Teacher time management

Teacher time management can be difficult to achieve with competing priorities in school.

The following article has been produced by the Education Support. It is the UK’s only charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff.


One of the biggest challenges most people face is managing their time productively and coping with their workload in an effective manner. As teachers, you may be juggling exams, class preparation and scoring students’ writing assignments, among other tasks.

Non-teaching staff may be faced with administrative duties, finances, staffing, technical support and many other items required to run an educational establishment effectively. Whatever your role is, this article offers some tips to help your teacher time management and achieve other life goals productively.

Teacher time management: work out your goals

Spend some time thinking about your goals and priorities — personal, professional and family. This should then provide a blueprint for your time management. Once you have acknowledged your own life’s “big picture,” think about some short-term and medium-term goals that can bring you closer to your overall goals. Setting small goals that can act as stepping stones toward bigger goals will help you better plan your life’s tasks and priorities.

Teacher time management: make a list

Buy yourself a notepad, diary or calendar that makes you smile. Choose something that appeals to you personally. Maybe it has bright colours or a motivational message on the front. Maybe the most useful place is electronically, such as your smartphone’s Note’s app.

Wherever or whatever you choose, make this your to-do list. Play around with what type of list works for you. Maybe it is a daily list, weekly list and monthly list. Keep track of the tasks that keep being moved or not getting done. Set time aside to do them, or see if they can be delegated elsewhere.

Take tasks one at a time

Breaking down your tasks into lists and priorities makes them less overwhelming. Ensure that you acknowledge when you have achieved a task, either by ticking or crossing it off your list. Recognise your achievements and that you are progressing forward each time you tick something off your list. Update your list regularly to keep you on top of your tasks.

Recognise and reward your achievements

Break down tasks, and then reward yourself for achieving those tasks by doing something non-work-related. This could be a yoga class, reading a book or going out to dinner with friends. Rewarding yourself for achieving your goals is a good form of self-care and promotes your wellbeing both inside and outside of the workplace.

Have a list of rewards you would like to give yourself, and work towards them. If you have a particular period of intensity and “busyness” coming up, such as an OFSTED inspection, have a larger reward at the end of it, such as booking a holiday or going away for the weekend.

Teacher time management: take breaks

Breaks are important aspects of time management and wellbeing. Taking breaks ensures that you are working at your maximum capacity and utilising the most of your time. Staying an extra hour to mark papers or working through your lunch break is not necessarily the best use of time if you are distracted or tired. Take your break to refuel, reenergise and get away from your desk. Make sure you eat, drink and stretch your legs.

Why is wellbeing important?

Encouraging your wellbeing at work is of importance in any stressful job, and in particular the demanding profession of education. When you’re not taking care of your wellbeing, you run the risk of becoming depleted. Take this metaphor of fire: it needs to be refuelled to continue to burn brightly, otherwise it will consume its resources and burn out. When one reaches the stage of burnout, there is emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. One of the best routes to preventing burnout is promoting good wellbeing and self-care, thus refuelling your fire.

We have produced another article which looks at encouraging staff wellbeing in schools.

Ask for support when it’s needed

Asking your manager or headteacher for support with teacher time management. By speaking about your concerns and feelings, your senior may be able to put things in place that will decrease your chances of burnout. Reach out to those close to you when you are feeling depleted. Talking things over is the simplest way to relieve some anxiety. Ask your colleagues, family and friends if they can offer support and guidance. They may be able to offer an alternative way to look at something, or offer you tools you can incorporate into your self-care plan to fuel your wellbeing.

Additional information

To read the full article please visit Education Support.

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