6 Resolutions to Reclaim Your Time & Finally Find Balance as a Teacher
Ready to reclaim your time and fight for balance as a teacher? These six resolutions will help you do just that!
Do you ever wake up in the morning with the weight of all the things you didn’t do the day before heavy on your shoulders?
Do you find yourself at the end of the school day sitting exhausted at your desk, starting at a stack of papers that need grading? Not to mention three more lessons you need to plan, and a list of five parents you need to call - and it's already 5:20!
Are you ever stuck at school way longer than you wanted to be? Or end up working all night when you'd rather be spending time with your family?
Maybe you blame your school or your position - my admin is just too demanding!
Or maybe you're feeling a bit disillusioned - I can't think of anything else I could possibly do differently that would help - at least not without neglecting my students.
But regardless of why it's happening, here's the truth: You can resign yourself to continue on as you are - overwhelmed, frustrated, and heading straight towards burnout.
Or, you can do something about it.
You can recognize that something has to change and decide that balance is worth fighting for.
Being an excellent teacher who still has time for yourself & your family - that is NOT an impossible dream. It's something you can totally do. And it can start with these six resolutions:
6 Resolutions to Finally Find Balance
1. I resolve to stop making choices out of guilt.
Too often we make our decisions out of guilt. Whether it’s agreeing to lead a club, deciding to plan an elaborate lesson, or taking on an extra ministry at church, we let the guilt of what we think we should do – or the pressure others put on us – make the decision for us.
Instead, we must realize we cannot do everything. And with only 24 hours in a day, when we say yes to one thing, by default we’re saying no to something else. With this in mind, we must resolve to stop making choices out of guilt and instead choose to spend our time on tasks that truly move the needle.
2. I resolve to choose one main thing each day and do it first.
This powerful resolution (which is a cornerstone of Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club) can make a huge difference in both your productivity and stress level.
Here’s what to do: Each morning (or the evening before), decide on one important thing that has to get done that day. Then, do that first. That doesn’t necessarily mean first thing in the morning. Rather, during the first chunk of time you have, tackle that important task first, before you check your email, rifle through the piles of grading, run errands, or do anything else.
When you do the main thing first, not only do you ensure your most important task gets done, but you also bring more energy and brainpower to the task than you would if you tried tackling it later in the day. Plus, you’ll feel better the rest of the day, knowing your most important task is already done.
3. I resolve to focus during planning times and get more done at school.
There are so many distractions and disruptions that keep us from being able to actually get work done at school. But that doesn’t mean we should just throw up our hands and give up. The more we get done at school, the less we have to do at home, and the more time we’ve reclaimed.
Discover nine specific ideas for how to reduce disruptions during planning periods in our free Reclaim Your Time Challenge.
4. I resolve to use schedules to put boundaries around my time.
Do you ever find yourself at the mercy of other people’s demands, jumping from task to task, constantly putting out fires? When we don’t plan our time, we end up doing whatever feels most urgent, often leaving little time for the things that actually matter most to us.
Instead, try using a rough schedule to put boundaries around your time. Decide when you will and won’t work during the week, and put important tasks – both for home and at school – on your calendar. You can always adjust your plan later, but you’ll be amazed how much more you get done – and how much less guilty you feel – when you have some type of plan.
We talk more about how to set up and use schedules in our free Reclaim Your Time Challenge. In the challenge, Angela Watson shares important tips for how to create a workable schedule. You'll also find tools and worksheets to make it simple and easy.
5. I resolve to stop saying “I have to” and start asking “How can I accomplish this goal in a reasonable amount of time?”
We often feel stuck doing something either because everyone else is doing it or because it’s what we think we have to do to be a good teacher. But often these standards are simply in our heads. Instead of saying “I have to do it this way,” we need to be constantly asking ourselves, “How can I accomplish this goal in a reasonable amount of time?” You’ll be amazed at the creative solutions you come up with (I give a few examples here).
But heres’ the rub: When you’re already stressed, overwhelmed, and over-busy, you might not have the mental bandwidth to come up with these type of creative solutions. You’re in survival mode, and this type of deep thinking feels like a luxury. That’s why I’m thrilled to recommend my friend Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. In this program, Angela has asked the “how can we” question over and over and has come up with a ton of amazing, practical ideas to streamline basically everything.
6. I resolve to get support and stop trying to figure it all out myself.
Too often we try to figure everything out ourselves, and the result is frustration and discouragement. We need other people alongside us – to encourage us, provide fresh ideas, and help us see what we’re missing.
One way to get support is to team up with a friend or colleague and ask them to be your accountability partner. Check in often to see how each other’s doing and swap ideas.
The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek is another fantastic support system. Not only has Angela compiled tried-and-true solutions that keep you from having to re-invent the wheel, but the networking and support systems within the club will keep you motivated and encouraged throughout the year.
Are you ready to make these six resolutions a reality in your life?
Join us in our free Reclaim Your Time Challenge, where we’ll dive into each resolution in detail and figure out how to actually make it happen.
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