Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger: Brigit Perik of Secrets of Great Teachers. She has some great tips for you on staying focused . If you like what she has to say, please feel free to stop by her website and check her out.
Many teachers experience a lack of focus from time to time. From what I have experienced over the years when teachers lose focus many aspects of their whole life suffers – family, health, relationships, careers and of course classes and students.
There are many ways to stay focused, but here are 5 simple strategies:
1. Look after your health- yes this seems very simple, however many teachers do not do this very well. Healthy meals and snacks, more water than coffee and an exercise plan will definitely help here.
2. Plan S.M.A.R.T.
Many teachers lose their focus when they do not make plans or set goals. Sure there may be teaching programs and lessons in place but spending some time planning a few weeks ahead can help keep your focus and help you to be effective. Once the goals are set do the actions necessary to make them happen when they are supposed to be made.
Remember procrastination will steal your time and make your focus blurry!
Specific- Make your plans or goals specific
Measurable- measure how many things will be done e.g., marking 15 exams per day
Attainable - Make sure the task is possible and you have the time and resources to achieve the task.
Relevant – Make sure the task is relevant to the bigger picture otherwise it is wasting time and take energy that will inevitably lead to a lack of focus.
Timely- Give enough time to complete the task and set a time and date when the task is due.
3. Set limits for tasks
Set a number of tasks per day or a number of projects you participate in or the number of extra curricular activities you do in a certain period of time. Sometimes overcommitting becomes overwhelming, which may lead to a lack of focus and poor performance or results.
4. Reduce distractions – There are many distractions from emails, phone calls, Facebook, text messages, committees and meetings, people…
View FB, emails once daily or a set periods. Switch off your phone when completing tasks. Put yourself in a place where the distractions are minimal so the tasks can be done on time.
5. Reward yourself and take breaks.
Some teachers feel guilty taking breaks. They feel they must work every weekend and holiday. Whilst this may be seen on the one had as dedication it also can lead to burnout and unhappiness. Of course taking regular breaks also means getting enough sleep! Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest focus killers!
If you have set a task e.g. mark a set of class papers, set a reward for the completion of this task. Regular rewards build desire to complete tasks easily, which reduces procrastination and increases focus! Rewarding yourself also sends a message to the subconscious of success and completion so you will be ready for the next task.
Brigitte Perik is an experienced classroom teacher having worked in Australia for over 14 years. She has held various leadership positions and had responsibilities managing whole school projects. Today, she coaches and mentors teachers and business leaders empowering them with skills and mindsets that benefit them personally and professionally.