Staying on top of a busy schedule is essential for freelance or contracted work. Here are some ways to help you manage your time and commitments with low stress.
Maintain a daily routine.
While you may have a different number of teaching commitments each day, it is important to keep some activities the same. For instance, setting aside thirty minutes at the same time each morning to work out or keeping the same hour each day blocked out for lunch can provide structure to your work week.
Keep everything in one place.
Maintaining detailed records and notes is incredibly important when juggling multiple jobs and students. Dedicate one place, either physical or electronic, to keep your weekly schedule, notes about students, and other documents, such as payroll invoices. Using a physical agenda with plenty of space to write notes next to calendar days is one way to keep track of commitments and not miss losing a post-it note with vital information!
This may seem obvious but it is an important step when deciding when and how much to work. You should factor in things like driving time and distance, meals, and personal responsibilities when accepting new students, especially on already crowded days. Overworking yourself can lead to a burnout, so consider how feasibly a new student or job opportunity will fit into your schedule before saying yes.
Communicate Regularly and Often.
Replying to emails or phone calls can feel tedious or anxiety inducing, but putting off these tasks can lead to a mountain of extra work. A good rule of thumb for emails is to reply within 24 hours. Phone calls should be returned the same business day, if possible. Otherwise, leave a voicemail with your next day availability to help reduce instances of phone tag.
Separate Work from Home.
Upholding the boundary between work and home is very important for the self care of any freelancer, especially those who do most of their work at home. For teachers, the majority of our work happens during lessons but we should still keep regular hours when it comes to repertoire or lesson planning. Pick an hour each evening to be your cut off time. After that, any work can wait until the next day.