The elusive balance…
I have been teaching for 16 years and I can still be consumed by the demands of this profession. Despite this, I have established some work ‘rules’ that I try and follow as much as possible to give myself some balance.
- On time knock-offs
I choose two days a week – usually a Monday and a Thursday when I leave work on time. On these two days I make sure I do some exercise – either going to the gym, going for a walk along the beach or a bike ride – straight after work. This helps to me to switch off and I am normally done by 5pm, relaxed and ready to focus on cooking and being present at home. I take nothing home with me, leaving my laptop locked up in my filing cabinet at work. Everything can wait until tomorrow.
- Two late nights
To balance out the early afternoons, I have two days per week where I work late – for me this is usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. Friday might seem like an odd choice being the end of the week but as most people are quick to leave on a Friday this usually means that I have access to the photocopier and some quiet time to get things done. On these days, depending on whether or not my partner is working, dinner is a quick and easy option – or leftovers. This takes some pressure off as I don’t always enjoy cooking!
- I work through my lunch breaks
I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but I used to spend my recess and lunch times in the staff room chatting to work colleagues when I didn’t have a playground duty. While this time was lovely, I still had a mountain of jobs to do at the end of the day. So rather than sit for 40 mins in the staff room, I work through my breaks and get stuff done so that can leave on time. I know it might sound a little anti-social but I do make time to talk to colleagues regularly, I just keep in mind that my wellbeing is important.
- Saturdays are only when necessary
There are some times during the term when I have to go in on a weekend to get ahead of myself with photocopying, laminating and marking. I go in when I need to and once I am ahead of myself with the to-do list, I feel much less anxious.
These are choices I have made because they work for me. What works for you?