Hmmmmmmm you say?
If you think about work/life balance as something that you are trying to multitask, it suddenly makes sense that by trying to do EVERYTHING at once (work, maintain a household, run our kids everywhere, have hobbies, stay connected to friends and family members, and on and on), you are actually less effective at each of those things, just like you would be if you were trying to read a book, watch TV, surf work ideas on Pinterest, and cook dinner at the same time. I am not sure any of those items would be done well - and probably result in the smoke alarm going off at some point too.
So what is the solution?
I believe doing more of less.Not only will this save your sanity, but it will result in you getting far more focused time on the activity you are currently paying attention to and allow for above average results. Effectiveness at its finest.
So, what are some tools that can help you to do more of less?
Here are 5 time-saving tips:
1. Fridge Board
Want to dos are a list of items that the family wants to do or experience. This might include a cake tasting night at home. Family game night. A date night for you and your significant other.
For every 3 items on the Need list that get marked off, the family gets to vote on a Want to item (or take turns picking it). This really helps to get everyone in the family involved so you don't feel like you have to do it all.
How can you adapt this for your classroom? Exactly the same way. Need to get the classroom library organized or pass out last week's homework? Students will help in order to secure a popcorn snack silent reading block as a reward.
2. Set work hours
If you know you have to complete extra grading or lesson planning at home, set a timer for 45 minutes. Whatever you get done is what gets done in that 45 minutes. If you don't get it finished, you don't continue to work.
Having a set time to start and finish helps procrastination and dawdling (I know you are surfing Facebook while "reading those essays").
3. Using a crockpot or instapot
There are millions of crockpot recipes out there - Pinterest will show you the way. :)
4. Batch your work
Believe it not, there are many, many things you can save transition time on at home and at school too. When you are grading or doing the laundry - make sure you do it all at once. Otherwise, each time you start and stop you have to remember where you left off, make sure you have collected all the relevant supplies again, and get your mind back in the game. Even if we are talking about minutes or seconds - those time fragments can add up very quickly.
Batch your tasks so you are getting larger chunks of those actvities done at the same time.
5. Your to-do list should only contain 3-5 items daily
Good example: I want to get my classroom (or home) organized so my 3 activities are emptying out the 3 drawers near the sink and repacking them into organized groups, make a list of the read alouds you keep in your secret teacher spot that students don't have access to, and purging any old papers from your desk.
Bad example: I want to get my classroom (or home) organized so my 3 activities are grading, lesson planning, and reorganizing the entire supply cabinet by pulling everything out and completely obliterating the currently picked up classroom.
Start with 3 items and if you are finding that you are able to get those 3 completed with a reasonable amount of time left over, then up the list to 4, but never go over 5. You want to feel challenged, but still accomplished at the end of the day knowing that your efforts were helping you to get to an endpoint of some sort.
Work/Life Balance is not impossible if you start looking at it a different way. Instead of trying to spin many plates in the air at one time, start thinking about spinning just one plate in the air, and then switching it up when the time for the next focus is upon you.
Do more of less.
What are some of your best time-saving tips for teachers? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments at Organized Classroom too!
This article originally appeared at Organized Classroom.