Yeah, I've been there too! This fall I decided enough is enough. I've made some changes to reclaim my life. I thought I'd share a few things that have helped me; of course what works for me may be unthinkable for you:)
Choose wisely how I spend my planning period. Taking out the time to drop off and pick up students from special area classes means I have about 40 minutes each day. By contract teachers do not have to attend any meetings during that time. I am choosing to attend them sparingly! That includes things like PLC meetings (which we have for an hour each week during contracted time; I have told the leader that I will only come to PLC meetings during that hour). I am working to always have a plan for my planning time so that I stay focused and productive. I want to stop doing lesson plans on my weekends!
I joined the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club that began in October. This is the brainchild of Angela Watson at The Cornerstone. I am absolutely loving it, and it is changing my life. Each month focuses on a new topic, and every Saturday I get a new piece of the plan with great resources and encouragement for putting it into practice. To learn more about it, click here. If you are interested, the next enrollment period begins in January. A huge part of October has been learning to develop a good checklist of things to do each day. I am finding that it helps me focus on what is important and I am usually completing my list each day. In fact, when we had our teacher workday at the end of the first quarter I went to work with my to do list and had everything done in 6.5 hours. Then I left for my one hour lunch and went home -- an hour earlier than usual. This is probably the first time that I have not put in 8 - 10 hours on a workday.
I'm applying some of the same time management things at home too. This is helping me feel like important tasks in my personal life are getting attention. And, I try not to beat myself up about the things that don't get done as quickly as I thought they would. I give myself permission to move an item to another day of the week if I need to. I am totally a work in progress, but it gives me hope!
How do you deal with the never-ending pile of work?