In this article, Martine Ellis presents a wellbeing-centric approach to the popular time management strategy of time-blocking, tailoring it to the unique needs of teachers and trainers.
Time-blocking is a time management method where you schedule specific tasks for defined periods in your day, turning your calendar into an organised collection of blocks of work. This method is about more than just keeping a to-do list; it's about dedicating specific chunks of time to individual tasks or groups of tasks, allowing you to concentrate on one thing at a time.
Time-blocking can help you take control of your day and work more efficiently.
One of the biggest productivity challenges teachers face is completing non-teaching work in the gaps between lessons. Long stretches of uninterrupted time are rare in a teacher's working day, so doing any work that requires focus and concentration is difficult, leading to teachers working evenings and weekends.
Can time-blocking help?
The structured nature of a teacher's day lends itself surprisingly well to time-blocking. Since teachers already work on a timetable, their day is already partially time-blocked with lessons.
By time-blocking the rest of their day, teachers can create a more balanced and manageable schedule that fits within their existing timetable. Rather than cramming work into every available minute, they can allocate specific times for tasks like lesson planning, marking, responding to emails, and – most importantly – breaks.
The main benefits of time-blocking are:
Time-blocking is about more than organisation; it can also improve your wellbeing by encouraging you to take regular breaks.
When scheduling your day, you should block out time for short breaks and a lunch hour. These breaks allow you to rest and recharge, making you more productive when you return to work.
Time-blocking also helps you create "margin" in your day; this is extra time you can use when tasks take longer than expected. This cushion can reduce stress and help you stay on track.
Are you ready to try time-blocking? Here are some tips to get you started:
Now it's your turn to try time-blocking. Remember, this is about making your day easier, not harder. Start slow, be flexible, and adjust your time blocks to fit your needs. With some practice, time-blocking can help you feel more in control of your day and improve your overall wellbeing.
Martine Ellis (FSET ATS) is a writer, speaker, and trainer specialising in professional development and wellbeing-driven productivity.