Updated: Jul 20, 2019
This is the time of year when a lot of us are feeling under stress. There are end of year shows, exams to finish, presentation evenings, end of term parties, dances and information to get out to students before the end of term. In addition we are keeping up with all our usual private lessons and forward planning.
“I haven’t got enough time to do all the things I need to do” is heard from many colleagues and dance teachers. However we all have 24 hours a day so how is it possible that we don’t have enough time?
I can’t say I have the complete answer but having read a lot of books about time management I now have a plan which when things start to feel stressful helps me to cope and I would like to share it with you.
Make a List
The first step is a list. Some of us love a good list and others hate them but we need to know what the strength of the problem is to be able to tackle it effectively.
I divide jobs firstly into four categories and enter each task into one of the four categories.
My categories are:
1. Urgent for me
2. Non urgent for me
3. Urgent for someone else (someone else’s priorities)
4. Non urgent for someone else
Next to every task I write on the list, I estimate the time in hours and minutes that it will take me to complete the task.
This may surprise you as usually for me when I add up all the things that I feel have been weighing me down, I normally only have about 8 or 9 hours of work.
I then work out a timetable for completion of the tasks including what I call rest and reward. Rest and reward are what I do in the break times. Breaks are vitally important. Sometimes I reward myself with a TV episode, sometimes a walk and sometimes a short nap. I try to avoid rewarding myself with chocolate or coffee!
I aim to complete the urgent for me list on the first day. I then consider the other lists. I aim to complete the first three categories and try to ignore the last one. If you are doing a kindness for someone it should go in to non urgent for me.
If you never complete the non urgent for someone else it may be that that they won’t ever notice! This category should certainly be the last tasks that you do.
Try not to be distracted by things such as answering emails and checking messages and restrict this to one hour a day until the tasks are complete.
By making lists you take a degree of control and when it comes into your head that you have something important to do you will know when it is going to be tackled.
I have been through some very stressful times such as end of year marking at university whilst dealing with students, colleagues, staffing and budget issues.
So here is what I have learnt:
1. Make a prioritized list with time slots
2. Limit distractions
3. Delegate where possible
4. Take regular breaks and look after your health
5. Reward yourself for doing your best
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness for me is about applying my concentration to the job in hand and not doing one job whilst constantly thinking I need to do another job.
My priority this weekend is to enjoy meeting friends and colleagues at the IDTA Congress in Southport. It is a Continuing Professional Development opportunity that I love. When I come back I will pick up my list again but now it’s time for a reward: three days with my friends in Southport.
Hope to see you there.