We have all been there. Its 6 am, the alarm goes off, and we are faced with the reality of what lies ahead. As soon as you start your day, you are faced with the challenges of fitting all your tasks into 24 hours. You begin to plan your day in your head, thinking of what needs to be done and how you are going to achieve everything. Your time management is on point. Then you get to work. Reality sets in and you think to yourself “how am I going to finish everything” How am I going to achieve all that I set out to achieve? The answer to time management is planning.
Time is precious, every minute of the day is valuable and how we use them can determine what sort of a day we are going to have. This is especially true in teaching. As a teacher, our days are made up of time sessions in which we are expected to deliver engaging and educational sessions to our students. As a teacher, you would have spent time planning each of these sessions into well-timed portions. Everything that you do in your classroom is timed so that you can fit everything in . In this guest article, author, Yvette Salvaris shows you what would happen if we took this practice and used it in our personal lives? You might be surprised.
Planning and structure is important. If we know what is going to happen next, we feel more organised and more focused. Ideally, the best time to plan is before you go to bed. This way you are not only going to bed with a clear mind but also when you wake up, you have a clear plan. The best way to do this is by jotting down do to tasks in a notebook. Date the page and just list all the things you need to do in no particular order. Then when you wake up, check your list and as you complete each task cross it off. Just the simple act of crossing off a task will give you a sense of accomplishment. Don’t forget if you are using this method, to carry over tasks from the day before that you did not complete.
Of course, not everyone has the time to do their planning before bed. Some people are just too tired to even think! Some people find taking the first 30 mins of their day to write down everything that needs to be done helpful. This can be done over breakfast. Look at your schedule and see what the day holds. Then write down in order of importance what needs to be done, keeping in consideration the other things that are happening during the day (eg staff meetings or meetings with parents etc) This will give you a realistic idea of all the other things that can be achieved. Ensure while you are planning that you make important tasks a priority.
.Another way to plan is the “in the moment technique” This is when you make a note of a task as soon as it pops up. Whenever a task comes up that you can’t fit into your day or does not need you to have a same-day response, note it down and add It to the next day’s plan. I find having a notebook or even the notes section on your phone or tablet nearby can help to remind you to note down the task. With good planning, you will find that you are more productive and motivated.
If you want to be super organised and combine work with personal tasks then The Action Plan is for you. An Action plan is a more detailed version of a To Do List. Action plans are used for more long-term goals and not for tasks that need immediate attention. These type of plans help you to focus and encourages you to think about what needs to be done according to priorities. Creating an action plan can take some time, but it will be time well spent.
How to create an action plan for time management
Step 1: Writing the list
This step is the most important step and one that you want to get right. The first step is to make a list of all the things in your life that require a solution or resolution. These tasks can be personal, professional, they can be various sizes of tasks and various urgencies. Reflect on emails that need attention, bills that need to be paid, people you need to deal with (especially students you have concerns about) write down all those annoying tasks that you may have written down on paper but have not actioned.
Step 2: Cut down the list.
This is the time for you to review your list that you wrote in step 1. Start by looking carefully at each point that you wrote down. Think about if the point is relevant and needs action, or if it is just something that is annoying you and is not really that important compared to other tasks. Remove these factors, after all, they are not important and will only be a distraction later on.
Step 3: Organising and prioritising your tasks
This step is where you need to review your list and examine each task to see if they can be grouped together with other tasks. For example, you may want to look at a new computer program to help you with your report writing, and you may also want to upgrade your computer system. You could group this into a project called computer system upgrade. Another example might be you are looking for more sustainable products to use in your classroom and you want to become more environmentally friendly in your day to day life. You could group this together and call this environmental changes project.
Once you have grouped the tasks, it is the time to review the groups (or projects) and priories them. Use a coding system that works for you. Some people like numbers or letters, others use colours.
Step 4: Drawing up your action plan
After cutting down your list and merging tasks to form groups, you now need to draw up your list. This is best done on your computer. You can use excel or any other program that you feel comfortable with and that works for you. The following parts need to be inserted into your action plan.
Action: This is where you list your project groups
Tasks: These are the tasks that need to be completed as part of your project group.
Timeline: In this section, you need to look at your list and how you prioritised your tasks. The principal tasks are the ones that need to be dealt with first.
The next step is to start crossing off your tasks as you complete them!
I hope these hints and tips will help you to be more organised in your everyday life. Being a teacher is hard work, but with a little planning, you can be successful in completing all your tasks.
Ethics and Education go hand in hand. You can’t have a quality education, without an ethical approach. Yvette aims to give people the opportunity to experience both. She feels that students have the right to a high-quality moral education program
Yvette Salvaris is one of the directors and owners of Ethical Training Solutions and Ethical Family Day Care. She has 20 years experience in the childcare and education industry. Yvette initially started as a teacher and quickly found herself working in the childcare industry and then as a training coordinator for a large private organisation. She has also managed one of the largest Outside School Hours Care in Victoria. She loves to see her students succeed. Yvette has a strong passion for quality education and is a firm believer that you can do anything, it’s just a matter of finding what you’re good at doing.