When our students are little we talk to them about filling their buckets with good feelings by being kind, generous and compassionate.
As we get older filling our bucket takes on a whole new meaning. As teachers we continually give away part of ourselves to our students, colleagues and family. And to keep doing this we have to fill our buckets to make sure we can continue to be patient, generous and compassionate with our students. Even though we know they need filling I know I have been guilty of neglecting it.
As a teacher our job description is open to interpretation which means that our work is never done. I don’t know about you but I have never begun a school term with the thought “How awesome, all my work and preparation is done for the term!” No matter how many hours I put in there is always more that I could do. Thus the teacher guilt.
We all suffer from teacher guilt sometimes when we are sick, at PD, need to care for our own families or just needed that night off. But the question is why should we feel guilty? That’s right we shouldn’t!
This year I am focusing on reducing my teacher guilt and filling my bucket regularly so that I can be the best teacher for my students and the best ‘me’ for my family.
Worklife balance is something that we all struggle with and these are the strategies that I am trying this year to make sure that my work is not my life.
6 Strategies to help keep my Work-life balance in 2017
1. Set maximum work hours.
- This year I have set myself a goal to leave work by a set time. Essentially this means that I will be at work for about 9 hours each day, 45 hours per week. A reasonable working week.
- When my hours need to be longer, I will make time for family or hobbies that can help me to refill my bucket.
2. Work hard
- I will work hard when I am at work or working.
- It’s not that I haven’t always worked hard at work but sometimes it’s easy to get distracted and try and do multiple tasks at the sometime. This is not productive even though it does seem so at the time.
3. Plan my daily tasks
- Each day I plan in my calendar the tasks that I have to do, like teaching, observations, student management.
- I will also pick 1 – 2 additional tasks that I could accomplish in the day or make a good start on. It’s important to be realistic about the number of tasks that you can complete in a day. Most days I can expect many interruptions so 2 tasks means that I don’t feel overwhelmed with work in the last 2 hours that I am at school.
- I target the hardest task first so that it gets my freshest attention and therefore will be most productive with it. This is called eating the frog.
- Task that I can’t complete but are time sensitive are added to my calendar with a due date so that they are already prioritised.
4. Work on tasks in short bursts
- I don’t know about you but most of the time my attention span is pretty limited so I have adopted the pomodoro technique for the times where I am having difficulty focusing or need to be uninterrupted.
- Pomodoro is a technique where you work in 20 minute intervals with a 5 minute break. During this 20 minutes you focus on only 1 task, no emails, flicking between screens or windows. I set a tomato timer and it works a treat.
- I’ve found this techniques especially useful in the afternoons when my mind starts to wonder and think of home.
- It is also useful for large tasks that seem impossible (your frog) as it allows you to get large chunks completed in a focused session.
5. Make time to fill my bucket
- This year I am filling my bucket by finding a hobby for myself that is just about me. I had my first class this week and came away on a high . So lets hope it keeps working. This might be a sport, reading, colouring or vegging out watching Netflix anything that you find relaxing and refreshes you for the week to come.
- I am making time for my family on the weekends. I know there will be times of the year that working at home will be unavoidable but avoiding the weekends where possible means that it is designated time for me and my family.
6. Forget the teacher guilt and remember…….
You can get this poster for free here.
Here’s a summary in one easy to refer to graphic.
What are you doing this year to manage your work-life balance? I would love to hear. Please comment below or on our facebook page.