Less Stress: Reduce Responsibilities

Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

23Time is a commodity where everyone is equal. But some people seem to do a whole lot more with their time and others seem to do a whole lot less. But we all stay busy. The problem is that some people choose how to fill their lives and other people allow their lives to be filled.

It’s so easy to get into the trap of agreeing to do everything that anyone asks us to do. Ever wonder why it is the youngest teachers who end up doing the most work in many schools? It’s because the experience teaches us that our class suffers when we take on too many responsibilities.

Basic time management

  1. List your responsibilities
  2. Prioritize your list, putting the most important at the top
  3. Sleep is your number one priority, a little bit of relaxation is number two
  4. Draw up (or download an Excel version) a weekly schedule
  5. Now we get to fill in everything that is on the list
  6. Beginning with sleep (you may sleep less than you think), start at the top of the list and shade in all of the time that is necessary for that (include any travel time); most people underestimate time commitments, so be sure to overestimate by a little bit
  7. All of these time management principles are wonderful at making us more efficient, but until we learn to say no, we can never be as effective as we ought to be.

    This is why I wrote my article Efficient vs. Effective.

  8. Learn to say NO

When we are able to manage our schedules, we are better able to manage our lives. I learned a lot about time management when I was in college teaching 40 private lessons a week in five school districts, enrolled in 16 hours, and held a leadership position in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

My priority list looks something like:

  1. Sleep
  2. Church
  3. Personal relaxation
  4. Pay rent/electricity/water bills
  5. Eat & buy groceries
  6. Read my Bible and pray
  7. Middle School classes
  8. Middle School band sectionals
  9. Assist with High School marching band
  10. Friends & Family
  11. Take care of dogs
  12. Blog
  13. Laundry
  14. Pay other bills
  15. Volunteer
  16. Clean house
  17. Clean car
  18. Buy new clothes
  19. Read
  20. Get sweepstakes at UIL Concert & Sight Reading competition in April
  21. Write a book
  22. Accumulate $1,000,000 net worth
  23. Watch television

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