As teachers, most of us wear many hats together. How do you manage everything yet meet timelines? Do you step back or step up? Is it possible to achieve everything?
A constant challenge is time management. Even if we wished, we couldn’t add an extra hour to our day. So, what can one do?
There are many hacks and strategies available in books and online. However, you need to find what works best for you with some deliberate and careful planning. Here are a few tips for teachers to make the most of non-contact lessons.
Keep a checklist
Make a checklist, whether digital or handwritten, to help you collate and quickly access all your tasks together.
Look at your list carefully, mention the due date next to each task and colour code or number them as per deadlines, urgency or quick responses. You can also break the to-do list in three parts – things that can be achieved in a day, things that can be achieved during the week and things that can be achieved within a month. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and not be overwhelmed.
Depending on the working style you choose, you could tackle the quick and easy jobs or the bigger tasks at the start of the day. This will allow you to assess the time taken or needed.
During a CPD opportunity I had during blended learning, I came across the Eisenhower Matrix: a tool that helps you identify the order in which you should approach your work.
You can also use the Pomodoro Technique: use a timer to break down work into intervals.
We all know our daily routine and role. It might be useful to consciously block chunks of the non-contact lessons with goals you want to achieve both professionally and personally. This gives you a clearer head and less stress.
Divided attention may not be best way to achieve goals. Choose one task at time and give it your maximum attention for better productivity. Once you have achieved it, you can move on to the next one.
Reassess your energy levels
The second half of the day, when we may be low on energy, may be the right time to do low energy tasks like sending emails, data entry, photocopying etc. Be aware of your own strength during the day for demanding or easy tasks and divide and conquer. Save your peak performance time for thought-intensive or problems that are either complex or require decision making.
Some days, despite our best effort, things may not go according to plan. Instead of struggling, it might help to take a break and re-focus on what can be achieved. During the work week, keep some slots empty for something that may need attention or time as our day may change and we may need to meet or support a student, colleague, or parents. Setting boundaries and taking time to take a break is equally important to work effectively.
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