If you want to know how teachers can achieve a work-life balance, there are a number of ways to consider. In this blog, we look at a few things teachers can do to allow for more time with family and doing things that do not directly involve work or work-related functions in order to improve their work-life balance.
1. Start by Working Smarter, Not Harder
Analyze everything you do on a daily basis. Make a list. You will be amazed by how many things you do in a day! Then, you need to cut out the fluff and the non-essentials. Stick to what matters when it comes to teaching so that you get more done with less time wasted. Don’t spend your whole day popping in and out of your emails, set a strict period, perhaps twice a day to respond to emails. Stick to getting through as much as possible with as little time wastage as possible each day and the time available for home life will increase too.
2. Having a Friend at Work Improves Job Satisfaction
Having someone to talk to at work is a great stress reliever and improves engagement and job satisfaction. When you are stressed, venting to a colleague or having a laugh with someone will improve your well-being. Friends can also help you out when you need a break or assistance. Spend time with your fellow teachers and perhaps you will hit it off with someone and even share interests. Be sure to find a positive friend who will help you get out of a funk or cheer you up when you are down rather than support negative feelings and talk.
3. Make Sure You Take a Break
Take your lunch break away from the classroom or staffroom. If possible, go for a walk to rejuvenate your mind and body even if it is a lap around the school. A short walk boosts productivity. Nature has a calming and relaxing effect on your mind and senses so try to get outside whenever the weather permits. Lunch in the courtyard can make for a livelier afternoon in the classroom.
4. Never Stop Growing As a Person
It is important to know what is going on in your field. Stay up to date on current events, research, and educational technologies. This can help you be more effective in the classroom and increase efficiency to save time and effort that might otherwise be wasted. Set aside the time on a regular basis to get up to speed on developments. You can also look at taking extra classes and attending conferences and events designed to improve teaching knowledge and skills. These improve your employability as well as your effectiveness in the classroom. While this may seem counter to a work-life balance, it actually improves it. When you continue to stay interested and learn new things about your craft, you will be happier and more satisfied at work which contributes to more happiness in your home life.
5. Cheer for a Job Well Done
Make sure you look back each year on what you have accomplished and celebrate what has been achieved. Racing through each year without reflection may also lead to burn out and a feeling that your job is unrewarding. You don’t have to make a major deal out of each and every accomplishment, but give yourself a treat for the ones that stand out and savor what you have done. Make goals at the beginning of the year with benchmarks and celebrate your accomplishments of those goals throughout the year. Goals can be around the number of professional books you will read, professional development opportunities you will attend, new strategies you will try, new technology you will learn or any number of professional growth goals. Setting and hitting goals increases happiness.
6. Don’t Take Your Work Home
I know, you are thinking, “But I’m a teacher. I HAVE to bring work home.” If you bring work home every day, go back to number 1 on this list and narrow your list down further. Make sure you are utilizing your prep time. While having friends at school is important, do not waste your entire prep time talking to a friend. If you use your prep time wisely, you will accomplish a lot of what you are currently taking home. It is true, that sometimes you will need to take some things home with you, however this should not be an everyday occurrence.
If you do have to bring work home, have a specific area in your home where it is relegated to, so that once you have finished up with it, you can close the door and leave work behind. Family time is important; you need to free up your after-hours time to spend quality time with your loved ones. Don’t take home work that can be finished the next day. Ensure that you have at least one evening per week that is free from work so that this can be spent guilt-free with your family.
7. Have a Life Outside of Work
Practice self-care. Take part in sports, hobbies, and activities outside of school. This is a good way to enforce time away from work as well as giving you an outlet for stress and allowing you to relax. Take walks, read books, host game night. It doesn’t really matter what it is that you do, just do something that you enjoy as an individual.
There is no simple answer to how teachers can achieve a work-life balance, but there are at least a few ways you can try to do so. Spending some time off away from work and work-related activities can help improve your life overall, reduce stress, and improve your enjoyment of life and your career.
INcompassing Education provides on-site (Indiana), off-site, and online (educators all over the world) professional development for teachers. Check out our new webinar series, “Supporting Mental Health in Schools” (click here) and “Supporting Students of Trauma” (click here). Upgrade your knowledge and skills as an educator and earn credits (professional growth points) for your continuing education. For more information, visit our Facebook page, INcompassing Education LLC, or send us a message through our contact page.