With these methods, teachers can better prioritize the tasks they complete in limited preparation time or before and after students arrive. Carter said the technique also makes strenuous tasks easier. There’s a big difference between looking at a stack of essays and committing to half an hour of grading, for example. “I look at a big project and I drag my feet,” she said. “But if I block out a time to do everything I can for 30 minutes, I still feel productive. I still get that dopamine hit.
Carter knows that teachers are not always masters of their time, even during preparation times. Students may need extra help, parents may call, and understaffing may mean they are helping out in another class. In her experience, however, the investment in being intentional about the parts of the day she can control has paid off. Her increased productivity and heightened awareness of what she was accomplishing each day allowed her to leave school at school and focus on parenthood while at home. “When we can step back and maybe have a better understanding of systems and strategies and the permanence of time for ourselves, we can take that time back,” she said.
Find what works for you
On Saturday or Sunday evening, Carter settles down with a cart of paints and markers, thinks about the week ahead, and designs the next pages of her journal. The ritual became a self-care practice. “[M]my brain has a chance to calm down, my blood pressure goes down, and I’ve managed to get some time away from the screen,” she wrote.
In his book and on Instagram, Carter’s journal photos show the many creative banners, lettering, and accents she uses throughout her pages. Artistry sometimes intimidates other teachers, she says, but she encourages them not to focus on perfection. She has developed her style over several years, drawing inspiration from bullet journal enthusiasts and sketchnote artists on social media. Also, the end product of her photos is not where she begins. “I’ll start with a very minimalistic design and then I’ll come back on a Sunday night watching TV and add flourishes and doodles and drawings and stickers and stuff and make it really pretty,” she said. declared.
Teachers can reap the benefits of time management and mental decluttering even without these extra touches. “You can literally grab a spiral notebook from your back shelf and a pen and get started and find something that might work for you,” Carter said. “The more it speaks to you, the more likely you are to come back to it.”