8 Lies Teachers Tell Themselves About Work/Life Balance
Do you ever feel like teaching is taking over your life? Are you overwhelmed and stressed? Do you feel guilty for neglecting your family while at school then feel guilty for neglecting school while at home?
What you desperately need is some balance in your life. And in this blog/podcast series we’ll be diving deeply into how to do just that.
But first we need to discuss some lies that get into our heads & prevent us from finding the balance we need. We need to reject these lies & replace them with the truths that will free us to start making real changes in our lives.
Lies Teachers Believe About Work/Life Balance
1. Lie: Teachers are always working on school stuff at home. It’s just how it is.
Truth: Lots of teachers have learned how to get everything done without letting it take over their lives. You can too.
While you might need to take some work home, you shouldn’t be constantly working on it, and it certainly shouldn’t be taking over your life. Teachers just like you have learned how to get all their grading and lesson plans done in a reasonable amount of time, leaving time for your home, family, and personal growth. There are solutions, and we’re going to be talking about them throughout this series.
2. Lie: If I work fewer hours, I won’t be as effective.
Truth: If you learn to be more efficient, you can actually be more effective in less time.
Finding balance is not about just letting our work go undone. It’s about finding ways to be more efficient and intentional with the time you have so that you can get all your important tasks done in a reasonable amount of time.
3. Lie: I can keep jam-packing every minute of my day.
Truth: You desperately need margin in your life.
If you’re constantly going from the moment you get up to the moment your head hits the pillow, this is going to take a toll on you in the long run. Yes, there are jam-packed days here and there, and even crazy weeks from time to time. But if this is the norm in your life, there are going to be some long-term consequences. You need margin – space – in your life. Space to think, space to pray, space to enjoy your family.
4. Lie: The only way I’ll find some balance is if my school changes its crazy expectations.
Truth: You (and only you) can create balance in your life.
Your school may have you teaching more classes, filling out more paperwork, or overseeing more extra-curricular activities that you’d prefer. But the truth is that it’s up to you to find balance in your life, regardless of your situation. And even if your situation is less than ideal, you can certainly move in the right direction. So don’t let this be an excuse.
5. Lie: There’s nothing I can do. I just can’t work any faster.
Truth: Forget faster. You must be more intentional, focused & efficient.
If you’re trying to work faster, you’re missing the point. It’s not about magically becoming faster. It’s about learning to focus, to be intentional about where you spend your time, and to be efficient when you are working. We’ll be diving deeper into exactly how to do this later in this series.
6. Lie: Next year will be better.
Truth: Next year will present new challenges that vie for your time. Next year will be better only if you make changes.
If you’re a first year teacher, then we can say that next year will be better. And it’s true that the first year teaching new curriculum is always tough. But the danger is in just assuming that next year will be better & not making the changes that are necessary to really find balance. Things may be easier in some ways next year, but there will most likely be new challenges & new responsibilities that will vie for your time. So don’t just count on next year being better – make the changes & ensure that it will be.
7. Lie: I can do it all.
Truth: When you say yes to one thing, you say no to another.
This is true in all aspects of life. When we say yes to one thing (coaching basketball, staying late to grade papers, chaperoning a trip, volunteering, etc.), we are, by default, saying no to something else. And we may or may not realize what we’re saying no to. It’s literally impossible to say yes to everything because if you’re saying yes to everything you’re unintentionally saying no to other things – things that might be really important like focusing on your marriage or relaxing with your kids. This doesn’t mean we should start saying no to every opportunity, but it does mean that we need to be intentional with our decisions & realize what we’re saying no to when we say yes to something else.
8. Lie: Once I achieve balance, I’m golden.
Truth: Balance always requires work & constant adjustment.
Once we start pursuing balance, this lie can creep in & make us feel frustrated or even guilty that we haven’t arrived yet. But the truth is that balance is not something we achieve & are done with. Instead, it’s something we’re always working on. It requires constant adjustments whenever one area of our life starts to get out of whack. So don’t let that bother you. Embrace the imbalance that is inherently part of finding balance.
If you’re ready to reject the lies & do whatever it takes to finally find balance, then you absolutely need to check out Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. This amazing program is helping hundreds of teachers just like you cut 3, 5, even 10+ hours off their workweek and find the balance they so desperately crave.
Which lie do you need to reject? Share your thoughts with a comment below.
Angela Watson of 40 Hour Teacher Workweek has graciously offered to give away a copy of her guide “How to Choose a Target Number of Work Hours & Stick to It.” Click here to get your free copy.