- Time blocking is an effective way to manage your time and make sure you are setting aside time for the important areas in your life.
- 5 important time blocks include me time, family time, creative time, work time, and prep time.
Time management is a skill necessary to develop as a teacher. It is even more of a skill to develop during pandemic teaching. In my new role as a teacher and now instructional coach, I’ve provided asynchronous PD opportunities, assisted teachers with implementing new productivity tools, and suggested a multitude of apps and time management strategies. Even with these strategies and tools, I’ve come back to one basic concept: time blocking.
What is Time Blocking?
One strategy I’ve experimented with and continue to use is time blocking. I was introduced to time blocking by Teresa McCloy and her company The REALIFE Process, LLC. Her time blocking method focuses on four core blocks: Present, Project, People, and Prep. You can download a one-sheet of her time block method here. I’ve created my own names for my time blocks, but they have the same fundamental concept.
I’ve found it beneficial to break my time into the following five time blocks:
Time Block #1: Me Time
I’m my best self when I can spend a little time recharging by myself. For me, it is taking a long walk, hiking, or just relaxing outdoors. Spending time with a non-work-related book is helpful.
When I’ve taken time for myself, I’m on my “A” game. Make a date with yourself and put it on your calendar weekly, but if possible, put it on your calendar daily. Check out Lindsay Titus’ blog post It’s Time to Get Clear with Your Time.When I’ve taken time for myself, I’m on my 'A' game. Make a date with yourself and put it on your calendar weekly, but if possible, put it on your calendar daily. Click To Tweet
Time Block #2: Family Time
Time is one common limitation we all have. Spending time with the ones you love and who support you is a non-negotiable. Life is short. Work can wait. Take a moment to call a loved one. Spend time with your children and grandchildren. Be intentional. If the calendar drives your schedule, make sure to schedule family time.
Time Block #3: Creative Time
Teachers need plan time. In addition to plan time, I have to have a creative outlet. I write, paint, and attempt a variety of art forms. I find that I’m most creative early in the morning or late at night. Currently, my creative time is on Friday evenings. I intentionally block this time in my schedule or reschedule a different time during the week if it doesn’t work.
Time Block #4: Work Time
As a teacher and instructional coach, spending time with people is a core element of my job. In fact, most days I’ll spend time observing, assisting, or coaching people five to six of the eight hours of my day. Being intentional with every interaction with others is my focus during this time.[scroll down to keep reading]
Time Block #5: Prep Time
On the prep side, I take 30 minutes to 1 hour a week to plan my ideal week. It’s ok for the plan to be flexible, but one must be intentional about scheduling and following through with their plan to achieve the ultimate use of their time. I utilize Michael Hyatt’s Ideal Week Template. You can find it here.
My time savers? Lists! But not just any list. My lists must have a box next to each item so that I can have the immense satisfaction of putting a checkmark in each box after accomplishing the task. Since my life is crazy, my lists are electronic – I use the Notes app on my iPhone because it syncs with my MacBook. But I’ve also recently discovered Google Keep, which also conveniently has boxes I can check and syncs across devices. Did you know that checking that box actually releases endorphins in your brain? Yep! Try it and let me know what you think. – Michelle Kasum, ELA Teacher, Tech Admin, and Teach Better Ambassador (@buckeyegirll)
About Jeremy Rinkel
Jeremy is an instructional coach at Vandalia CUSD #203 in Vandalia, IL. He has earned a Masters in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois and a Masters in Teaching from Greenville University. His goal is to inspire students, teachers and anyone he comes into contact with to be a lifelong learner. Jeremy believes education is the key to solving our world’s problems. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys traveling, writing, spending time in coffee shops, and spending time with his family watching old TV shows on Netflix.