How do teachers manage their time? Right now you’re busy organizing everything to have a successful school year. We’re updating files, organizing our room, and planning future lessons. I’ve blogged about organization tips for teachers before, but now I want to talk about organizing your time. I don’t mean your classroom schedule or your pacing map for the year. I mean your time. Your personal and professional time.
As teachers, we do take a certain amount of work home with us. Make sure, however, that you’re not crossing a line and spending too much of your personal time on work. It’s very easy to do, in fact, it’s a trend across multiple professions nowadays. So, how exactly do you make sure you’re organizing your time effectively? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
Tip 1 – Have set hours for checking and responding to emails. Email is probably the easiest way to get off schedule. You log in thinking you’ll do a quick check on Sunday morning, and then you spend the next hour wording the perfect email reply to a parent. Instead, set hours that you allow yourself to look at your work email, and then do not check it during the off hours.
For example, I begin looking at my work email about an hour and a half before school starts each morning. At the end of the day, however, I am only available via email for about 30 minutes after school ends. I generally stick to this schedule, but I also make allowances for special circumstances (i.e. checking in on a hospitalized student or other unique situations). Another rule I generally follow is that I do not log in to my email account over the weekend. Once again, there are exceptions when I have to log in over a weekend – but in general, I work hard to stick to this schedule. To help I do not connect my cell phone to my work email. This helps a lot.
Tip 2 – Have set times to do work outside of school hours. As professionals, we do have to bring a certain amount of work home with us. I work very hard in my school building to minimize what I need to bring home. Then, I have times set aside where I will complete it. I also plan ahead so that I can complete extra work for school during week evenings versus weekends.
Tip 3 – Use wait time to grade papers. We all have busy tasks we have to take care of that require us to sit and wait. For example, taking your daughter to ballet lessons. You can sit and chit-chat with other parents, while also grading a stack of papers. If you’re getting your oil changed, edit some writing assignments while you wait. Make good use of wait time.
Another great use of wait time is to find lessons to use with your class. A favorite lesson of mine is my tall tale pop-up book lesson.
Tip 4 – Plan for Fun
I get it, we are all very busy. If, however, we don’t plan fun activities in advance we won’t have any fun plans for our down time.
Tip 5 – Plan for Rest and Rejuvination
It’s important to have some time for yourself to do whatever it is that you want. Even if it’s binge-watching your favorite TV show.
Looking for more great ideas, check out our August Teacher Talk below.