Do you ever feel like there are just not enough hours in the day? Days in the week?
Who doesn’t? As educators, you may feel this way all the time. Days spent teaching and dealing with all the crises (major and minor) that arise in typical classroom, evenings and weekends grading papers, and, if you are lucky, spending a few minutes with your family or friends. An article was recently suggested in my Diigo newsfeed (more on that another day) that had some surprising suggestions that might help out:
1. Schedule your day: a to-do list is just the start. Give tasks a specific time when it is most efficient to work on that task. Don’t forget to schedule your free time, too. Set a time for a walk, dinner with friends, or reading a book. At the very least, for me, that might end the procrastinating that eats up my day.
2. Plan backwards: you want to go home at 4:45, plan accordingly. Having a plan in mind will help you weed out interruptions and stay focused, even if it means shutting your door during your planning period (assuming you are lucky enough to have one).
3. Plan ahead for those long term projects: term papers coming in? Build in times to work on grading those for the next week. Write your schedule down where you can see it or email it yourself. Sure, things will come up but this will allow you to have a better idea how to work through or avoid those unexpected interruptions.
4. Learn to say no. Do what you are good at, what has to be done, and “just say no” to additional tasks that are not part of your talent set or take you away from your goals.
5. Avoid the unimportant and focus on the big stuff: shuffling papers from here to there, responding to emails when not really necessary, or attending non-productive meetings all distract from the goal.
OK, I know, you cannot get out of the meetings. Supervisors or principals tend to frown on non-attendance but wouldn’t it be nice sometimes. And, no, I am not saying I am following any of these suggestions at the moment but they are food for thought. What might I accomplish over the summer if I actually made a schedule? If you want to read the entire article or look at some of the supporting articles, click here.