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Don’t be busy, be productive!

Managing your time after the bell rings is almost as important as managing your time throughout the day. After all, there are only so many hours in the day and we have a lot to do professionally and personally. There is much written about how time management helps us to feel more calmsee things more clearly and provides us with more time to do what we want to do outside of our professional life (Time Management Success). Unfortunately, we often fall short of feeling those outcomes on a weekly basis.  Why is that? Well, sometimes our habits are not born out of what is best for us. Many educators feel overwhelmed by the volume of work, struggle with competing demands and constant inturruptions (Time Management Tips). Too often, attention is grabbed by the squeaky wheel and before we know it, the time we planned to use on one project is gone.

Many teachers are great organizers and planners when it comes to projects and students. More often than not, however, when it comes to balancing their own time, they’re the last to feel organized at the end of the day.  Here are some simple things you can do to ensure you’re spending your after school time well.  We want you to feel focused, organized and successful throughout the year.

It Takes Real Planning to Manage This Type of Chaos! -Mel Odom

Planning

What are your Priorities? Each day presents us with a few very important things to do along with all the rest of the things that we need to do.  The more you prime your brain to look for the most important priorities, the sooner the rest will fall into place. There are a few ways to do this to get started.

  • Master Schedule– There are certain things that you need to to each week.  Creating a master schedule will help you to internalize those ‘must do’ priorities. Often times, those priorities are the ones that  first so that they are the first or last thing to get done each day or week.
  • To Do Lists– These are great tools, if used properly.  An article in Forbes.com shares the right way to use your To Do list to help you master time and set priorities.  Two of the tips that we live by are 1. keep that list short and 2. do the biggest thing first. Focusing on just a few things is less overwhelming than a list of 20 things that need to be done, but are not a priority. If they are the ‘right’ few things, you’ll feel so much better at the end of the day. The second point is a game changer.  As Mark Twain said, ‘If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.”  Get the biggest, perhaps least favorite thing out of the way and the rest is cake.
  • Attached is our “Let’s To Do This” list that we created to start you on your way to using a to do list correctly.  There are spaces for your priorities, follow up and remembering best practices. Here you go:  LET’S TO DO THIS! List

Schedules and Timing

We all want to believe that if used well, there is always enough time.  Easier said than done, we know.  Once you’ve planned out your daily and weekly priorities, you need to get them done. Having set times each week will help you ensure they’re completed. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Extend the day a little more: Can you stay and extra 60-90 minutes a couple of times a week? Getting it all done in your classroom, frees you up when you’re at home to actually focus more on your personal life. (Can you imagine??)
  • Keep it at school. Limit your own homework by keeping as much school work as you can at school.  There’s less to carry around and potentially leave at home when you need it. This will also enhance your organization because all your work lives in one place.
  • Plan tomorrow today. Set up your To Do list and priorities before you walk out the door. This tips allows you to stop thinking about all the things you have to do in the middle of the night when you should be sleeping. In addition to sleeping better, you’ll have a little more time in the morning. Things will be set up and waiting for you when you walk in the door.

Set Limits

  • Set Expectations: You do not have to do everything in one week.  Remember that your vision and priorities are there to remind you that there are only a few great things you need to do today.  Be nice to yourself.
  • Verbalize your schedule:  Make sure that you’re communicating how you manage your time. Do the families of your students and your peers know when they can expect to hear from you about the email they sent?  The more people know what your schedule and timing looks like, the more they’ll respect it and let you get your work done.
  • Work on your balance: Be nice to yourself. Remember to ask yourself what YOU need to do today. Personal To Do items have a place on your list too, ya know.

 It’s a marathon not a sprint!

You have a LOT to do everyday.  If you follow these tips to plan out your week, schedule the time to get it done and be nice to yourself, you will ensure that you are well on your way to being a successful, calm and organized educator.

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