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#067: Five Productivity Hacks for Music Teachers

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To do list with colored pencils, with the text, "5 productivity hacks for music teachers"

Are you looking for productivity hacks to make your life easier and more efficient as a busy music educator? In this podcast and blog post, I'm detailing five productivity tips to make your life as a busy music teacher easier!

Listen to the podcast in iTunes, on Google Play Music, on TuneIn, on Alexa, or here:

#1: Ask a device to add notes for you

Do you think of things on your commute you need to add to your to do list, but can't write them down? Ask Alexa to do it for you! Let's say you just remembered that you have to email your principal about something. If you have Alexa in your car, with your phone or Alexa Auto, you can say, “Alexa, add 'email principal to my notes.'” Then, it will show up in your notes, in your Alexa app! For Siri, you can say, “Hey Siri, take a note.” Then you'd say, “Email principal.”

Then, later, when you have time to sit down, you can open your notes and add that task to your to do list…or just go ahead and do it!

#2: Think carefully about what to say "yes" to

For years, I have felt like I needed to say yes to everything. The truth is, to be more productive and to have a better work/ life balance, you really shouldn't. I've heard these two pieces of advice over the years and find them helpful:

Say no to things that don't bring you joy (thank you, Marie Kondo!)

If it's not a heck yes, then it's a no.

When someone asks you to do something, don't say yes right away. Think on it. Reflect on both of these before you decide. Then, only say yes to those things that bring you joy AND are in alignment with your goals.

#3: Consider the best way to keep a to do list

There are lots of great tools out there for to do lists…you just have to decide the best one for you! Trello is a wonderful tool for keeping a To do list. Here is a tutorial:

Another great tool is Airtable. Here's another tutorial, for keeping to do lists in Airtable:

If you are a paper planner (or like to do a hybrid approach), check out Erin Condren planners and Happy Planners.

#4: Themed days

This year, I've been more intentional in using themed days for each day, so that I can do like things in one sitting and not get distracted. I use an ABCDE schedule in my district. Here is what I'm using to help me be more productive:

  • A day: Organization (Cleaning, sub tub, digital organization, etc.)
  • B day: Lesson planning
  • C day: Grading
  • D day: Materials for the upcoming lessons (this could be copying, getting materials ready, etc.)
  • E day: Catch up (this could be a continuation of D day, more grading, etc.)

This schedule has really helped me stay on track and be focused!

#5: Three big things every day

Sometimes our to do list gets so long…and if we don't get everything done on it, we feel guilty. Instead of thinking that we have to get everything done on our list, think in terms of “three big things.” What three big things do you want to get done today? Write those down, and if you get those three things done, then anything else is a bonus!

You can also think in terms of three big things for the week. I love this Happy Planner accessory to help me make goals for the week (it says it's for fitness, but can be used for anything!)

I hope this is helpful to you as you plan out your day and your week! Happy planning, and happy teaching!

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Hi, I'm Aileen

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