George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

Balancing Work and Life: The On-Going Challenge for Educators

How to bring balance to your personal life while working as an educator.
August 12, 2011

Edutopia Community, this post is a desperate plea for help! My school year began on August 1 with no easy transition. It's been an exhausting, consuming two weeks of intense, rewarding work coaching leaders.

But I'm back into 11-hour work days, which I'd promised myself I wouldn't do again.

I have to find more balance this year. Especially since I'm also writing a book on instructional coaching (to be published by Jossey-Bass in spring 2013) which is very exciting, but: How am I going to do this? I also have a family and commitments beyond work. Can you hear the panic rising in my voice? I know you have ideas and I'm begging for your input.

I've always struggled with balancing work and life. For many years, I neglected my physical health, then, I neglected my husband. It's gotta stop.

So I can spend more quality time with my family, take care of my physical, mental, and spiritual health, and achieve a beautiful balance, here are a few things I'm intending to do this year:

#1 I'm using Google calendar to manage my time and I'm scheduling everything. I use different colors to indicate different areas of my life ("Work," "Writing," "Exercise," "Family," etc). If I put something into my calendar, I'm way more likely to do it. It's on my calendar; I have to do it. I can also take a quick glance and see how the colors balance out -- does the color orange (which represents work) dominate? Is there any purple (family) this week? It's a quick reminder that if I'm committed to balance, I need to block out time.

#2 I'm budgeting money for a housecleaner. I'll have less money for other luxuries, but I've decided that I want to spend less of my weekend cleaning and more with family. It's a relief just to imagine this.

#3 I'm signing up for yoga classes. If I pay in advance, I'll go to the classes. And yoga is really good for me, good for balance.

#4 I'm also going to say no more often. I really am. Although I love my work, I need to turn down some opportunities and draw some boundaries. This will be hard.

But that's all I have on my list. I want a longer list. I need more ideas. How do you balance work and life? What strategies do you use to manage time?

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