As teachers, there's hardly a time when we're not busy. Even in the summer, it can be hard to relax and stop feeling so hurried. Join us as we discuss why always being busy is such a problem and how to put habits in place NOW that can help us be (and feel) less busy during the school year.
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What is hurry sickness?
According to John Mark Comer's book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, hurry sickness is "a behavior pattern characterized by continual rushing and anxiousness" or "a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events using less and less time." Doesn't that sound like our field of education? Doing more and more with less and less time?
Comer goes on to say that hurry is a form of violence against our souls. We were not created to go and go without a break. Teacher souls need to be cared for so we can do the best job God has called us to do for our students.
The Symptoms of hurry sickness
- Restlessness- It's been hard to just stop and sit because it feels like there's always more work.
- Irritability- You feel upset or frustrated about "little" things that normally you could or should overlook.
- Non-stop activity- You have many days when you just have not had a moment to breathe- and you feel desperate for rest.
- Out-of-order priorities- You feel like the life you are living is not anywhere close to being reflective of your heart.
- Lack of care for your body- You've been skipping exercise, cooking healthy meals, and sleeping less than 8 hours a night.
- Hypersensitivity- You're easily upset and offended by things.
- Emotional numbness- It's hard to be in your emotions.
- Escapist behaviors- It's easier to play Candy Crush or another mindless game on your phone than do anything else.
- The slipping of spiritual disciplines- You're not reading your Bible or praying as much. Maybe you're also missing church.
It's a tough list to look at, but as educators we must take a brave look at ourselves, because we impact the next generation. When we are constantly hurrying, we miss moments of connection, love, and ministry. We miss conversations, meals shared with family and friends, and we are at risk of missing precious moments to impact our students.
Ideas to combat hurry sickness
There are 4 key principles to counteracting busyness.
- Silence and Solitude- There's a lack of quiet in our minds when we're always listening to podcasts, music, etc. and never being comfortable with our own thoughts. There's something powerful about silence and solitude.
- Sabbath- Adding a true Sabbath- a day completely set aside to rest, delight in life, and connect with God- is revolutionary. Stopping for one entire day may feel foreign, or even impossible, but I promise with creative planning, it's completely possible.
- Simplicity- Use minimalism to simplify your life. Find joy in the simple things.
- Slowing- Specifically make decisions that help us not to hurry, like driving the speed limit or getting in a longer checkout line. These little things signal to our bodies we don't need to go so fast.
The idea of these is hard when we feel so stressed, but this is how we teach ourselves the opposite of what we've normally been doing. It's a way to push back counterculturally. Hurrying shouldn't be the default setting.
At the end of the day, there's always more to do. You have to choose your pace of life now; you can't wait until your to-do list is empty.
The idea of margin
Margin is the white space on the edge of a paper. It helps us to be able to see more clearly when reading. Just like paper margins, our lives need white space- wiggle room.
Margin starts when you leave 10 minutes earlier than you "need" to.
Margin is giving yourself 2 weeks for a big project, working a little each day, instead of doing it all in 2 days.
Margin is praying every morning---then taking time to sit and listen to God as well.
Simply put, margin is intentionally slowing your life down. And often it is where the beauty of life, the best moments for teaching, and unexpected ministry show up!
bonus tools to help
Another resource that can help is Pray & Plan. This planner continually points back to Christ.
There are moments of prayer and stillness woven into the design.
Even the coloring pages are begging teachers to slow down.
Pray & Plan helps with blocking off Sabbath time, setting hours when you are intentionally not working, and making notes to connect with people and God.
If you are craving the slow down (Who isn't these days?), I encourage you to take a thoughtful look at Pray & Plan for a resource to live life a little more abundantly.
Another tool that can help you simplify and build margin is the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. This incredible program is helping thousands of teachers just like you not only cut 3, 5, even 10 or more hours off their workweek, but actually break that 24/7 stress cycle and finally enjoy teaching again. It will teach you how to get everything done and still have room for yourself and your family.
When student disruptions are the reason..
Sometimes the reason we fall behind is because our students find a way to get us off track with their disruptions. Spending even 15 minutes a day correcting student behavior leads to lost instructional minutes you can - and should - get back.
If you need help finding ways to keep students on track, get help in our FREE training: How to Reduce Disruptions without Yelling, Begging, or Bribing.
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