• Teacher Tips

5 Ways To Increase Productivity

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Hands up Procrastinators! Go on...be honest. We've all been there...and if we are being really honest, some would say we regularly go there.

And that’s okay. It isn't something we need to beat ourselves up about. If anything, it shows that we care, because we know that once we start a job, we could there for a while. I suspect that if you found your way to this page then you might want to break the habit of procrastinating. If you are looking to improve your levels of productivity, read on to find five ideas to try out. Remember, the goal is to make small changes that have a big impact.


Idea 1: Same day commitment.

As a rule of thumb, you should not tell yourself (EVER!) that “it’s okay, I’ll leave that job until tomorrow,” if you do not have a genuine reason. Schools are places that move with fast pace. By the end of each school day we have often acquired another long list of to-dos, so batting the jobs off ASAP is key to your work-life balance. Stay disciplined and focused and keep your goal in mind of being productive so that you start a fresh in the morning. By all means have a chat with a colleague if the job is something that you can quickly catch up on, but if we are talking sets of books...get your head down and commit to finishing those books. It won’t play on your mind and you’ll feel the satisfaction of starting a clean slate tomorrow.


Idea 2: Calendar blocking

Google Calendar is a dream! You don’t have to use this exact calendar, but I like it because it makes a busy schedule look far more exciting. You basically plan your life with colour!

I first came across this idea as I watched a You Tube video by Amy Landino, an online vlogger who focuses on productivity. Using the app, you block out chunks of time for activities and colour code the actual activity. You may have workouts in yellow, social in blue, work in orange and travel in green. By including blocks for the small details such as your commute to school in the morning, you will see exactly at which times you are busy and at which points in the day you actually have spare time. I promise you, you will feel like you have gained a good few hours per day if you start blocking your time! I strongly recommend adding a colour block for “Social” so you can make sure you make the time to see friends and family as well as booking in some well-deserved “me-time”.


Idea 3: The Eisenhower Matrix

If you haven’t heard of this already, I recommend you give it a try. It makes you think more about the things you actually put down on your to-do list. Sometimes, we do something... then add it to our to do list...then cross it off to feel that satisfaction. We feel the satisfaction because our body releases "happy hormones", giving us a sense of accomplishment. There’s no problem with listing just to cross off, but re-writing things you’ve already done is not the most productive use of time and you are probably putting off doing another job.

Have a look at this model and see if it could make it work for you. It is called the Eisenhower Matrix.

Urgent and important: These jobs are your first priority. Day to day plate spinning I would say in a school so you do not fall behind.

Urgent but not important: Who could help you with these jobs? Does something need organising? Does something need preparing?

Not urgent but important: Use your calendar blocking system and schedule the time to get it done.

Not urgent and not important: Just. Get. Rid.

Hey, there’s no harm in trying.


Idea 4: Forward planning

Get those jobs done in advance that CAN be done in advance. Be realistic and logical about it. Spelling lists and home learning tasks can be planned quickly and in one go at the start of a half term, saving you time and energy when you get to Friday. Say goodbye to those days when you realise you haven’t got it sorted and the printer isn’t working...again). It might be that you focus on planning out your resources well in advance. You might print all the sheets you need for the week on the Monday (or even better, the previous Friday!) and store them in document wallets organised by day. Simple. Small changes, big impact.


Idea 5: Growth Mindset

So, Growth Mindset is a bit of a big deal at the minute, but it is key that you fully adopt a growth mindset so you can flourish in this profession. We teach the children about the learning pit and how it is okay to make mistakes. Just because we are older doesn’t mean the principles are different for us. Instead of thinking, “this isn’t working, I give up,” try thinking, “I’ll change tactic and be ready to try a new idea tomorrow.” Accept that you may face challenges along the way, instead of putting things off because you don't think you can be successful at it. I understand that this can be easier said than done in the high pressure environment we are in, and it does take practice. I am lucky enough to work with many colleagues with growth mindsets and the team is strong. That’s because we all are willing to make changes in order to make improvements. This in turn benefits the children and ourselves. It can be difficult if you feel you are the only one with a growth mindset amongst your colleagues, but don’t be down beaten. Stand up for what you believe.

Be the change.

If you need a good talking to about stopping procrastinating, search up Mel Robbins on You Tube. She’s a very straight to the point speaker with some ideas I think are worth listening to.

This post was originally posted on Laura Ellen Blog on 15th January 2019