Teaching & Work-Life Balance. 5 Tips.
As an Educator?
Is it even possible?
Well, let’s have a conversation shall we?
First off, what is “work-life balance” really?
It’s something we all want.
This perceived symbiotic harmony between what we have to do and what we want to do.
It’s about the constant tug-of-war for our attention, our time, and our energy.
And, perhaps there is no greater struggle for work-life balance than that of the teacher’s.
For, the teacher’s work is never done. There is always more to do. And often, even when we leave the classroom, part of our mind is still there – thinking of our students and their well-being.
For years I chased work-life balance. Picturing those who reached the mountaintop basking in the glow of a happiness I could only imagine.
But, have I ever met that person? Have I ever talked to someone who really had it figured out?
Maybe. On social media – where you see only the bright and shiny side of people’s lives. But, no. Not in real life. Not real people.
Does Work-Life Balance Actually Exist?
What if it doesn’t? And, what does that mean for us all?
Have we been fooling ourselves this whole time? Chasing after an unattainable goal.
Is Work-Life balance a mythical unicorn? Beautiful, desirable, and never to be actually touched.
It seems everyone I talk to feels that they are working their hardest at EVERYTHING. Trying to be the best, teacher, parent, son/daughter, sibling, friend, co-worker, mentor, coach… We wear many hats. And with our energy divided – we often feel as if we aren’t giving everyone (including ourselves) enough.
Can you relate?
Let me comfort you and say, work-life balance CAN exist.
But, maybe not in the sense that we have always pictured it.
It’s not a finish line, a mountaintop, a final destination – it’s a moment.
Maybe for today, in this moment, work-life balance means spending a little extra time at school so that tomorrow you can go to your child’s soccer game or out for drinks with some friends.
Maybe for today, in this moment, work-life balance means that you take that sick day, take care of yourself, or your loved ones, and try your best to push out of your mind, that bag of grading that needs to be done sitting in the corner of the room.
Maybe JUST for today, JUST in this moment, work-life balance means that you place your happiness as a priority because you know you are no good to your students if you let yourself burn out.
Here are 5 Work-Life Balance Quick Tips
1. Make Your Choices
Choose where you are spending your energy. And, do it with purpose. Life doesn’t just happen to you – you get a say in how it goes (at least a little bit). So when you have a choice to stay late or go out, to socialize or have downtime, or whatever the choice may be – weigh it out and choose deliberately.
2. Step Away From Distractions
One of the biggest and best choices I made to help regain some control of my work-life balance was to delete my work email from my phone. I knew I could still access and communicate with parents and colleagues by just logging in, but it wasn’t there ALL the time anymore. What “off button” do you have that would eliminate distractions?
3. Surround Yourself With Support
Think of who you choose to spend the most time with, who you share with and give your time and energy to. Are they, as they say in elementary school, filling your bucket? We all know the teacher(s) in school who can’t find anything positive about their position or their students – who will complain to any willing ear – but that ear doesn’t have to be yours. A positive network of support around you can help tasks be less taxing so you have energy left over at the end of the day.
4. Redefine Your Success
What are your goals? Are they incredibly high, long-term goals that take hard work and planning? Well, good. We should all have those. But, instead of looking at those big goals each day – and how far away you are from them – break them down into bite-size pieces. Create checklists that you can physically check off – so you can see your progress. Yeah, you aren’t there yet, but you are making headway and that is huge.
5. Use Your Time Consciously
Your time is one of your most valuable assets and there never seems to be enough to go around. How you chose to spend it, who you choose to spend it with impacts how we perceive our work-life balance immensely. Finding a way to steal back some time or condense your tasks can make a major difference in achieving work-life balance. Right here, you can get The Resilient Teacher’s Timesaving Guidebook for FREE with 10+ Tips to save time and energy in the school day.