This has taken me many years and I don’t always get it right but – our job list will never ever be completed!! I used to put so much pressure on myself to do everything perfectly and to have so many resources available. I would literally work 12-hour days, frantically changing up displays, printing and laminating new games and creating assessment tasks. It wasn’t until a work colleague talked to me and said that if I work 40 hours, 60 hours or 100 hours each week, I get paid the same amount. We don’t get paid for our extra hours. She could see that I was doing too much and my health had suffered.
It was very difficult to change my mindset but this was what I had to do. I learned to be okay with re-using old games. I learned to be okay with doing a task that perhaps wasn’t interesting, exciting or new; but it achieved the desired outcomes. I learned that I didn’t have to change up wall displays every two weeks.
I also had to learn that I needed to look after myself and this actually made me a better teacher. As I gradually cut back on the number of hours I was working, I was able to go for a walk in the evening. I was sleeping and eating better. I was no longer trying to be perfect at absolutely everything. I became happier and more focussed at work. I stopped trying to smash my way through my to-do list, instead I would pick the three most critical tasks and do those first. I still use this strategy now. If I have 10 jobs to complete, I ask myself what the three most important jobs are, and what I need to do right now. Quite often I find myself writing down tasks that I think are really important, but they don’t really need doing.
What tips do you have for prioritising your workload?