Looking Ahead

Let’s stop perpetuating the myth about meeting deadlines. It seems impossible to run several projects at the same time but it’s a matter of setting priorities. 🧐

Once you’ve decided to take a new student or deliver a course or a training session, you may feel there are too many things to do: advertising, planning, delivery, marking assignments, dealing with queries and giving feedback. I used to start planning or collecting material when the pressure was high, which means just before the dead line, and, honestly, I still do, but there is another approach. 

Turn big goals into a set of minigoals

One way of coping with too many important things like that is breaking your work into mini projects with small achievable goals instead of trying to do everything just before the due date. Does this sound sensible? It certainly should work if you plan everything in advance. 

Have a look at my crazy timetable – I managed to squeeze a few private lessons before 5-hour training sessions and on some CELTA days.
Honestly, this is not a good work life balance. There is no balance there at all! ⚖️

Allocate some time for routine tasks

If you spend about an hour every morning doing something like answering emails, making phone calls and other necessary things, it may turn into a habit, which will help you save time in the future. You can also split these tasks into a few slots to make it less tedious and monotonous. For example, in the morning you write letters, which might take up to 20 minutes. Then you do something exciting, let’s say, planning a lesson for your favourite group of students or reading a chapter from a book on an aspect you are trying to improve. Having had fun, you can do something mundane again for a short period of time, and all that jazz.

I have to admit my timetable is not flexible and I often forget to allocate breaks for something important like coffee or lunch, and I hardly ever have time for sharing materials after my sessions right after the event or planning an upcoming lesson based on the written assignment my individual students send me a couple of hours before the lesson. Nonetheless, I find time for nearly everything including answering emails without huge delays, I do marking and I even find time for unrelated to work things, like going for a walk. Not every day, though.

Who have you informed?

What I find immensely helpful is sharing my plans with someone. That can be your student who agreed to have a lesson with another one to practice speaking with a peer, or a colleague. For example, I’ve arranged a zoom meeting with my co-trainer so I’ll have marked all written assignments by that time. It’ll be a done deal! 

What helps you organise your time?