School has recently started for many of us and I know that it may have been a little bumpy getting started, getting into the swing of things, figuring out how to create a schedule that works for all parts of your life and sticking to those things that we want to spend our time doing for our health, well-being and happiness and those things that we feel we have to do. If you are experiencing (or ever have experienced) this invisible, yet very real pull, today’s blog may provide you with some usable solutions.
Here are two quick, easy to implement (but potentially more challenging to follow through with) life hacks for sticking to a balanced schedule amidst the demands of our teaching life…
Trying to stick to these lifehacks may be more challenging but once you get into the habit, you may find that you are doing other activities more efficiently because you have scheduled and made commitments to yourself that you are not willing to break.
Life hack #1
Schedule the activities you want to do first, then work everything else around it.
That’s right, schedule your gym workouts, your time for a pedicure, your time to get a haircut and even time for reading/relaxing/down time. I’m certainly not saying that every day is a spa day, but how often do we schedule in everybody else’s priorities and are then left with the crumbs and we may not even know how to spend it.
So try something different the next few weeks. The next time you are creating your weekly/monthly schedule, try to schedule in time for you (whatever that means) each week. Actually name what you are going to do with this time. If it’s not actually spelled out, then you may see it as “open” for other things that arise. Then schedule your other obligations but treat that time for yourself just like any other appointment. If you absolutely have to cancel, it needs to be rescheduled just like a doctor or dentist visit. By prioritizing yourself, even with one activity each week, you are making sure that your needs are taken care of. And we know that if we don’t put ourselves first, it’s likely to not happen. By creating this time of self-care, you also have something to look forward to–a little treat in your hectic week or day.
Try it and see what happens. It may feel uncomfortable or selfish at first, but it may provide your schedule with more balance than it had before. You will probably also find that you don’t have give up all of your other obligations but that they will fit in around the things that need to have a true priority in your life.
Life hack #2
Set a realistic time when you are going to leave work and actually leave at that time.
Just like we have an alarm to wake ourselves up to start our day, setting an alarm reminding us when our workday is over is just as important. It would be wonderful if teaching were a job where we could just leave as soon as we were contracted to. Although this may be the case in some teacher’s lives, this is a rare exception. So this second life hack is asking you to prioritize your tasks and set a time that you to believe to be reasonable for leaving each day. For me, this time varies slightly depending on the week and what I need to accomplish. However, the alarm is set for ten minutes before I’m scheduled to leave and I begin packing up when it goes off. If you try this, what should start to happen is that you will start to learn what is a priority and how long it actually takes to perform certain tasks. So there may be some growing pains, but then you can adjust the following week.
By sticking to your schedule, you are setting yourself up for focus work time not procrastinating and avoiding work that you really don’t want to do. Being efficient and keeping yourself to a schedule will free up the rest of your evening for a balance of other activities so that you can enjoy yourself at each activity you are involved in. Now, it is possible that you may need to let go of a little of the perfectionism that may keep you at work way past the final student has left the building. But you will get better at practice. Try it for a few weeks and see if you don’t work more efficiently while at school. You may be really surprised by everything you can get done when you have a time limit!
So there are a few life hacks that hopefully will provide you with some simple ways to avoid getting out of balance with your daily, weekly and monthly schedule.
If you’re looking for how to implement these and many more hacks check out this FREE Course “4 Solutions to a Forty Hour Work Week”.