Time-saving tips for teachers often focus on what you can do in your classroom to maximise learning time. However, when it comes to work-life balance, how you manage your approach to work during non-contact hours is equally important. We’ve gathered time-saving strategies that you can implement now.
The most important time-saving tip we can offer is to ditch multitasking and master monotasking. The concept of ‘multitasking’ is more accurately described as ‘task-switching’.
It takes longer to bring your brain back to the point at which you left a task, after having switched your focus to something else. These delays cost valuable work time and can increase errors due to cognitive fatigue.
Learning how to prioritise your tasks is one of the best skills you can develop to help save time and reduce work-related stress. The Eisenhower Urgent/Important Principle helps to break tasks into 4 categories.
|Urgent and Important||Not urgent and Important|
|Not urgent and Important||Not urgent and Not important|
Deciding on a way to track the tasks in each of these 4 categories is worthwhile. Most computers have a sticky notes program. Consider if having one sticky note for each category may be useful, or if you’d prefer to keep written notes in your diary or on a whiteboard.
Practise time chunking
On the Sunday before a new week, look ahead at your schedule. Break non-contact time into 20-30 minute ‘chunks’. Consider your top priorities and allocate your tasks for the week to each chunk of time.
Simplify your environment
You will be more successful if you are proactive in removing distractions when you sit down to complete a specific task. If you have a dozen tabs open on your internet browser, save them to a group bookmark for later reference and then close all the irrelevant pages. Pack away items that aren’t relevant to the task at hand. Set your phone to airplane mode to help you work on a single task with laser focus.
If your task-switching habits are strong, implementing these workflow processes can take a little practice. However, with persistence, they will certainly help shift your work-life balance for the positive.