The First Steps to Achieving Work/Life Balance
When I talk to teachers, I am heartbroken at how many of you are overwhelmed and on the verge of burning out. How so many of you feel as if there’s not enough left of you at the end of the day for your family.
Teaching can be overwhelming. And if you’re not careful, it can take over your entire life.
But it shouldn’t.
Teaching is an incredible profession – and an extremely important one. But the hard truth is that if you’re burnt out, you’re not really going to be able to help your students, are you? (Not to mention that your family needs you, too.)
There is no badge of honor in working constantly. There is, however, incredible peace & fulfillment in being a fantastic teacher without letting it consume your entire life.
So how do you find this work/life balance? There’s not a simple answer. But it starts with these steps….
How to Start Finding Work/Life Balance
- Realize balance is important & must be a priority. If you really want to find balance, you have to start by valuing it. By saying “this is important.” But committing to make it a priority. By constantly reminding yourself that you’ll be a better teacher when you are refreshed than when you are exhausted and overwhelmed.
- Let go of perfectionism. You’ve got to realize that there will ALWAYS be something else to do. You could stay up till 2:00 in the morning every night and there’d still be something else you could add to your to-do list. If you want to find balance, you must let go of perfectionism. Instead, strive for excellence. Excellence can be achieved in a reasonable amount of time; perfectionism will never happen and will only overwhelm & drain you.
- Decide ahead of time when you will and will not work. As we said before, there’s always something else to do. So you have to draw some boundaries about when you’ll go home, how long you’ll spend grading at night, etc. Decide this ahead of time (for example, at the start of each week) and stick to it as best you can.
- Identify what really MUST be done & what is a lesser priority. We tend to think we HAVE to get our whole to-do list done before we go to bed. But the reality is that some of those items could actually wait – or just be erased. (Let go of the perfectionism, remember.) Start asking yourself “Does this really need to get done or do I just want to get it done? Can it wait?” Do the things that MUST be done first. Then move on to less critical tasks. When you’re out of time, let the rest go. (Easier said than done, I know. But no one said it was easy. It is, however, very important.)
- Always be looking for ways to save time. You CAN learn to work more efficiently, but it won’t happen overnight. Instead, it must be a series of small changes that add up to big results and a lot less stress. So start looking for small ways that you can save time. You can start with my list of 25 ways to save time here. Look through the list & choose one now to work on. Then next week, choose another one. Keep going until you’ve mastered as many as you can.
Click here to download a printable PDF of the 25 ways to save time & take home less work.
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