#003: Time Management for Teachers: How to NOT Work ALL the Time

Imagine having your grading and planning done on a regular basis so that you can leave work at work instead of taking it home.

You know what it's usually like... grading papers at the dinner table, while falling asleep on the sofa, etc. I know not taking work home seems like a pipe dream. Don't worry, I have a plan. Shocking, right?!

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First off, you need and deserve a break. Teachers are some of the hardest working people I know. I'm just gonna put it out there and tell you the truth. If you aren't giving yourself a mental and physical break every day and week, you are wearing yourself out. I know that's not a newsflash, but it needs to be said out loud. We all need to admit it. It's not a sustainable life.

In fact, when we get the mental and physical rest we need daily and weekly, we're more productive, happier and more focused at school and at home. I know taking a break seems counterproductive when you have a lot to get done. But, it's really not. In reality, what we really need is time at home without work, time to rest and rejuvenate and get ourselves restarted. I don't know about you, but the thought of not taking work home can seem like an impossible task. It always seems like there's simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done. And honestly, there's probably not.

The teacher bag...

In my early years of teaching, I had the infamous teacher bag. It was huge. Most teachers have one of those too. Do you have a teacher bag? How big is it? Have you changed sizes, maybe bigger or smaller in an effort to corral all the work and make it more manageable? I've always had one. I will always have one as an educator, and maybe you have more than one. I've seen that too, bags and bags. Oh goodness. Anyway, mine was always filled with grading, planning, prep projects, paperwork and ideas for things coming up that I might want to try. All kinds of things. Heck, I even had bandaids, hair ties and all kinds of other things in there too! I'm sure you do too. I don't know if you remember the show, The Price Is Right, that was popular when I was a little girl. I could be on that show with that teacher bag. There's everything you could ever need in there.

Well, anyway, I'd carry my teacher bag back and forth from school to home and back again, like an extra limb. It was just a part of me. Once I'd get home and everyone was settled. Once the kids were in bed, I'd sit on the sofa, turn on a show, maybe make a cup of coffee or have a glass of wine and start working. Before I knew it, I was spending more time falling asleep than I was working. So of course, I'd feel guilty for not getting it all done. It was a vicious cycle. Honestly, I carry the bag home, fall asleep trying to get it all done, and I guiltily take it back to school and try again. I'd try to fit some in during my already packed school day, but I just wound up feeling frazzled all the time. And some days, I'd even add more to the bag than I took out. Oh, that was the worst.  I take it right back home again. Does this dance sound familiar to you?

To tell you the truth, I was getting a great workout for my arms by not getting a lot of the work done. I was staying afloat but not really getting on top of the workload. And I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed and frazzled all the time. I just couldn't get ahead. And even if I didn't take the teacher bag home, it weighed on my mind. It was stressful.

What I needed was a new system.

I bet, my friend, that you've been there. You might even still be in this place of exhaustion and overwhelm right now. If you are, here's the answer. 

Here's a peek at what's inside this episode:

  • Why I needed a new system for getting things done and NOT taking work home.
  • What is batching? And, how to begin.
  • How to get it all done when you have kids, are a single parent or have other family obligations.
  • My simple system to get it all done every week.
  • A timer strategy for staying on task and focused.
  • What you'll need to get started.

Click here to listen. If you need a little extra help getting organized and started, I have a free checklist and guide for you in the links below. 

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