Maximizing your in-school and planning hours

A close-up of a young female teacher sitting at her desk and preparing her lesson for the day. She is using a desktop pc at her desk. She is working in a school in Hexham in the North East of England.

With numerous responsibilities and tasks to manage, teachers have a lot on their plates. From grading assignments to preparing lesson plans, the workload can feel endless. One of the biggest challenges teachers face is managing their time effectively. Learn our favorite tips for maximizing your in-school and planning hours so you can work more efficiently and achieve a better work-life balance.

Teacher working on her lesson plans for the week

Prioritize your to-do list

Prioritization is the key to effective time management. Start each day by creating a to-do list that outlines your most important tasks and identify items that are most critical to tackle first. By prioritizing your tasks, you’ll make the most of your time and accomplish what matters most.

Create a daily schedule

Another effective time management strategy is sticking to a daily schedule. Block out specific times for each task on your to-do list, including lesson planning, grading, and administrative tasks. Notion is a productivity tool with customizable templates for your to-do lists, tasks, and plans. Be sure to include breaks in your schedule to give your brain a chance to rest and recharge.

Block off time on your calendar for something you really love and enjoy doing, even if it’s not related to work. Check in after a few weeks to see how this added time for yourself impacts your day.

Use time-saving tools and strategies

There are many time-saving tools and strategies that can help you work more efficiently. Using a digital gradebook can save you time by automatically calculating grades and generating progress reports. You can also use technology to streamline administrative tasks like scheduling parent-teacher conferences or tracking attendance. Planboard is a great tool to stay organized with your lesson planning.

Get organized

A cluttered workspace can lead to distractions and inefficiencies. Take the time to organize your workspace, including your classroom and digital files. Use folders and labels to keep track of important documents and lesson plans, and create a filing system that works for you. Evernote and OneNote are both fantastic tools to take notes and stay organized in one central location. Commit to organizing a little bit at a time. Ensure all of your lesson plans and files are organized in folders on your desktop, organize your Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive with a streamlined system, or even include your students on your organization journey and allow them to contribute to the classroom structure.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself

Finally, it’s important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Make time for exercise, healthy eating, and relaxation. Take breaks throughout the day to stretch, meditate, or go on a quick walk. When you’re feeling refreshed and energized, you have better focus and work more efficiently.

Effective time management is essential for teachers who want to achieve a better work-life balance and work more efficiently. By prioritizing your to-do list, creating a daily schedule, using time-saving tools and strategies, getting organized, and taking care of yourself, you can maximize your in-school and planning hours and become a more effective teacher. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and delegate tasks when possible. By working smarter, not harder, you can create a more manageable workload.