Time – Where does it all go? I certainly wish for more of it that’s for sure. Time is a resource that continually people say they want more of. Whether it is more time to prepare, like for the holidays. Or, wanting more time to finish something, like completing a project. Or, dreaming of more time with someone, like a family member. In any case, the key words are more time. I honestly wonder if there is a black hole for it!
Our minds are constantly thinking about time and we are deeply connected to a biological clock. For educators, the desire of more time is exponential, especially in 2020. In the numerous meetings, classrooms and learning opportunities, I constantly hear time as a factor. We need to do more than just hope for more time. We need to balance our time to support our mindset. This is important as a teacher, administrator and as a student. For time’s sake, let’s go straight to some tips for how to balance our time.
Tip #1: Be Flexible
At first, you might be wondering how in the world can being flexible help with balancing time. But, it goes to the realm of how change happens every second of every minute. We have to be flexible with our expectations in these moments. Our expectations are centered around the time it takes, the time we have left and the time we desire. For example, you thought something was going to take less time to do and it ended up taking more time than expected. It was frustrating I’m sure. Hence, having to be flexible and adjusting our thoughts in that moment to understanding our clock for the day has run out of hours. When I was still teaching, I seemed to always run out of time grading and looking at student writing. I think that’s why I used to dislike it. I can’t believe I actually enjoy it now! I learned I needed to be more flexible with my expectation of the time it would take, as well as how to use my time differently.
Being flexible also means to be resilient in the moments where times are tough. Flexible is defined in Merriam-Webster as being characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements. As we know, teaching is tricky and some moments are trickier than others – like teaching virtually during a pandemic. But, to withstand times like this and recover quickly is a way you can be resiliently flexible with your time.
Tip #2: Prioritize
I am the queen of making lists. I’ve always felt it helps me stay on track, which is why Post-it Notes and Google Keep are so valuable to me! This question of prioritizing came to me when thinking of ways to help beginning teachers. If you are a mentor, what should you encourage your mentee to prioritize on a daily to-do list? Any teacher should ask themselves that question to make the most of their time – it connects to my writing example in tip #1. Prioritizing helps us to get to the heart of our work and feeling like we have more time to truly impact our students. Consider these questions as you prioritize your day-to-day lessons and work.
Tip #3: Remain Hopeful
It can be done! Or, it is impossible to get it done… Time goes hand in hand with beliefs of hope and stress. Think of it as a tug of war game with time in the middle. Which do you want to win: hope or stress?
To remain hopeful means we have to try to think positively about our time. I reflect back on wanting more time with students because time is precious in the classroom. I wish to always have the mindset to think positively about believing I can make a difference. Otherwise, I just wasted my time thinking I can’t and that doesn’t help anyone to be successful. Hopeful also means to celebrate the little things. Guess what! I’m going to save you some reading time and direct you to my first blog that includes more about celebration. Here’s a hint – it is in bold!
I suggest making the most of your time by being flexible, prioritizing and hoping. It will make you feel as though you have received your wish of more time. Look out for the next blog about mindset work in relation to support and feedback. It will have some ideas related to positivity!
- Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Flexible. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved December 7, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flexible