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The hashtags #SelfcareSunday and #WorkLifeBalance are seriously trending over on the gram at the moment, it seems everyone is keen to turn the spotlight on mental health, and we for one couldn’t.agree.more. Teaching is (as you all know) full on! Rewarding and amazing, but also tiring and social life zapping. So how can we be the best teachers we can be, while still realising that we are also mothers, friends, wives, daughters etc etc ?
Before we get into our top tips for clawing back a little more balance we think it's vital to acknowledge that there is no one ‘perfect’ balance. Balance will vary from person to person and will even vary during different times of the year. So instead of striving for perfection; strive for a realistic balance. There will be days where your focus may be more on school, while others can be spent purusing your hobbies and spending time with family and loved ones.
Spending more time setting up processes and structure in your classroom will 100% save you time in the future. I always spend a large chunk of time working on my long term planning and structuring my timetable. It’s not rigid, and I certainly don’t plan every minute of every week, but it is detailed. This allows me to basically copy and paste right into my weekly timetable. It is SO much more efficient to really get into your planning and go in depth once, as opposed to each and every week.
Other tips we have for working smarter include:
- Writing lists, so if ever there is a spare moment you (or your assistant if you are lucky enough to have one) know exactly what to go on with.
- Questioning the need to laminate – step away from the laminator! In fact have you seen these awesome write and wipe pockets? Simply slide in the printable and write away!
- Double laminating. This is not a myth! It really does work, even on my 10 year + machine. Laminating two sheets at the same time is a definite time saver!
BE A TEAM PLAYER
Working as a part of a team is a total game changer. Not only will you feel more supported, you are also guaranteed to save time. This could be sharing the learning areas so one person plans for literacy and the other numeracy, or even just taking turns prepping homework. There are many ways you can work as a team, just work out what works for your team and give it a go!
Using apps to assist with time management and organisation has been a real game changer this year. One of our faves is Asana (also available on the computer). Asana is a list keeping tool that allows you to have multiple lists on the go. You can also invite people to contribute to certain lists so this is a great one for anyone currently job sharing. We use it *all* the time!
Another app that we have recently been using is Focus Keeper. This app sets blocks of time to work, giving small breaks in between each session. Knowing that we only have a 25 minute block of time set to achieve a certain task makes us far more productive. Google Pomodoro method to read more about this strategy.
Easy in theory, more difficult in practise. One awesome tip we heard is the idea of writing down everything you need to get done before leaving school and placing it on your desk for the next day. Think of it as physically unloading your thinking space. This will allow you to leave work at work, even if only for a couple of nights a week.
Don’t forget to schedule in free time, actually schedule.it.in! Brunch with a friend, Sunday afternoon walks, gym time – whatever floats your boat! Make a commitment to yourself to follow through with your free time plans and try to immerse yourself in it without think about your to do list.
(Image credit: @positivelypresent Instagram)
Most importantly set yourself realistic expectations, and be kind to yourself!
We’d love to know what you are currently doing to try and have balance in your life. Let us know by leaving us a message over on our regular Sunday self-care posts on Insta.