I was a teacher for ten years.
And if there is one thing teachers know how to do it’s use time effectively, manage lots of kids with different needs, and get sh*t done.
Once I had a few years of teaching experience under my belt, I was a machine.
My classroom was organized, I had systems in place, and I knew what I was going to do and when I was going to do it.
But I wasn’t cemented into a routine where I had no flexibility.
Good teachers have structure and discipline but they also have the ability to adjust on the fly and allow for those teachable moments that so often arise.
I also think teachers are one of the best examples of how planning and preparing ahead of time allow you to have plenty of freedom and flexibility in your day.
So why is it that I forget these things I learned and perfected in the classroom so easily when I’m home with my kids?
Why don’t I automatically apply these strategies to what is going on at home?
I don’t really know!
Every so often I will be home and be feeling frustrated and wanting to rip my hair out and then I’m like,
When I was teaching, I did this.
And then I do it at home and life is about five million times better.
One of the things I did when I was teaching, as all teachers do, was schedule my day.
You know when you lunch and specials are going to be, and then you figure out when you are going to teach math and reading and social studies and whatever else.
You bock out a certain amount of time for each subject area, and then you plan what you will do in each block.
This is called time blocking.
Which is basically scheduling.
You know you only have a certain amount of time to get a lesson done, so you have to stay on task.
Sometimes you realize you haven’t planned enough time for a certain lesson, and other times you get through something more quickly than you had anticipated. So you adjust when you have to.
But having blocks of time planned out forces you to stay on track, to stay focused, and to be efficient.
The other day I shared how I have really trained my brain to be distracted and to underperform.
One of the things I’ve been doing to retrain my brain is time blocking.
I have been scheduling my day and I’ve been pretty strict about sticking to the plan.
Not only has this helped me to stay on task and not get as distracted, but it’s also really been an eye opener as far as how long it actually takes me to do things.
I kind of had no clue until I started setting mini deadlines for myself through time blocking throughout the day.
It is still a challenge for me to stay focused and not veer way off track, but I am developing some serious stamina! And while I’m tired from concentrating, I’m also getting more accomplished during the day so I have time to really just sit and be present with the kids when 7 p.m. rolls around rather than feeling like I have to use that hour before bed time to try to check a few things off the list.
Discipline during the day is giving me freedom at night.
Because I don’t have a list of ten things I still didn’t get to at 8 p.m.
And I’m also much more realistic about how long it will take me to get stuff done, so I’m more realistic when planning out what I can actually complete during the day.
If you are finding yourself with a wide open schedule at 8 a.m. and then wondering where the hell all the time went at 6 p.m. when you’ve accomplished pretty much nothing, try time blocking.
Set aside blocks of time to dedicated to certain tasks, and then stick to them.
You’ll be (pleasantly) surprised by what a difference it makes.