The internet is a window of opportunity for teachers. Nowadays, you can earn a decent amount by teaching English online for example. It’s a cool job that allows you to work from the comfort of your own home. Online teaching also opens up new levels of creativity and drives you to focus on best practice and innovations.
However, it can be really time consuming, because good teaching requires a lot of preparation. Learning to manage your time is probably the most difficult aspect of this job. It’s what every teacher discovers after a while.
Fortunately, they also discover the most effective ways of dealing with this problem. Here are some of them:
Sleep at least 7-8 hours
Some people think that sacrificing sleep is a good way to hack productivity. This is not the case. Having enough energy is the basis of making the most of your day.
Most of us need 7-8 hours of sleep for our bodies and minds to function optimally. Just listen to your body and you’ll know if you’re getting enough rest. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep.
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When it becomes obvious that you need a quick break, you can use that time to take a walk, stretch, meditate, chat with a friend, grab a snack or hop on social media.
Make sure, however, to limit your breaks to ten minutes. This will prevent the downward spiral that distractions can offer.
Declutter your space
If your environment, especially your desk, is cluttered, then your mind is most probably cluttered too. And when this is the case, it takes you much longer to accomplish tasks.
Remove all unnecessary items from your work area and keep only those that are useful or beautiful to you. Clear up your space to create a balanced mind.
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We all have a specific time of day when we are most alert; schedule that time for online work if possible.
Before accepting teaching assignments, look at the other assignments already accepted for that time slot and consider whether the workload is too heavy for you.
Also, you should factor in family obligations and planned vacations when making the best possible schedule for yourself.
Use online resources
Nowadays, there are plenty of sites that offer valuable teaching materials; you don’t need to create everything yourself. These sites offer many interesting ready-made lesson plans, flashcards and worksheet downloads.
ESLlibrary is one such invaluable site. Other similar sites that you may find very useful include Lanternfish, BusyTeacher, and ESL Printables. Just choose what you need the most at the moment.
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Plan everything, even assignment sheets, as if you will use it again. Often, you will be able to use some parts of already planned lessons to complete new ones. Saving ten minutes here and there can really add up.
Also, students tend to have similar questions about certain language issues and you should always have the FAQ ‘cheat sheets’ ready.
Keep your workspace and personal space separate
Blending your workspace with your personal space is not a good way to stay productive. All those who work from home have experienced some of these distractions: family members wanting attention, the desire to complete household chores, or lack of proper workspace or office equipment .
Here’s what you can do: make a distinct boundary (either physically or mentally) between your workspace and personal enjoyment space. You may even purchase a room divider if you can’t spare a room for your office. Also, invest in ergonomic furniture.
It may be hard at first to remove yourself from situations that can arise at home, but it’s well worth it.
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Set aside 30 minutes or an hour every day to tackle the little things. Don’t let them pile up and stress you out.
Try batching things like paying bills, opening mail, emailing, making appointments or phone calls. You should probably schedule this type of work for your least productive hour of the day.
Share experiences and ideas
You shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to other online teachers to share ideas and commiserate about your experiences.
Join a few online discussion forums; you will most probably learn about some more productivity hacks from your colleagues.
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Try disconnecting for one day a week. From teaching and from the internet at large. No social networking, no emails. Instead, go for a hike, see your friends, read a book. Cook for the week ahead (which is another productivity hack, by the way). The next day, you will probably return to work refreshed.
Hopefully, incorporating some of these ideas into your daily life will make you a happier, healthier and more productive online teacher!