June 24, 2016

How to Get Organized and Keep the Joy in Teaching

Most new teachers begin their careers with passion and enthusiasm, excited to be able to work with children and to make a difference in their lives.

Unfortunately, that passion for teaching is too often buried under a crushing load of paperwork and job responsibilities they could never have imagined!

Enthusiasm is quickly replaced by a feeling of being overwhelmed, with way too much to do and never enough time to do it all. Piles of papers stack up everywhere, with no time to file anything away properly, and the number of messages in your inbox seems to grow exponentially!

What do you do? Spend 60 or 70 hours a week on schoolwork, only to realize you didn't make a dent in your total workload? Or should you do just enough to get by so that you can have a life outside of school?

No matter how much you love teaching, working 70 hours a week is a fast track to teacher burnout. But doing the bare minimum isn't the answer either. While it does give you a little more time at home, you start each school day feeling disorganized and overwhelmed. Over time, you'll start to feel guilty about neglecting your students and you'll feel increasingly ineffective as a teacher.

The Key to Unlocking Work Life Balance
Thankfully, there's a better way. The solution is to implement specific strategies to help you get more done in less time and achieve a healthy work/life balance. Sounds like an impossible dream, but I've discovered that it IS possible to find work/balance, and you won't have to sacrifice your effectiveness as a teacher. The key is knowing where to find these strategies and how to implement them effectively for the best results.

If you're a member of Angela Watson's 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, you're probably nodding your head along with me because you know exactly what I mean! I've known Angela for many years, and I admire her tremendously. She is the creator of the Cornerstone for Teachers blog and the author of many motivational books for teachers. Angela is one of the most organized, productive people I know, and I'm constantly amazed at how she accomplishes so much in such a short time. When I found out that she had created a course to help teachers learn effective strategies for achieving work life balance, I knew it would be awesome!

I signed up at the end of December, and within a week, I was blown away by the club content and resources! Just to be clear, this course is not about trying to cut your workweek down to 40 hours. You have to admit that it's a catchy title, but not many teachers can be effective when only working 40 hours. However, if you're working way more than 40 hours, you'd be thrilled to shave even 10 hours off your week, and this goal is entirely doable.

After digging into the content for just a few days, I knew that this course would be the answer to many teachers' prayers, if only they knew about it. These strategies have the power to bring about massive change and can make a huge difference in the lives of dedicated educators who love teaching so much that they can never find time for themselves. I was so impressed with the course that I started sharing about it everywhere, including in my blog post How to Work Smarter and Keep the Joy in Teaching.

Small Daily Changes Lead to BIG Results!
As I'm sure you are aware, change isn't always easy and it doesn't happen magically. However, Angela has done everything in her power to make the process as painless as possible, and you'll reap some big rewards almost immediately. She understands the challenges teachers face when trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance, and she knows that the best way to tackle any challenge is to make small changes day by day.

With that in mind, Angela organized the entire year's worth of content into 12 monthly topics. She then divided each monthly topic into 4 weekly chunks that she sends by email every Saturday morning. All of the audio recordings and documents are also stored in your 40 HTW Club account online so you can access them at any time. You can read or listen to the lesson over the weekend and implement the strategies throughout the week.

Wait. What??? You can LISTEN to the course content? Yes, that right... Angela not only creates a PDF of each week's content, she records an audio version you can listen to while driving or relaxing! Every time I listen to one of Angela's weekly lessons, I'm so astounded at the wealth of helpful information that I want to reach right through my phone and hug her! (I know that sounds silly, but it's true!)

Angela's Tips and Tricks for Overcoming Digital Clutter
May's topic was Technology Timesavers, and I loved Week 2, Overcoming Digital Clutter. I used to think of clutter as being piles of paper and junk, but after listening to about 30 seconds of Angela's recording, I realized that I have a serious problem with digital clutter, too. What I didn't expect was to learn so many specific, actionable strategies for dealing with this mess!

I decided to listen to Overcoming Digital Clutter while working out at my gym, and I remember stopping to look for paper to take notes! Luckily, I remembered that Angela also creates a PDF of the lesson so I didn't need to write down a thing. As soon as I got home, I started using her strategies to tackle my Inbox mess. What a relief to get that under control!

I later asked Angela if I could share the lesson with my followers. I was hesitant to ask because this is part of the paid content from her course. However, I thought that if teachers could listen to one of the weekly lessons, they would have a better idea of what the course is all about. I was thrilled when Angela agreed!

If you'd like to download Angela's lesson, Overcoming Digital Clutter, click on the title or image to open the form, fill it out, and I'll send the links to you right away.

The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is only open twice a year, at the beginning of January and the beginning of July. Unfortunately, the July enrollment just closed. If you'd like to be notified when it opens again, sign up for Angela's lesson on Overcoming Digital Clutter and you'll be added to my 40 HTW Club interest list.

Join a Facebook Group to Learn More  
Angela's course includes membership in one of two secret Facebook groups where club members can help and support each other as they implement the weekly strategies. I'm in both groups, and I wish I could give you access because you'd be amazed at what goes on there! I love the way teachers share helpful ideas about everything from classroom management to curriculum content. After reading just a few posts, I felt privileged to be a part of such an amazing community!

Since I can't give you access to one of Angela's Facebook groups, I decided to create my own, Teachers Working Smarter, as a place where teachers who LOVE the program can connect with those who want to learn more about it. My Facebook group is currently closed to new members because its only purpose is to connect current members with people who want to join the club. It will open again in December, and if you'd like me to send you an invitation then, sign up for Angela's lesson, Overcoming Digital Clutter.

Sign Up for Angela's Free Live Webinar 
There's so much more I could say to recommend the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club, but I'd rather send you to Angela's website where you can find the answers to all of your questions. Angela will be presenting a free live webinar called Trim an Hour (or More) Off Your Workweek Now in which she'll share actionable, time-saving productivity tips. She'll be presenting it several times, so be sure to sign up for one and attend!

Make a Personal Commitment to Achieve Work/Life Balance  
Angela offers several payment options, but the one-time payment for the full year is definitely the best value. As I said earlier, change isn't always easy, but you CAN turn things around and achieve work/life balance if you make up your mind to do so. Making that commitment starts from the moment you enroll. If you sign up for the monthly plan with the idea that you'll "give it a try" and cancel if it doesn't work out, you're doomed to fail. However, if you're able to pay for the full year in advance, not only will you save money, you'll be making a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve work/life balance.

Remember that if you'd like me to let you know when the club opens again, sign up for Angela's lesson, Overcoming Digital Clutter, and you'll be added to my email list. You'll also get a taste of the kind of content she sends out each week. By learning to work smarter and not harder, you'll be able to keep the joy in teaching and experience more joy in every aspect of your life!

Disclaimer: I'm an affiliate of Angela's 40 HTW Club which means I earn a commission each time someone purchases the course after clicking on my affiliate link. However, I would never spend this much time writing a blog post to recommend a course unless I was convinced it was absolutely amazing! I can assure you that if you're willing to do the work, your results will be amazing, even life-changing!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. your blog is good and nice. I have tried kidsmath games for my kids, which was very interesting. Kindly try and see for your kids. http://www.kidsmathplay.com/