5 Time Management Tips to Improve Self-Care

Time management and organization are key to achieving balance and wellness. The Simply Organized Teacher, Kelly Jackson, walks us through a selection of simple and effective strategies to improve self-care, both in and out of the classroom.
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Time Management Tips to Improve self-Care

Time Management and Self-Care

When we think about self-care it is easy to jump to the “lay on the couch and binge Netflix” or “pedicure and book afternoon” kind of thing. Both of these examples are excellent ways to take care of yourself, but they don’t help fix the root problem of teachers having too much to do to be able to take time away from the classroom. Time management is a crucial piece of the self-care puzzle, because if you don’t have time management routines in place, taking time out of your busy schedule becomes almost impossible! 

My name is Kelly Jackson and I am a writer, blogger, and podcaster at The Simply Organized Teacher, where I help busy teachers simplify their classrooms. I want to share a story about the importance of creating a time management plan. 

A while back I had a really bad day. I woke up to some news that put me in complete distress. Like, curled in a ball crying my eyes out. I tried to sit at my desk and crank out some work but I couldn't. My mind just kept wandering back to the issue at hand. I needed time away. I needed time to heal my wounds and let God (okay, okay, and Netflix) nurse me back to a sense of peace.

Have you had a day like this? My guess is yes. But what do you do when days like these creep up? 

When I was in the classroom, I had this same type of situation play out numerous times. I'm sure you have too. You know those days when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed yet you still have to show up at school and be happy, upbeat, and full of energy for your kids? It's HARD. Those days are HARD.

Believe in Self-Care and the Importance of a well-organized life

I believe so deeply in self-care. I believe in the importance of taking time for yourself, even if that just means having a day to sit at home and nurse your wounds. I believe that you should be able to do that last-minute if needed. We are humans first, teachers second. I believe in the importance of an organized and well-managed classroom so that you can take that time off without having to worry or stress.

Part of being able to take time away from school is having a plan in place and trusting your students enough to manage the classroom with a new adult in there. How do you build that trust with your students? It's simple. With a plan.

Time Management for Self-Care

When you take time to plan out all the ins and outs of your classroom, then show up each and every day and implement those plans (and hold students accountable to them) students learn what a well-managed classroom is supposed to look like. With all that is going on in our world right now, I suspect you will need to have some last-minute days off. And I want you to be able to do that all while feeling prepared. Classroom management and organization are really important to be able to take last-minute time off or even planned time off so you can prioritize self-care for yourself. 

These 5 tips will help you in creating organization routines so you know your classroom will still function even if you are not there. 

Prioritizing Routines

Take time at the beginning of the year to write out all of the various routines you and your students go through each day (entering and exiting the classroom, sharpening pencils, turning in papers, going to the restroom). Then, practice these routines every day with your students so they know how the classroom runs even if you are not there.

Assigning Everything a Home

Everything in your classroom down to your favorite pencil needs a specific place it goes. The same goes for your students’ things. (Labels help with this!)

Including Your Students

Teach your students the importance of putting things in their homes and practice daily through classroom jobs that put the responsibility on them to clean up and maintain an organized classroom. Build this into your daily routine.

Utilizing Stations

Using stations in your classroom and do them frequently. Stations are a great way to have students work together and allow you the chance to work in a small group setting. The added benefit of stations that students are familiar with is that when you need to be out at the last minute, you have activities ready for them to go. No coming up to campus before students get there to prep work for them! 

Making Plans

Creating emergency lesson plans for those days when you need to just call-in last minute. This is where those stations come into play- students can do stations as a way to keep them engaged with the material you are already teaching them. You can also have a file box of general activities that you can direct a substitute teacher to in the event of a last-minute day off. 

Taking time off, whether planned or last-minute, is never easy. It is often simpler to be in the classroom than out of it. But as teachers, we also know that it is imperative we take time for ourselves every now and then. By implementing routines and organization structures into your classroom, you can more easily take that time off without the added stress of getting materials together or coming back to a disaster of a classroom the next day. 

By Kelly Jackson  | The Simply Organized Teacher

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