Teaching is not an 8-hour job that leaves you with free evenings and weekends. That makes the time you have at home with family even more precious and important to protect. Saving time doing the things that must be done around the house and in preparation for leaving will give you more time to do the things you want to do instead. It all comes down to preparation, focus, and organization.
Time Saving Strategies
Break It Down
Make a master list of all of the chores and cleaning that must be done around the house every week. Break those chores down into small chunks that can be tackled in under 15-minutes each day. For example, working in one room per day might be the most conducive to your schedule. On Sundays, the kitchen gets a thorough cleaning while on Mondays the dining room gets dusted, straightened, and vacuumed. Leave the rooms that are most time consuming for those days when you have an extra five or 10 minutes.
Ready, Set, Go!
Give yourself a time limit for cleaning each space. 10-15 minute bursts of cleaning can result in significantly straightened and cleaned areas. Set a timer and keep going until the time is up. Stay focused on what needs to be done and try to beat the clock. How fast can you unload that dishwasher?
Do you use the same cleaning products in different rooms? Chances are that the window cleaner is one that is used for bathroom mirrors and living room windows. Instead of running back and forth trying to gather all of the cleaning supplies, keep a bucket or caddy filled with paper towels, a soft dusting rag, furniture polish, window cleaner, sanitizing wipes, and any other cleaners that you routinely use. Then, when it is time to clean, you can simply grab your cleaning caddy, the vacuum or broom and head to the room to be cleaned.
Maybe your teaching wardrobe is not the most fashionable, but by getting your clothes ready the night before you have a much better chance of starting the day off calm and collected. Preparing your clothes ahead of time also gives you a chance to pick out your accessories and shoes without being rushed.
When you are trying to wake up in the morning, coffee can be an important factor in your success. Set your programmable coffee pot to go off at the time your alarm does in the morning. By the time you get to the kitchen, your coffee will be already brewed and waiting.
After you are finished getting the coffee pot ready in the morning, fix the next day’s lunch. Not only will you have a lunch to bring with you, but it will probably be a bit healthier than grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine in the teachers’ lounge.
Good to Go
How many minutes have you wasted rushing around the house gathering things in the morning? If the car keys are hard to find, your teaching bag is unpacked, and your gloves are missing, by the time you get in the car to drive to school you are going to be stressed and anxious. Be kind to yourself and prepare a “To Go” area the night before. Pack your school things up, hang your keys on a hook by the door, and make sure your gloves are tucked safely in your coat pockets. Place everything together so that when it is time to leave you have everything you need right by the door. You will find yourself less stressed and with a few more minutes to drink your coffee each morning.
Slow-Cooker to the Rescue
By the time you get home from school, the last thing you may want to do is start cooking a big dinner. Prep your slow cooker the night before with a roast or other dish and set it to cook before you leave in the morning. By the time you get home your dinner will be done and you will be able to savor the extra time you have with your loved ones.
Saving time is more about giving you the freedom to worry less than it is about a neater house or fancier meal. It is about making your life richer and giving you time to spend with those who matter most. How do you do it? How do you manage your time to get the most out of each and every day? Share with us!