It is very easy to get caught in a continuous work spiral wherein one keeps working without any thought for a life outside of work, hobbies or interests. The effects of a bad work-life balance are only evident when you are no longer working. Suddenly time stretches out before you and you do not know what to do because you’ve been so consumed with work.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from falling into that trap.
1. Leave Your Work At School – If there is one thing that we should all learn is that work should be left at the work place and not carried back home. This is a rule that applies to teachers too. Working at school and then working at home too makes for bad work-life balance because it completely cancels out the life aspect of things. When you are younger and have plenty of energy, you can get away with this. However, as you grow older, you will begin to regret the amount of time you have spent working alone, without a life or a hobby to show for it.
2. Maintain hobbies and interests – 20 years down the line, you do not want to retire and realize that you have nothing to work for, no interests or hobbies to indulge in because teaching and its additional responsibilities always took up your time completely. No matter how busy you are, always make time to indulge in your own interests and hobbies, irrespective of how childish or adult they are. Also remember to keep in touch with friends and acquaintances. These habits will stand you in good stead when you finally decide to hang up your teaching boots!
3. Leave your personal issues at home – If you are going to bring all your personal drama to your workplace, you don’t even need a genius to tell you that you are going to have a bad time. Carrying your bad mood to work will make you snap at your fellow teachers, students and generally make you feel a lot more visible than before.
4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – One of the things you must necessarily know about yourself is how much you can do in a given day without exhausting yourself. Knowing how much you are capable of doing will not only help you manage your work but it will also prevent you from stretching yourself too thin. If you don’t know how much you are capable of doing, then you will take on a lot more work than you do, overstretch yourself, feel bad about yourself and also give others the impression that you are skipping your responsibilities.
5. Learn to say no – There will always be a number of things that need to get done at school. However, you are not the only person that exists in the school. If you feel like you will not be able to fulfill someone’s request or carry out a certain task or responsibility, then when at the outset itself, when you are asked to do it, say no. You might get a bit of a reputation for being harsh or uncompromising, but in turn, neither will your work quality or your ability to do work on time be affected. It’s a small price to pay for being responsible and capable.
6. Don’t try to be a superhero – The perfect teacher…does not exist. There is no single teacher in the world who has it all together, and can balance their work and home perfectly. Don’t aim for the stars. Instead, aim for goals you know are doable, such as: getting to work on time, correcting assignments in portions through the week, finishing lesson plans etc.
How do you prevent yourself from getting into an endless spiral of work? And do you think the concept of a relatively ideal work-life balance even exists? Share your suggestions and opinions with us in the comments section below!