a fair amount with how to do these as I’ve found that if I have too many things on the list, then it becomes overwhelming and I tend to do none of what’s on my list.
I usually only put my top 3 priorities on the list for each day. This way there’s a fair chance that I’ll succeed and it helps me to really focus in on what are the most important things that need to be done in a day.
I find that being a teacher there is always something that can be done and if I don’t prioritise to do the most important things, then I’ll never have any down time.
As you can see my strategies aren’t anything fantastic, and so I’m really after some other different ideas that will help me take control so that I can fit everything in.
Help Me Out…What Are Your Best Ways To Manage Time?
So now it’s over to you. Please share with us your tips/s for juggling your everyday tasks. Let’s have a chat about why these tips work for you. Then I’d love to put all of our ideas together in a downloadable PDF that we can keep to refer to when we need some inspiration (or to help us out if we begin to feel overwhelmed). So hit us with your fabulous ideas!!!
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