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  • Writer's pictureMs. Bolier

How to Improve Productivity and Time Management as a Teacher: 9 Things I Do To Get More Done In Less Time

As a teacher there seems to NEVER be enough time to get it all done. So with the little time we do have...we've gotta make the most of it. I'm sharing some of my time management tips with you below! These things have helped me to be more productive with the time I do have!


PLAN AHEAD It might sound like a no brainer but planning ahead how you will use your time make a huge difference in being able to spend it well. Whether it's planning how you'll use your prep period, your time before/after school, or a day before the school year starts where you're working to be ready. Prioritize tasks that are most important or time-sensitive. Sometimes all I get done is the one thing that HAD to get done in that time and that's okay because everything else could wait.


KEEP A RUNNING TO DO LIST I love to have a running to do list that I can add things to when I think of them. As a teacher there is always a million things you're trying to remember to do and it's helpful to me to get them written down (literally or typed) so that I don't stress about forgetting to do it.


It also helps because whenever I do have a moment to get something done I can check my to do list and complete something on the list. I personally love using Google Keep for my to do lists because I can access it from any device--my work laptop, my phone, or my computer at home. I can also organize my lists by topic such as "To Copy", "To Print", etc. But sometimes during the school day I just have to grab the nearest sticky note or note pad and jot down what I'm thinking of.


I also like to write on sticky notes anything that is urgent because then it's staring me in the face and I can't miss it. At the end of the day I'll make sure I add anything I wrote down on sticky notes and haven't done yet to my Google Keep lists. You can grab the Google Keep headers I use in my TPT store here!


MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS

This is probably the number one thing that will help you to make the most of your time that you do have to get things done. It's amazing how much time we really do waste from distractions without even realizing it. My biggest distraction is 100% my phone so making sure my phone is completely out of sight, out of mind is crucial for me to stay focused. But sometimes it's a coworker who may be a distraction or even students coming in.


BATCH TASKS Batching tasks means doing all tasks that are the same type of task at the same time before switching to another type of task. For teachers this might look like responding to all emails. Then compiling all the things you need to copy and making copies. Then grading all the things that need to be graded. Then planning or creating all the things that need to be made. Instead of switching constantly between different tasks which studies have shown make your brain more exhausted and you waste more time because of constantly having to switch between tasks.

TURN IT INTO A CHALLENGE

If you're putting something off because you don't want to do it for whatever reason, I find that turning it into a challenge can help. I sometimes like to see how much I can get done in a certain amount of time. I will either set a timer or sometimes the bell schedule is already a timer for me and I try to see how much I can get done before I have to start teaching. If you like listening to music you can turn on a playlist and see how many songs it takes you to complete the task.


STAY ORGANIZED

Staying organized actually does save you time. If you're having to spend time trying to find something or trying to remember what it was you needed to do then you aren't as efficient with the little time you do have.


Have a designated spot for assignments that need to be graded, assignments that have been graded, for copies to be made, and for copies that you have already made. I have my students turn in their work to their individual turn in basket (aff link) and there's a file folder in the back where I put their graded papers once their scores are in the computer. I use paper trays (aff link) to organize my copies-- I have 12 so that I can have copies prepared for the next 10 class periods (or this week + next week), plus one for copies to be made and one for master copies needed to be put away in my class binders.


DELEGATE TASKS

When possible, have students help with tasks! Things like cutting, stapling, laminating, sorting, and other prepping. I am lucky enough to have a few students as teacher aides but I know not every school has this. If you don't have actual designated aides, then ask some fast finishers if they'd like to help. You can also have students help with cleaning or setting up--I occasionally have students all get a wipe and help wipe down tables and chairs. I also have them help when I set up for things like my Child Development baby shower. They can get all the tablecloths on the tables in no time!


TIME BLOCK

Time blocking means breaking up your time into chunks--not necessarily planning minute to minute but a general block and assign a category of tasks to that time. This is helpful when you have a longer time to be working like maybe during your prep period or an entire teacher work day or summer day. I know those days before school starts when you go into the classroom can be hard to actually stay focused and get things done. The time gets away from you! Time blocking helps you stay on track with what you want to get done without having to plan minute to minute and allowing some wiggle room.


TAKE BREAKS

It's important to take breaks because after awhile our brains need a break! I like to finish a task or a group of similar tasks and then get up and walk around if I've been sitting at my computer or maybe take a seat for a second if I've been up and moving around.






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How i get more done in less time as a teacher

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