“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
—Carl Sandburg, American Poet
To be a good educator, you have to be passionate about your work. When you were a teacher, you probably spent a few evenings out of the week grading papers or working on lesson plans. You may have even stayed after school to help a student who was having difficulty with a subject. Managing your time was a challenge, however, now that you’re in administration, you have a lot more responsibilities and likely even more trouble balancing work and life. Here are a few tips that just might help you strike the right balance.
Take Care of You
You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but it is crucial that you take care of your health. This means eating a healthy diet and exercising. Skipping lunch can be a very bad habit that can adversely affect both your health and productivity. You might also find yourself eating unhealthy foods like chips and candy bars because they are quick. To avoid this, take your lunch to work with you. You can also put a mini-refrigerator in your office and stock it with healthy foods like yogurt, fruit, and bottles of water. Midday, take a walk around the corner to get centered and refuel.
Get a Hobby
You should also destress at least one day out of the week with a creative activity like painting, knitting or dancing. Along with relieving stress, it might get the ideas flowing for problem-solving and strategizing.
Keep Your Personal Boundaries
Establish policies with your staff about communicating with you after hours. For example, when is it permissible to contact you via phone? With easy access to work email, it can also be tempting to continue working once you’re at home. However, checking e-mails at night can be time-consuming. More importantly, if it is an e-mail that is troublesome, it can also potentially keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Therefore, you should make a commitment to avoid checking e-mails after you leave the office. This might require your removing the email app from your phone.
Schedule Family and Friend Time
Take time off when you need it. You can schedule long weekend getaways with friends and family. If you’re likely to run into teachers or parents from your district, it might be a good idea to go about an hour away to escape it all. During your time off, do your best not to talk about or even think about work. Instead, take the time to reminisce, laugh and catch up on what’s going on with the kids. Plan to attend a sporting event, play a round of golf or go to the movies.
You’ve worked hard to get where you are. Make changes in your lifestyle now to protect yourself from career-ending “executive burnout”.