The weekend is a usually a time to stop, relax and unwind. However you can also utilise those two precious days to successfully set yourself up for the following week. Spending a little time on Saturday and Sunday can make the rest of the week flow more smoothly, ensuring that you feel less stressed and on top of your teaching week.
Here are 5 simple ways I get ready for the week ahead.
I love cooking, but I hate thinking about what to make for dinner each night. The way I avoid this feeling is to plan ahead for my evening meals. By quickly noting down the days of the week and scribbling a meal idea next to each day, I have suddenly saved myself so much time thinking about what to cook! I then make a shopping list to match the meals and voila! - my dinners are sorted.
Using other time-saving ideas such as freezing meals or cooking up a batch of meals ahead of time can also pay huge dividends. I sometimes use a slow-cooker that can be set in the morning before I go to school. Knowing that my family's dinner is cooking while I am working is the best feeling, especially if I have a meeting after school.
During the week it is very easy to get caught up with the busyness of school, and the days can run together. Allowing myself weekend time to reflect on and review the past week can give me insights that I may otherwise have missed.
I use a simple table planner with aspects of my work listed down one side and two columns headed 'What Happened This Week?' and 'Where to Next Week?'. I try to complete this table on Friday evening or Saturday morning. It allows me to stop and think about what has been happening in particular areas of my work and what the next steps are for me. I make very brief notes or bullet points next to each aspect.
Getting all of these thoughts out of my head and onto paper feels great, and having a quick read on Sunday night means I am set and ready to go for Monday. It also stops the dreaded 'Monday Morning Blues' because I feel planned and prepared.
When I know that the week ahead is going to be extra busy, I plan even more at the weekend! Getting sorted during the weekend means that I can make less decisions during the week and this helps me to stay calm and feel organised.
Strange as it may seem, the busiest weeks are the weeks I need to spend more time on me, even though it can feel as though there isn't a minute to spare. Making sure I get enough sleep is number one. After a long week it is easy to just zone out in front of the TV or computer on Friday night, however I know it is more important that I get to bed. Often during these busy times my mind is full of what needs to be done, so I have a bath or do some yoga stretching before I go to bed. If my mind is still racing, I make a list of things I don't want to forget. Then I put this list in my school bag ready for Monday and I can relax knowing that I won't forget anything important. Consciously making the effort to switch off from school means that I will sleep better.
I take time during the weekend to relax by going for a walk, having coffee with a friend, seeing a movie and spending time with my family or doing absolutely nothing at all. When I have school work to do I try to get it completed on Saturday so that I can keep Sunday completely free. Prioritising this time for myself is paramount to ensure that I am at my best for the following week.
I know that I choose my own thoughts and my thoughts create my emotions. If I spend the weekend thinking and talking about how busy I am, moaning about how little time there is, how much paperwork I have to do and how stressed this is making me, then surprise! surprise! I have now made myself feel even more stressed!
However if I make a conscious decision to think and talk about how being organised helps me, and how proactive I am for the actions I am taking and how I know this busy time is only for a short period, then I feel calmer and more able to cope with the extra demands. It is important for me to be very aware of my thoughts and my language. This doesn't mean that I never have a worrying or anxious thought, but I have taught myself to recognise the patterns and consciously make a change.
What do you do to make sure that you have time to relax at the weekend, but also be prepared for the following week?