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5 simple work-life balance hacks for teachers that win

5 simple work-life balance hacks for teachers that win

I love to teach but my work-life balance was unhealthy. I was working long into every night and I couldn’t stop thinking about school. Till one day I decided to learn smart work habits so I would only work school contracted hours, and stop taking work home. Or if I took work home I worked no more than one hour after each school day.

Want to know how to get this kind of work-life balance? Then, read on because this can work for anyone.

I love to teach but I was working 24/7

A few years into teaching, we went to live and work in Solomon Islands. The local church we attended had a vision for a Christian primary school and asked us to help. 

At first I hesitated, I love to teach but hey I’m not a principal. The thing about working overseas is you soon get asked to do more than you ever thought possible.

We helped to build the school and I thought it would get easier as we added another year level and more teachers each year.

 But, I was constantly budget planning, accounting, acquiring resources for teachers and classrooms, training manual staff and the accountant, working on the school vision, helping parents to work with us, writing our curriculum, creating our school uniform, training student teachers, planning and grading for my year one’s during nights and weekends – while trying to keep cool in our 90 degree humidity, 90 degree hot house. 

I LOVE to teach, but something had to change. I had to learn to work smarter if I wanted a healthy work-life balance.

Sylvia Skinner

Does teaching consume your life?

Work and life is a balancing act that can create stress both at work and at home if not balanced right. I learned to develop strategies that enabled me to not only work and become more teacher productive but also work more effectively. I stopped taking work home and started to leave shortly after the students went home.

The school became one of the top primary schools and seen as a viable option to the International school. Our Year six students graduated their final exams in the top 5% to enter high school, which is important. (Only the top 10% of students get placements in the few senior schools available in the Islands). 

Increasingly more teachers wanted to train or/and teach at the school. My students continued to be successful, and my teaching improved.

You too can get a healthy work-life balance. It may seem like mission impossible but I’m here to tell you, even though you love to teach you can have a life beyond the classroom.

Work-life balance is having quality time with family

Are you tired of missing quality family time?

Let me give you the tools to create habits that will flip the switch off so you can stop thinking about school work all the time but still get stuff done.  

I can help you reframe your lesson-planning and grading, so you can kill your to-do list and stop taking work home.

My work-life balance solution is simple. To-do lists are out because I never get them done and many of my Aussie colleagues just groaned at the mere mention of them. 

Start getting your work-life balance act together today!

Five simple yet powerful teacher productivity hacks to achieve that balance between your teacher life and personal life.

Imagine IF – your workdays were 9 hours work, 7 hours life, 8 hours of sleep, and weekends free! 

Read on and discover the five hacks to win your life back.

Go HERO Roadmap for teacher productivity

Download a copy of the GO HERO Roadmap

1 - Get Organised for work life balance

Hack 1 - Get Organised

Imagine if you could get organised so you never had to do another to-do list. No more chasing your tail trying to get everything done. 

To Get Organised you need to start by looking at your purpose which will spur you on to getting your life in order. 

Next is your work-space. No-one can work in a mess. Whether you’re working from home or at school both areas need to be tidy and in order. Your students will work better in an ordered environment.  

The biggest secret of very productive people is that they don’t use to-do lists; they schedule tasks, and so do I. This is the only way I have found work-life balance for me. 

Scheduling appointments with myself means I get those tasks done and I’m not wasting time thinking about what I should do. 

Want to know how I use my calendar to schedule everything I want to get done for the week? Join the Go HERO quest.

This first module is FREE! 

– No sign-up. No payment. Just enrol and try it out.

2 - Flip the Switch and stop thinking about school all the time

Hack 2 - HUNT your superhero

What would you give, if you could flip the switch and STOP thinking about school work for hours or even a weekend? 

I don’t know about you, but I used to think about school work even when I wasn’t physically doing it. I would be devising some new way to arrange the classroom in my head even when trying to get to sleep.

I had poor work-life balance which was spending endless hours trying to think out ways to help students learn better. 

Not anymore!

I found a way to Flip the switch immediately creating new habits and getting stuff done. I HUNT for my superhero to knock all my goals down fast and harness my superhero power.

It makes life so simple. Do you want that same freedom? 

3 - Imagine if you could Eliminate hours of planning

Hack 3 - Eliminate hours of Planning

I used to take work home every day and triple for the weekend. Planning is essential after-all. Plus, I didn’t want to get behind. 

But, not since I devised a simple work-life balance system that stopped all that. Imagine if you could eliminate excessive hours of planning and have all your weekends free for family time.

I learnt to ELIMINATE excessive hours of planning by creating a digital planner. It has the year at a glance, term focus shortcuts and weekly planning tricks. I give you a FREE copy of my digital planner, in the Go HERO quest.

I used to use an online e-planner but the creator stopped the app. So I created a digital teacher planner that would work forever on Good Notes or Notability or any other e-reader. 

My iPad can be carried anywhere and it has everything on it that I need or might need for class.

4 - Refine Routines and save time for better work-life balance

Hack 4 - Refine routines and procedures

Students love to participate in the running of the classroom if you let them. Perhaps you just haven’t had the time to get really organised so students can run the classroom. 

Learn to REFINE your classroom routines. Students need procedures not rules so they know what to do. Students behaviour will improve and teaching time will be more focused on learning. 

Stop wasting time with transitions. I’ve visited classrooms where transitions have taken 10 minutes and the students are out of order. That’s a lot of time lost in learning when you consider there are at least five transitions per day in your average elementary classroom.

Create better student routines and procedures for your classroom to run smoothly. Get more done in less time so students have time during transitions and at the end of the day to do those little jobs that run the classroom on auto-pilot. 

Your students will have a prepared active environment they are pleased to call their own. Plus, you get to go home at the end of your contracted hours with the classroom ready for the next day. 

Go HERO has the frameworks to help you to get transitions, routines and procedures set up fast. Get your students working with you so you can get on the road to a healthy work-life balance. 

5 - Optimise Grading so you never take it home

Hack 5 - Optimise your grading

I used to take a cartload of marking home every night and work long into the night, but it never finished. The idea was to get it all done. Not anymore.

I work for an hour before I go to school if I feel I need the quiet of my own work-space at home. The only issue is that it leaves very limited time to travel to school. You’re under tension watching the clock and all sorts of things can go wrong to cause you to be late. In the end I found it was better to work at school.

The problem with working one hour before school, is that you have to stay after school for one hour. So, I take something that I can do that’s relaxing in for that last hour.

OPTIMISE grading using assessment tricks that work fast. For example one of the fastest ways I’ve found to grade writing is to use grading keys.  

I circle the error and write a number. Students finds the number on the grading key, read it and know immediately what the problem is and correct it.  This helps students learn from the mistakes instead of just noting they got a bad grade for an assignment.

If I do take grading home, I only take one or two sets of papers, set the timer for one hour and use a set of marking keys, to grade fast. 

Of course this requires that you train your students first to understand the marking keys that you are using. 

I get the set of papers graded within the one hour time limit and feel great after to enjoy the rest of the evening. 

How does that sound to you? If you keep it simple, teacher work-life balance is possible. 

Go HERO - teacher productivity

Do the Go HERO quest and get this work-life balance started faster in a supportive group while adding to your PD hours

You get – 
  • 5 Modules: Go,  Hunt, Eliminate, Refine, Optimise
  • FREE Digital Teacher Planner  
  • Private Facebook Group LIVE Support
  • 25 hour professional development certificate

The first 2 weeks of the course are FREE

NO card, NO sign-up, just ENROL for FREE and try it out.

If you like the course and want to continue you have to sign-up to make ONE payment on the 14th day after the course begins. 

Sylvia the founder

Schedule a chat with me

  1. Schedule a 15 min no-obligation chat. 
  2. At the scheduled time, I’ll call you!
  3. We’ll chat to see if Go HERO is for you.
  4. If you decide to go ahead, enrol for FREE.
    Scroll down for FAQs.

What Others Say About

Sylvia Skinner

Frequently asked questions

Yes, YOU get 2 weeks to try the course out totally FREE.

No obligation to stay. No sign up. No payment.

Just a FREE enrolment.

At the start of week 3 you can choose to continue. 

If you do, you will have to sign-up for the rest of the course and make payment on the Xperiencify platform via Stripe.

Your card details are NOT seen or recorded by ilovetoteach101 or Xperiencify. 

There is a timer on the course page to keep you on track.

We do one module per fortnight. 

– 2 hours study per fortnight
– 2 hours implementation per fortnight
– 1 hour LIVE Group Q&A per fortnight

You get to keep the course materials forever, for your personal use.

The course videos and materials are all accessed on the Xperiencify platform. 

Training videos and materials are released week by week as you go through the course so as not to overwhelm you with too much material. 

Use the blueprint to see the different stages in the course. You can download the blueprint above.

No, not at all. You may use anything you like.

However, the digital planner has been designed to help  you to work faster.

When you have completed the course, you will receive your 25-hour Teacher Productivity Certificate of Completion.

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sylvias - avatar
About the author: 5000 Credits 10000 Credits 15000 Credits 20000 Credits PRO Badge sylvias Visit My Stall
I am a K-12 Australian Teacher, with 25+ years of teaching experience. My Honours research investigated how teachers succeed in teaching English in a TEFL context. Originally from the UK, I lived and worked for 15 years in the Pacific Islands. During that time I was Principal of a school for 5 years, training teachers, teaching a class, and building a school from the ground up. I'm now back in Australia teaching and having fun!
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