This approach to planning will help you find more day in your hours

We’ve all experienced that overwhelming sensation when our to-do list surpasses the time we have available. This is a common occurrence for many working in education, where workloads seem to be ever-increasing. Is there a way to alleviate this stress and enhance productivity? 

Teacher planners are a simple yet effective tool for managing tasks and reducing anxiety in the educational environment.

Taking some time to plan means you can set about the right tasks, at the right time. It can help you identify the activities that need to be prioritised.

It also enables you to set realistic targets, it’s easy to feel you’ve failed when you’ve only managed to tick one thing off your list.  Working out what can be achieved in the time you have each day means you’ll feel more in control.  And less stress means a more productive mind set.

Psychologist Dr Susan Heitler believes that taking a problem solving approach to planning is the number one strategy in combating the stress.  She suggests breaking down your planning into three simple steps.

  1. Identify the problem:  e.g. I have three different tests to mark, a lesson to plan and 30 reports to complete by the end of the week.
  2. Clarify your concerns. e.g. I’m worried I don’t have enough time to finish all the marking, and getting the reports finished is dependent on my colleague providing me with their comments.
  3. Solve it: Think about how best to deal with each part of the problem.  So, you could plan to spend two hours on Monday marking test papers, with the remainder being completed during PPA time.  The lesson plan can be completed on Wednesday and you make a note to remind your colleague on Monday that you need their comments by Thursday morning. Leaving Thursday night to complete them.

The planning or problem solving doesn’t have to take long.  Just spending ten minutes at the beginning of the week jotting down in your planner what you need to do, and how best to use the time you have available can make all the difference.

Planning in this way can also help you identify potential issues so that you don’t get half way through a task before realising you can’t complete it because you are missing some information, or need input from a colleague.

And of course seeing something written down also helps you to free up your mind to focus on what actually needs doing.  How many times have you been scrabbling through a task whilst thinking – I really need to remember to do x, y, z when I finish this?  Making sure you have a clear plan of action increases focus, and your productivity.

It can be tempting, to avoid planning when you are feeling under pressure – taking time out to ‘plan’ rather than ‘do’ can seem counter-intuitive.  The reality is that careful planning will not only ease stress today, but make for a calmer term, and year ahead.


Teacher planners designed to help with productivity, organisation and wellbeing for your team

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