How Educators Can Break Parkinson's Law and Create a Work-Life Balance - 7 Tips
Parkinson's law is the adage that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." It is sometimes applied to the growth of bureaucracy in an organization but can be applicable to all forms of work.
Most teachers have a never-ending to-do list. Teachers can put in a full day of work, go home, and still have hours of work left to do.
This isn't sustainable. There will always be more.
In teaching the stakes are high. You're trying to help young people become the absolute best they can be. You're helping to build the future. You put in extra time to help students overcome obstacles often beyond their control.
I propose that teachers show up each day and give it all they've got, but when they get home there should be more restoration, relaxation, personal time, and family time than not.
Full Disclosure - I'm not great at these suggestions...yet. I am better than I was ten years ago. There will always be times when work hours are longer simply because the work needs to get done.
These tips are a good place to start.
Here are 7 tips to help you cultivate work-life balance.
- Let go of the "whatever it takes" attitude. Teachers should be dedicated within boundaries. Rested teachers are better teachers. There are some work-related challenges that simply won't be resolved during one school year.
- Make a to-do list. Then pick the three most important tasks that need to be completed during the day. Focus on those things. If more items are completed, great. If not, they will be there tomorrow. Eat your frog.
- Prepare to say "no". Educators are nice people that want to help out. This makes it easy to get overbooked. Guard your time. Be mindful of your family and work-life balance. Sometimes saying "no" to school is saying "yes" to your family.
- Try the Pomodoro Technique. This involves breaking your work sessions into timed intervals, usually around 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a short break (5-10 minutes). This will insure that breaks are scheduled during your day. It's like interval training for teachers.
- Prioritize your health. The old adage is true, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." Self-care has become a buzzword that elicits eye-rolling. That doesn't make it any less important. When you're healthy everything else in life is easier.
- Build your relationships at school. Being a part of a supportive team environment makes work easier and more enjoyable. You'll have more fun while using the power of teams to get more done than each individual could alone.
- Invest in professional development. This could mean attending a conference or joining a professional organization. Professional development can be energizing when you're able to select it based on areas of interest. You may learn time-saving techniques or new teaching methods that increase your joy at work.
Finally, see the advice of other educators in the Twitter thread below. There is wisdom amongst us 🤔. Click "read replies".