Nicely rested, new pupils to meet, clean and tidy school, lesson plans prepared in advance, early nights, new stationary bought (or is that just me?) and promises to yourself about how you will be organised, calm, in control, ahead of your admin and planning, open to new ideas, supportive and, of course, effective. You are ready!
So what goes wrong? So many of us do it and not just in education but the regular well spaced breaks mean it is more tempting to push and push and push to the point of almost collapse. What goes wrong? Why can't we keep it up all term or even better all year? Want to break the cycle and make it to Christmas without dragging your exhausted self through the Christmas plays and concerts to then collapse, regroup and then do it all again?
We have put together a few simple ideas that might help, see what you think.
Aim for what you want not what you ought - We spend far too much time striving for what society, the media, our colleagues, our boss, our students (and our Mums) think we should be, rather than what we want to be. If you don't have belief in what you are trying to achieve then you won't achieve it so if you are a last minute merchant, always have been, then the chances are you always will be. Embrace that fact and work with it. Enjoy the time before you have to really knuckle down and get the job, then knuckle down and get the job done! Just don't leave it too late.
Eat your frog - Courtesy of the book Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. Essentially get that job that you dont want to do done first and stop wasting time procrastinating. Don't kid yourself that you are busy by doing all the easy, quick, painless things first so you can cross them off your list. Tackle the big stuff get them out of the way and feel the difference it makes.
Celebrate the success and the small steps - If you only measure your success on the end result, such as exam results, then you have a long wait and are setting yourself up for a fall. Practice breaking down your goals and celebrating the success along the way make them realistic and achievable. Keep a record of them throughout the year to reflect on.
Organise your organising and admin - there is no such thing as multitasking - there I said it and I am a women! You may be able to flit between many things very quickly but you CANNOT do two things at once. What does make sense is to do similar tasks consecutively. Don't double up on work help each other, create templates and structure where you can and try asking yourself "Why am i doing this?" "What is my objective and will I meet it?" "Is there a more efficient way of doing this?"
Don't be a slave to the photocopier
Set realistic goals - Lose the desire for perfect. There is lots of evidence now to show that "perfectionist" is not a badge to be worn with honour. There is no such thing as perfect and you will waste an awful lot of time chasing it. Make a measured assessement of what is acceptable and what would be exceptional then achieve the acceptable and aim for the exceptional.
Learn the art of delegation - there are other people equally as capable as you. The best delegators are mindful of what they delegate and to whom. If you make sure you are playing to the other person's strengths and giving them something they enjoy and/or need to learn then you will both benefit. We all have our own strengths and operate more effectively when we get to use them.
Be kind to yourself - There are lots of ways to be kind to yourself the most important, certainly to me, is to give yourself time off and yes it is possible. You can always make time for that extra meeting or bit of work so make looking after yourself an important meeting. If you have to book it as an appointment in your diary then do so. Turn off your phone and email, leave your desk and go do something you enjoy and find relaxing.
What always goes wrong - be harsh and analyse it properly. What gets in the way of your resolutions each year? As you set off again this September follow the ideas above however if things do go wrong then make some time to look at what happened and learn from it.