I am happy to start a new school year, but I also know that there will be a lot of pressure to get everything done on time. Below is a list of things that have helped me in the past to stay focused, productive and in a healthy mindset. I am keeping the list nearby as a daily reminder and I hope you find it helpful as well.
1. Wear a wristwatch and put the cell phone away, to avoid spending time looking at everything but the time when picking up the phone to check the time.
2. Limit social media breaks to lunchtime. Wait, what lunchtime? Never mind! cross that one out. ;-)
3. Take a five to ten-minute outdoor walking break the beginning of every prep session. If the weather does not permit, stay indoors and go say hi to a colleague.
4. Work on one task at a time but cut down the time spent on each. For example, if you have four tasks to get done by the end of the week set aside one hour and devote 15 minutes to each task. This way it feels like progress is being made towards everything that needs to get done.
5. Keep a notepad on your desk and write things down to do, as they come up. Note to self: only ONE notepad, please!
6. Maintain the e-mail account closed (administrators probably won't like for me to say this) and check the e-mail just in the beginning and end of each day.
7. Clean and organize the classroom at the end of the day. You will be glad you did the next morning.
8. Listen to music while working on your computer preparing lessons.
9. Read an excerpt of a book or a poem before leaving work. A five-minute read is more than enough. Doing this helps in leaving work in a calm and positive mood.
10. When it is time to go home, just go, walk away, hop, run if you may, but walk away and don't look back! Lo que se quedó se quedó (what was left behind leave it behind). The best thing ever created was one day after another. Tomorrow is another day.