Fall back or spring forward? The choice is yours.
by Scott Totten | 11.1.15
Did you remember to change your clock? (Did it change automatically?) In recognition of daylight saving time ending today, I am contemplating time and where I can improve how I use it. I encourage you to do the same in the comments below!
How am I using my time?
I am a pre-K – fourth-grade music teacher in New Jersey and my school day currently includes teaching lessons, researching new songs and activities, connecting with other teachers, finding ways to make my classroom more student-centered and reflecting on how I can improve for my students. My free time is spent getting ready to move into a new house, reading, learning on Twitter, writing, attending professional development opportunities (shout out to #njpaecet2 and #educon) and playing fantasy football.
How have I improved my use of time over the last year?
I started using an app called Todoist, where I organize what I need to do and mark things off when I am done. I would suggest trying several apps to see what works for you, but I know that Todoist has worked best for me.
Recently, I read an article that talked about the morning habits of highly successful people. Reading this helped me to improve my morning routine. I get up earlier, create daily objectives, prioritize what I need to do during the day, work out (sometimes) and eat a healthy breakfast.
How can I improve how I use my time?
I still procrastinate. I enjoy finding new materials for my students, but I don’t like writing my plans. I need to work to get my plans higher on my to-do list so that I can work through them earlier in the day. I also think I can reduce the amount of time that I waste on time sinks, or the things that we do every day that waste our time. Mine include checking my email, spending time on Twitter (which is often productive, but takes time away from other pursuits), playing games on my phone and watching TV (I watch less than many people, but I could still spend that time in better ways). I think I can improve the quality of my life by decreasing the time I spend doing these things and increasing the time I spend learning and strengthening the relationships in my life (which I am so lucky to have).
When were you most productive in your life and why were you productive at that time?
I was most productive in college. One semester I took a course load at two colleges, sang in three ensembles, worked as an RA, observed classrooms and practiced the piano, voice and a string instrument daily. I was working constantly and the pressure of consistently having things to do motivated me. I sometimes wonder if this level of productivity could be maintained year after year? Many people, such as Bill Gates and Michael Karnjanaprakorn, advocate for complete weeks in isolation, taking time to recharge and engage creativity.
Time is our most precious resource. We can all use it in ways that improve our lives and the lives of those who matter to us. By reflecting upon our use of time, we validate and improve how we use it.
Teachers, what are your top timesaving tips? Share them below and tag a fellow T who inspires you to improve how you use your own time.
Written by Scott Totten. Connect with him on Twitter @4BetterEducatio and visit his blog at https://4bettereducatio.wordpress.com/.