teachin' school

teaching tip 55. avoid procrastination.

at this time of the year, it’s hard to stay focused and motivated.  you’re thinking ahead, but still have work to do.  with state testing coming up, it’s especially stressful.  so how do you avoid putting off the things you know you have to get done?

  • make a list – i keep my list in my planner, divided by each day.  mark off tasks when completed and add more as needed.  i like to use boxes to check off, strike-through arrows when tasks need to be moved, and highlighter to show importance.
  • prioritize your list – display your list somewhere you will see it constantly.  i keep my planner open on my teacher desk.  if a digital list works better, use that.  or maybe a big post-it with an on-going list by your laptop is best.
  • put in the effort into what you need to get done, especially the important stuff like communication and lesson planning.
  • break a job into smaller parts – do a few things in the morning before school, maybe one quick task at the beginning of lunch time, some during your conference period, and the rest in the afternoon.  if you stick yourself in your room after school until 6pm, you will be so burned out.
  • get it done early – if a task has a deadline, don’t wait.  get it done early.  for example, respond to an email as soon as possible so it’s fresh on your mind and you don’t forget about it. (i like to strive for an empty inbox, but i know that’s extreme.)
  • just do it! – sometimes it’s best to just get. it. done.  especially if it’s something that’s unpleasant, just do it and get it out of the way.
  • reward yourself – if you’ve done well and gotten everything done early and/or on time, give yourself a break.  take a few minutes to chat with a co-worker, hit up the teachers’ lounge for a snack, or read a personal book.
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