Time Management for the Teacher

Time management can be tricky. I know. I recall many times that I just didn’t have it under control. I would come to work early, burn up my prep time, stay late at night, and STILL come in on Saturday to work – not to mention the times I took my bag home and actually opened it. I often wondered, “Am I ever going to get this time management piece down and get my life back?”

Time management is and always has been a struggle for educators. There is just so much we need to do, so many tasks piled on our plates. I'm sharing some of the things I've learned over the years that have helped me better manage my time and reclaim my personal life. I hope they help you, too!

As I mentioned in my blog post, Tips to Leave Work Early, I did eventually start to figure some things out. It took time. I had to take some baby steps, but really, learning time management was a huge chunk of it.

A Key to Time Management Is Evaluation

One of the first things I needed to do was to stop and evaluate many different things. First, I had to evaluate how I was spending my time. I took note of my daily activities for a few days – everything. That was an eye-opener for me to see just how much time I waste. You don’t realize until you actually keep a record just how much of a time sucker Facebook, Pinterest, and your email really are! I mean, I had an idea – but I guess I was just in denial. Once I was able to see how I was wasting spending my time, I then made a schedule and forced decided to stick to it.

Next, I evaluated when I felt I worked best. Was it morning? Evening? Afternoon? For me, it is the first thing in the morning, right after my first cup of…Dr. Pepper. Yeah, I don’t drink coffee. Never liked the stuff. I’m a Dr. P kind of gal. I swear they put stuff in it to keep me hooked!

Finally, I evaluated the list of tasks I need to do and their level of priority. I took a four-quadrant chart and sorted my tasks based on how important and urgent they were. This is an example below. I have an empty Time Management Quadrant for you download FREE by clicking here.

Time management is and always has been a struggle for educators. There is just so much we need to do, so many tasks piled on our plates. I'm sharing some of the things I've learned over the years that have helped me better manage my time and reclaim my personal life. I hope they help you, too!

Other Time Management Tips

In addition to the evaluation tips above, I also made sure that I did my tasks right the first time so I didn’t have to do them again. I always hated rushing through things only to find myself having to start over or redo it. When working on those tasks, I always stopped and took frequent breaks. I use to believe I had to power on – no matter how tired I was – so I could get it done. That’s actually not good. Taking a break actually allows your brain to work more efficiently and effectively. And I always did those nasty, unwanted tasks first. That’s when your brain is the freshest, and there is something fulfilling about having it done and moving on to the better tasks!

Finally, create routines that become second nature – or habits – and consider moving up your deadlines. I remember in college I used to actually go through my syllabus and change the due dates. I would change them to the day before; then I was always on time, without the worry. Just something to consider.

Ultimately, no matter what we do, there will never be enough time. I just try to remind myself that time is always short – but so are our lives on this earth. I can spend my time on earth fighting time and miss out on life, or I can spend my time enjoying life and just managing my time the best I can. There will always be something that needs to be done.

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