Want to reduce your workload but not sure how to tackle it? Have a look at these top tips to get you started from Kat Cauchi.

The workload in teaching can be astronomical, with a never-ending to-do list where every task seems to be ‘important’. Not to mention the deep sense of responsibility often associated with your work. But, an unmanageable workload can lead to burnout and be detrimental to your wellbeing, so here are some tips to help you start to make that mountain climbable.

7 tips to help you manage your workload

1. Focus on your priorities

An educator’s to-do list is never-ending, so a key part of managing your workload is prioritising. Ask yourself questions to help with this:

  • What impact will this have?
  • What tasks need to be done today?
  • What can wait until tomorrow or later this week?
  • What can I delegate?

You may find it helpful to use lists and planners to keep track of your tasks. It isn’t always easy to define which tasks are of the highest priority and sometimes it feels like everything is important and everything is urgent. This blog by Angela Watson has some useful advice on how to tackle this issue, such as defining the difference between ‘urgent’ and ‘important.’

2. Establish routines

Part of managing a high workload is being organised and this is where routines come in. For example, in my former role as a teacher, where possible, I would collect resources from around school and print off paper resources after school, ready for the next day. This meant that in the morning I could spend time focusing on other tasks. Additionally, this meant I didn’t have to rush off at break time to grab the resources I needed for the next lesson because I had gathered them all up already! This wasn’t always possible, but generally, I found having resources ready and easy to set up, would save time that I could use for other tasks. For more information on establishing routines and how these support your wellbeing, check out Nic Owen’s article.

3. Know when to stop

It is important to know when to give yourself a break. Work-life balance is not only important for your wellbeing, but you cannot be as effective if you are tired, stressed and frazzled! Make time each day to do something that isn’t work, eating or sleeping, such as reading or going for a walk. Have a cut-off point for answering emails, marking and so on, that works for you. You may need to be flexible with this at times but having limits in mind is key. Check out Penny Whelan’s blog post for more tips.

4. Be unafraid to say no

Educators are often asked to take on extra responsibilities and complete extra work. Sometimes this is great as it gives you opportunities to develop skills, explore passions and support your school community in lots of different ways. However, you can say no, and you should say no sometimes. I recently discussed this with Oliver Wright as part of a conversation about how educators can best manage and prioritise tasks. A useful piece of advice he shared was that when you are asked to take on these wider tasks, look at your timetable and consider how much spare time you have, how much time it will take and where you would fit it into your schedule, before making commitments.

5. Asking for help is a strength

Seeking support isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. Your colleagues are bound to have lots of useful advice for managing workload – and you’re likely to find you have valuable things to share with them too. It’s also a good idea to seek support further afield. Twitter, for example, has a great community of educators who are open to sharing ideas, resources and supporting each other. There are education communities on most social media platforms, as well as forum pages you can join.

6. Think about what you need

Are there things your school could put in place to help you better manage your workload? Find out what policies are in place and when they were last reviewed. Speak to management about any concerns and ways they could support you. Does your school have a flexible working policy? Check out Emma Turner’s article about the benefits of flexible working and how this can work in an educational setting.

7. Make use of tools that can support you

Another way to manage your workload is to make the most of tools that can help you. For example, if you have anything that allows you to record and play back audio, you can give verbal feedback to pupils, and they can play it back the next day. There are lots of EdTech tools. Talk to other educators about the tools they use to help manage their workload – you’re sure to discover some great ideas!

Author

  • Katherine Cauchi

    Kat Cauchi is a WeAreTechWomen #TechWomen100 2023 award winner and a 2022 Nexus Education 'Classroom and Curriculum' improvement award winner. She is the community engagement manager at NetSupport, editor of R.I.S.E. Magazine, and the host of two podcasts. Kat is a member of the Global Equality Collective, a Global EdTech author, InnovateHer ambassador and Technocamps Girls in Stem role model.
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