Time Management for Online Teachers
Do you want to find more ways of how to enjoy your work as an online teacher while also avoiding overworking and getting additional free time for everything you love to do? Implement effective time management techniques in your daily life and your lessons and you will feel like a new person. Time management is different for everyone. It is based on building habits that will help you in being more organized and prepared thus more efficient in your online teaching experience.
How to begin implementing different techniques for time management for online teachers?
- Start slowly and explore a variety of techniques to find what works for you.
There are many aspects of time management. Some people rely heavily on making lists, taking notes, using calendar,etc. Choose what works for you and start implementing it slowly into your daily routine. Test some time management techniques during the hours when you are working by yourself on preparing the lessons for the day, grading homework, checking emails etc.
- What is the part of the day when you feel the most energized? It is worth it trying to complete work during those hours if this is possible.
- Get rid of distractions. Lack of focus is one of the biggest reasons why you feel overwhelmed with work that never ends. Leave your phone in the other room, cut the noises and try to work on the tasks for the day without getting distracted by anything else. You will be surprised how much work you’ll be able to do in a fraction of the time that you usually need.
- Get your virtual workspace organized and don’t forget to put your physical desk in order, as well. Take advantage of the technologies that are available for teachers in the Learning Management Systems. It is amazing how many features you can use for creating your own system for organizing files, projects, presentations, sources and many more in the most practical for you way. Rename folders to create a convenient system that works for you.
- Avoid multitasking. Time management is most efficient when you are able to focus the best. Multitasking often leads to spreading yourself too thin on the projects which might affect the efficiency of the work.
- Time blocking. This interesting time management strategy is very simple to plan. All you need to do is to divide your time to time blocks. Each section of time is dedicated to working on a certain task. Every day can be different, however the idea is the same. Focus on one task at a time during a ‘blocked’ period of time. For example, dedicate one hour to grading assignments. Next, you can work on brainstorming ideas for exercises and activities. Utilize your favorite features from the virtual classroom to get more efficient results from your work – like prerecording lessons, creating quizzes, assignments, charts, word games on the online whiteboard and many more. Use time blocking for planning – daily, weekly and monthly.
- Avoid over working
Focus on completing your tasks within office hours. In this way you will prevent feeling burned out from work and will keep a healthy work-life balance. In addition you will be motivated to complete your tasks for the day within working hours. It is a good idea to encourage your students to reach out during office hours and use email or a message board for communication before and after this time if needed.
- Create a database
One of the best ways to save time is by keeping a well-organized database of all sources, materials, lessons, pre-recorded sessions, lesson plans and etc. Create a list of frequently asked questions for your students to be able to refer them to this information when needed. Keeping a database is easy. You don’t need to create new materials especially for this purpose. Instead, just use all your previous lessons, plans, ideas, sources and materials and keep them in a virtual storage space. A lot of the Learning management systems provide the opportunity to keep your resources in an easily accessible space. Don’t forget to keep adding to the database by recording your lessons in the virtual classroom, adding interesting exercises and activities you have tried on the online whiteboard and many more.
- Establish routines and stick to them
Time management is all about being efficient with your time. Routines help a lot in building positive habits and decreasing the levels of stress. Students also thrive with routines especially when you manage to combine them with exciting new experiences. Establishing routines is a great time management technique that improves the efficiency of the lessons and keeps students more relaxed and willing to engage in the learning process.
- Crisis management
A big part of effective time management is being prepared to deal with unexpected events and surprises. Online teaching from home can bring certain challenges affecting your daily routine, focus and teaching experience. They can vary from unexpected noises, power outage, internet issues and other technical malfunctions. In the classroom, you can also deal with students who misbehave, lack of focus and many more. Think of different scenarios for issues that can interfere with your work and make a list with solutions that you can refer to at any time. It helps to keep backup batteries for different devices you are using, additional headphones and mic and etc.
For the crisis in class, keep a variety of activities, exercises and topics you can incorporate if needed to increase students’ engagement and improve the energy in the virtual classroom.
Good time management skills can improve your daily life and mental health not only when you apply them in your online teaching practice but in every aspect of your life as well.