Teaching is so utterly overwhelming this year; almost everyone is on the brink of burnout. Join us to discover five key realizations that will help you rein in your to-do list and get through this year without burning out.
5 Mindset shifts to prevent burning out
Burning out is a real possibility this year, even for teachers who say they never would've considered quitting before this pandemic. By now, we all know how overwhelming and stressful this school year is. But you- and your students- can’t afford a burnout right now. We still have a lot of time left in this school year.
There are some mindset shifts you can make, particularly with your to-do list, to help combat burnout. It’s so important to take action before you reach a breaking point.
- You cannot do everything. Every time you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to something else. Sometimes it feels like there are a million things you have to do, but the truth is, a lot of these things you don’t have to do. What you do is a choice. Sometimes we know what we are exchanging when we say “yes” to something- grading over family time, watching TV instead of exercising. But sometimes, we don’t realize what our choice is costing us. At times, we are exchanging rest, energy, spiritual wellness, and our relationship with Christ for other things. Recognize that you can’t do everything and be intentional about what you say “yes” to. Choose to say “no” more often.
- Focus on what matters most. Identify what matters most to you inside and outside of the classroom. Write the priorities down because that will help you know what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. When you can’t say “no” to something, maybe you can do the bare minimum with it. Prioritize what matters most in your schedule.
- Time spent planning and scheduling is time well-spent. Sometimes the decisions we make about what we are going to do are unconscious decisions. We haven’t actually looked at our to-do list and identified the priorities- we are just trying to do it all. We often think we don't have time to sit down and plan our schedule. In actuality, the time we put into planning helps us be more effective for the rest of the week or month because we are spending our time on the right things rather than spinning our wheels on whatever catches our eye. Make it a habit to set a timer for 20 minutes and plan out your week. Put the most important things on your calendar first, and then see what else you have time for.
- You are not just a teacher. You have other roles and responsibilities that are also important. Many of us are mothers, fathers, spouses, volunteers, and friends. The problem is that we tend to schedule our work, but we don’t schedule the other priorities that matter to us. Recognize that other responsibilities matter and make the space for them. Build boundaries around work and actually write down other priorities on your to-do list and calendar. Things like a family dinner, Bible study, game night with the kids, or a walk with a friend should be on there.
- This year is not ideal. Your schedule this year is just going to be more challenging and you will have a longer to-do list than normal because of the pandemic and its effects. Recognize this, and recognize that it’s a temporary situation. But you do need to ask yourself, “Is this schedule I’m putting together sustainable until May?” Don’t try to have an “ideal” schedule, but work for something that’s at least somewhat sustainable, realizing it won’t be like this forever.
We hope these mindset shifts help reduce your stress and overwhelm. We actually created a special system called “Tame Your To-Do List for Teachers” that will help you flesh out how these mindset shifts work practically. You actually sit down with your to-do list and make changes. You can check out all the details at: The Tame Your To-Do List System for Teachers.
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