It’s time to plan all the things that need to be planned – lesson planning, meal planning, health planning, time management planning, – so much planning. How do we have time for it all?

I taught 1 to 2 days a week for 20 years. When my youngest started high school, because of many factors, I went back to work full-time in the classroom. Once school started , I feel as if I didn’t look up until almost Thanksgiving. Of course, I have been a busy mom and part-time teacher for many years, so my time management skills are well developed. However once school started, some of those skills have had to be honed.  I had the opportunity to test and try several methods for managing all that must be accomplished on a daily or weekly basis. Here are my top three tips for time management.

1.  Create a checklist. 

Having a checklist helps to ensure that things are not forgotten when planning for the week. My checklist contains several categories.  Each category has several sub categories and the list covers just about every aspect of my life – work, home, and personal. Here is an example of some of the items on my checklist.

  •          House cleaning
  •          Meal Planning
  •          Shopping list/Errands
  •          Lesson planning
  •          Grading 
  •          Calendar
  •          My Business

Of course, your categories are your own.  The key to categories is to keep them to a minimum and to actually use them. 

2.  Have a consistent planning time.

Honestly, the few things I get done in my house each week alternate.  One week, I may clean on Tuesday and another week it may be Thursday. It all depends on my child’s activities and several other factors. The consistency lies in the unmovable planning time on Sunday evenings.  Sunday evenings, my family and I look ahead to everyone’s activities.  This allows me to have an overview of the week. This is where I see the   time in the waiting room at my child’s dentist appointment, and I am not sitting wishing I had remembered to bring something to work on. The overview tells me the days my child has practice after school and I can plan to print/copy in the office and work in my classroom.  I have a 40 minute drive to my job, so I usually plan one or two days of podcasts to listen to or something to help my teacher abilities grow.  The overview on Sunday evenings also helps plan exercise and meals for the week.

Without this overview, so many things would be missed. 

3. Calendar & phone reminders. 

The Sunday evening overview is when I fill in the calendar for the week and when I set reminders on my phone.  I know me and if I don’t set reminders, I will forget something. Reminders don’t help though if they are simply turned off and not completed.   Reminders are not turned off or marked completed until they are actually done. 

There are lots of moving parts to the life of any teacher. Keeping these three tips consistent each week has helped maintain my sanity

Darlene Abbott

Darlene Abbott is a writer of preschool and children’s music and curriculum. She created Preschool Praisentations with Kathie Hill and has contributed to many products by LifeWay. Darlene is the creator of the Music Mom Products. She travels as an instructor and clinician for choir leaders, music educators, Children's Choir leaders, and day school teachers as well as women’s events.