Stress. Pressure. Strain. It doesn’t matter what synonym you use for it, the outcome is the same. Sometimes the never-ending to-do list can make you feel overwhelmed and under-resourced. What do you need to tell yourself to cope with the demand of your role and make sure that your life isn’t all work and no fun?
Accept your limits
This is an important one. The fact is that you aren’t going to get everything done in the day. You can productive and efficient yet sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. This doesn’t mean that you should stay up longer to achieve more. It doesn’t mean that your work day should creep that little bit more into your downtime. It doesn’t mean that you have failed. It means that you have to be firm with yourself, know when it is the right time to stop and give yourself a break if the to-do list is not all neatly ticked off at the end of the day.
When you know where your limit is, you need to know when to say this word. You know when you are pushing yourself too much. You know when you are so tired that your limbs are like dead weights. You know when you are like a zombie and each day feels like an uphill struggle. This is the time to say ‘No, I’m sorry I won’t be able to stay to help with the concert’. ‘No, I won’t come for a drink tonight’. ‘No, the work you have just produced won’t be marked by tomorrow.’ This is about protecting yourself and knowing when enough is enough.
Write an ‘Exit pass’
At the start of the day, make a three-point priority list that will be your exit pass for the evening. What things must you do before you leave work? Make them manageable, achievable and sensible. Then when it’s done, pack up, leave your books by the door and go home!
If your school emails are connected to your phone, you need to rectify this immediately. How can you switch off if your link to work is constantly switched on? Don’t check emails on an evening. Don’t read them on a weekend. Don’t tell yourself it’s better to deal with it quickly right then and there. Let it wait until Monday morning. Give yourself a break!
Home time is your time
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t do any work at home. That’s how it should be. But we all know that, sometimes, school work creeps into that time. Being consistent and efficient with your hours at school can mean that you can leave that work behind at the end of the day. PPA time? Make sure that is what you use it for. Stay a couple of hours each day after the bell and work through your marking a bit at a time instead of leaving it all to mount up at the end of the week.
Do these simple things and make your home time your own time again, giving you time to rest and rejuvenate, not stress and ruminate.
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