I love creativity and spontaneity – but I believe the best way to exercise a sensible amount of beneficial chaos is to put it first within a framework of a well-organised plan. Today I want to share some of the ideas I’ve practised in 2017 which made my life considerably easier. The reason I chose to write about my personal experiences is due to my work as a teacher trainer – the longer I work with new teachers, the more noticeable it is to me that a lot of teaching-oriented problems stem from poor time management.
After some sessions with my fellow teachers I’ve decided to write down the ideas I use to make my life less chaotic, as it gives me the frameworks of work, development, relaxation and still leaves some time to actually do nothing. Now, according to what some people claim, I may be overly organised, so you don’t really have to follow all my quirks… Like, I’ve been writing lesson plans for each and every class ever since I started teaching (which makes a frightening number of 15 years) – and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. To make things worse, I have three separate diaries: one for work, one for daily planning and one for planning my time to chill out.
And I’m beginning to understand that the last one
is actually the most important…
So even if you’re not into organising your life to the point of planning time to do some planning, you may as well enjoy the confessions of a ridiculously organised teacher!
1 Plan your lessons
I already shared my tactics when it comes to planning lessons here, so just to let you know – I still follow my favourite KISS rule (known either as Keep It Short and Simple, or Keep It Simple, Stupid, choose your own version) and I’m always sure to leave some space for so-called wow activities, be they a new quizziz game, a funny role-play, an interesting boardgame or a new brainstorm idea. I usually come up with wow activities while taking a morning shower, so that’s the area I’m not planning beforehand.
It takes me 30 minutes a month for each group.
2 Plan your daily routine
…and be sure to add half an hour more on the activities you plan to cover! If a workout is supposed to take me 15 minutes (thanks, Mel B.!), I usually plan it for half an hour (preparing for the exercises, going to get some water… you know, delays happen to lazy teachers). I planned to write a blog post in an hour? Yeah, more like three days would sound realistic. I also plan my outfits for the whole week on Friday because I can’t make up my mind right before I leave, so it saves my time.
I also plan dinners for the whole week which is really sensible as you can remember to include some healthy food even if you’re dying for three pizzas a week…
It takes me 30-40 minutes a week. And a week of dying for pizza.
3 Plan your work
Here, I need to divide my prepping into planning for DoS-oriented activities – something I usually do within my working hours and it’s a monthly and weekly schedule of planned duties with a lot of blanks to perform all those save-the-world-now activities that are the joy of being a DoS…
Someone get me a cape, or better a chimichanga
as I’m rather a Deadpool kind of superhero…
The other part is connected with this blog, my FB fanpage, Instagram and plans to start my own webpage, plan some proper workshops and set the whole process of conquering the world in motion. Looking for inspirations and sharing funny bits surprisingly takes time.
It takes me up to 2-3 hours a week.
4 Plan your development
Have your planned your CPD in 2018 yet? I’ve already enrolled in a couple of courses, I’m definitely planning to join IATEFL Poland in Wroclaw in September, thinking of publishing some articles in professional magazines, considering passing DELTA… yeah, well, I certainly have things to do – especially with all those awesome free online courses I share with you every month. Naturally, the only way you can study properly without losing your mind is careful organisation.
This year is the first one I’m planning not only attending courses, but offering some webinars and online meetings on my own… which requires some additional planning, of course. But one thing is certain – if you don’t plan things sensibly, you may end up lost in a world full of webinars, workshops, programs and scholarships!
5 Plan your time off
Last, but not least – time to relax! If you’re focused on teaching, learning, developing, creating etc. it may be quite difficult to make yourself stop and chill out. Now, you may have some rest either by enjoying a quiet evening in (you know, blanket, hot cocoa and a great book) or by climbing snowy mountains – whichever is your preferred way (I believe we all like experiencing a bit of both), it’s very important to plan it – not only because you’ll have something to help you survive even the worst day at work, but you’ll make sure no-one disturbs you then… no essays to correct, no parents to talk to – nothing!
That’s my favourite part to plan – theoretically it doesn’t take much time, but oh, all those pleasant plans I make…
Next week I’m going to celebrate winter holidays (I’ve planned a lot of relaxing!), so the next blog post will be on the 2nd of January – I’ll share some great free courses to enhance that New-Year-Resolutionary mood! Should you miss me, do not hesitate to follow my FB page or my Instagram account, as I will share there various ideas, tips and inspirations.
See you next year 🙂