Teacher Planner Tips and Ideas for Productivity

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Is journaling part of your morning routine? If not, it should be! A key strategy to support my personal wellbeing and success as a teacher has been to stay off my phone for the first hour of every morning. Yes, sometimes that means waking up earlier! I journal, meditate, and exercise before I touch my phone. Using a daily planner has helped me with organization, reduced anxiety, and more mental clarity. I use weekly, monthly, and daily pages to keep track of my thoughts (teaching related and in my personal life).

I even bought an alarm clock to ensure I’m not using my phone to wake up. This makes me feel better prepared to take on the day with a positive attitude. I currently use a paper journal (5 Minute Journal) that includes journal prompts but you can even use a digital one. There are so many options these days! Read for journaling tips and a free download of a teacher planner I created that includes ALL of the ideas explained below.


Time Blocking

Also called the Pomodoro Technique. Block of certain periods of time to focus on ONE task at a time. No distractions. Until that time is up, don’t get up from your desk or check your notifications. Of course, if natural calls and you need to use the restroom; please go! The point is to give all your attention to one idea to perform your best. I like to schedule 30 minute time blocks of complete focus on one task. For example, planning the next day’s Language Arts lesson with 30 min. of intense focus. Then, I can do a quick stretch and move on. I bought this cube timer to set a timer. plus, it looks great with my desk aesthetic.

Top 3 List

I used to write 10 to do items on my list and that was a great way to set myself up for failure. I wouldn’t know where to start or which to prioritize. If I didn’t finish all 10, I felt defeated. Now, I focus on 3-5 top must do tasks each day. After the 3 important items are done, I will look at my longer to do list. Numbering tasks has also been extremely helpful.

Goal Setting

Don’t only write down goals but strategize how you will get there. I write large goals but manifesting is more than just writing out your dreams. It’s actively working towards them and believing in them. Use backwards design in your own life too (not just yearly unit planning). Start with your outcome in mind and work backwards to determine all the small tasks you will need to accomplish or habits you will need to practice to achieve your large goal.

Inspiration

Inspiration isn’t just in the form of quotes. It’s art, music, a beautiful view. It’s a great conversation or an unexpected creative spark firing within you. Note anything that inspires you and feel the joy of wonder.

Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude is everything and it can immediately change my mood. Choosing to focus on what I have rather than on lack helps me feel more grounded and happier. Writing down things I am grateful for every single day has been a major factor in feeling more at peace.

Movement

Movement isn’t just a workout class or an hour long intense exercise session (although I LOVE those). Movement includes 15 minutes of pilates or a walk around the neighbourhood. I note down the movement I will do each day and commit to it because it always leaves me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I never regret any movement breaks I take.

Want to Feel

I note how I want to feel in the morning because that reminds me of how I want to respond to others and my external environment. I usually list 3 nouns here but you can also get descriptive and feel all the emotions you’d like to experience while you are writing!

Connecting with Others

It is human nature to socialize and connect with others. I always write who I’d like to “send joy” to. When I wake up thinking about how I want to serve the world and serve others instead of merely what I want to get from the world, it makes me feel a sense of purpose and delight in the fact that there is something I have to contribute.

A long morning routine might not be feasible for many of us. If I had to pick 1 part of my morning to keep forever, it would be journalling. Julia Cameron wrote a whole book, The Artist’s Way, about the benefits of morning pages and how to do them.

Get my free teacher planner (daily, weekly, and monthly pages) which includes the template pages above by providing your email below.

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