I am a huge supporter of teachers taking care of themselves. I believe it down to the core of who I am that teachers have to take care of themselves in order to be an effective teacher. But how do you find time for that with everything on your plate? You can’t find more time in your day. It all boils down to effective time management tips for teachers so you can take care of yourself.
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I want to share routines for teachers, not hard and fast rules. The goal here is to create rhythms. You will notice that a lot of my tips below allow for rhythms within your week.
Routines for Teachers Video
As per my new “ush” (how do you spell that? I am shortening “usual” lol). Anyways, I have a video for you. Y’all, I get a bit preachy on this. But that’s okay right? You are probably used to it by now!
You can watch the video about or read on to see the 10 time management routines for teachers that are super valuable and simple!
Routines for Teachers
1. Give Everything a Home
I talk about this a TON. If everything has a home you aren’t wasting time finding out where it goes. In my blog post and video “5 Ways to Stay Organized” I talk about how to give everything a home.
2. Create a Year at a Glance
By creating a template for your year, you already know where you are going. This was helpful to me because I didn’t have to second guess what I needed to be teaching. I knew how long each unit was and I even broke my year at a glance down enough to list specific resources I wanted to use, if I knew I had some.
3. Establish Lesson Planning Days
By creating a routine of when you will lesson plan with your team and individually, you create routines and rhythm. I find that when I know I have a day set aside to do something, I don’t have to stress about it.
Here’s a real-life example. The whole moving to Germany process was tiring and chaotic. Cody and I clearly had different thoughts on how we should plan for the move. The minute we got the offer I wanted to start packing.
That didn’t happen and it was probably for the best. But what I found helpful for me was putting a packing day on the calendar. I KNEW I scheduled out time for it, so I didn’t have to worry about it. For me, a lot of my stress comes from figuring out when I am going to find the time to do it.
This is why lesson planning days worked so well for me. The teacher I planned with and I set aside Mondays each week. I knew that time was taken up each week and I tried to not schedule meetings during that time. I didn’t have to worry about when Jill and I would plan because I knew it was already on the calendar.
4. Establish a Week Routine and a Conference Time Routine
Going along with my suggestion for lesson planning days, create routines for each day of your week. For me, every Wednesday was personal lesson planning. Thursday and Friday were prep days for the upcoming week. Again, I never had to worry about when I was going to get this done because I knew I had set aside time for it.
I gave each of my “open” times a duty. (By open times I mean conference time/after school time.) When that day rolled around, I knew what I needed to work on at that time. You can read more about establishing a weekly routine in The Simply Organized Classroom Ebook.
I try to do the same with my blog now. Mondays are prep and plan days. Tuesdays are editing days and so on.
Again, consistency, routines, rhythms.
5. Utilize a Meal Planning Routine
On the topic of “themeing” your days by creating a weekly plan for your time at school, I also encourage you to do the same for your home life. Part of being successful at time management is putting routines and structures in place to make things go a lot quicker.
Meal Planning and Prepping is something I do weekly. I try to get my husband in on it and most of the time he helps. But regardless, I know that Friday I am going to figure out our meals for the upcoming weekend and following week.
Prep Dish is a great tool to help you in planning and prepping your meals for the upcoming week.
6. Learn to SAY NO
For the love, please learn to say no! You are not everyone’s hero. Find what matters to you, choose your priorities, and say no to the rest. That’s really all I have to say about that.
7. Use Intentional To-Do Lists
I am notorious for to-do lists. I make a ton of them. And sometimes I make them and then remake them pretty.
But I always had one “master” brain dimp list that lived on my PC thing. IDK what it’s called…like the box the computer is in.
Anytime something popped into my mind I could immediately find my brain dump list and write it down. If necessary, I would write lists on sticky notes and then transfer them later on to the master list.
Get the free to-do list master class on how to make the most of your to-do lists. Sign up here and get the free Teacher To-Do Lists and watch the master class.
8. Close the Door
I like to talk. But you know what I like more than talking? Not being at school!
During my first year, I struggled with leaving on time. And it was because after car duty I found a teacher friend to chat with. And forty-five minutes later I was still there.
(That’s part of why I started the Simply Teach podcast. I love talking teacher stuff with people!)
Building relationships in your school is SO important. But don’t forget to close your door every once in a while, turn the light off, and get to work.
9. You are Not Pinterest (or TPT) (or Instagram)
This Pinterest education world thing, whatever it is, is killing us. Y’all, we waste so much time trying to make things look Pinterest worthy. (And I say WE because I am totally included in that.) But not everything needs to be perfect.
I spent SO much time my first year laminating and cutting out games and anchor charts and pretty much everything that could be laminated. Then guess what? I forgot about it the next year. OH! And the year after that? I moved to a different grade level.
What a waste of my time! And of my mom’s time. And of parent’s time who came and volunteered for me. Listen to this podcast episode where I talk about Pinterest vs. Practical Classrooms.
Before you spend time making something perfect or laminating it. Ask yourself, how much are the kids going to use this? Not a lot? Then don’t laminate it.
I get it, it looks nicer. I promise, I really get it. But y’all, let’s be real. Do you think the kid cares about it being laminated? They don’t! I struggled SO much last year not taking time to laminate things and make them look cute. Not that I struggled to not do it, but like, I saw other teachers doing it and felt like a terrible teacher if I didn’t do that too. But then I realized “hey, I leave most days by four, that teacher doesn’t.”
Either is not right or wrong, it’s just priority. And by year six, laminated/perfect stuff was not a priority. If it is, then great! Do it! Just know you will have to cut time from something else.
10. Plan in Advance and Utilize Parent Helpers
To go along with what I just wrote about up there…If you know games you want to make, print, laminate, cut, etc. in advance, then find a parent to help you with it!
Again, back to the year at a glance (or curriculum map, whatever you want to call it), if you know what is coming, then you can be prepared and get those things made ahead of time! Hopefully with the help from a volunteer!
I recommended a lot of links in this post. Here they all are again:
- 5 Ways to Stay Organized in the Classroom
- How to Create a Year at a Glance
- Lesson Planning Quickly and Efficiently
- The Simply Organized Classroom Ebook
- Meal Planning Resource
Don’t forget to grab the Teacher To-Do Lists templates and free masterclass on how to best utilize your to-do lists!
Until next time,
If you found this post useful, simply click the “Pin It” button and pin it to one of your boards so you have it and other teachers can find it!
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