We all have the same amount of time in a day, but sometimes it seems like the way we use it varies a great deal. Being productive and using your time as best you can, can take some teacher-related stress off your shoulders once the semester is in full swing.
Time batching is a concept that might be of use to you, in order to use your work hours in a more efficient way.
The Concept of Time Batching – And Why You Should Try It Out
At its core, the concept of time batching is simple and goes well together with other planning methods such as calendar blocking just to name one.
As teachers, we know that switching tasks too many times during class can be a disaster for our students. Sometimes the interruption can be notifications on a smartphone. Other times it could be from another person being present in the classroom.
Time batching simply means that you try to put similar tasks together when you plan your day.
How Time Batching Can Help You Save Time
By putting similar tasks together, your brain doesn’t need to shift its focus too much. This saves your (mental) energy, and if you struggle with your own focus, this could help you out as well.
For example, when you plan out your day, how do you usually go about it? Do you keep adding things to a neverending to-do list? Block time in your calendar? Having an overview of some sort can make it easier to put similar tasks together.
An example could be trying to block out some time in your day where you write things. This could be writing e-mails, lesson plans, and so on. Another example could be printing things you need to copy, then making all your copies for the week in one go – this is something I’ve actually used quite a few times.
By stacking similar tasks together, it’s easier for you to keep the kind of mindset you need for the type of tasks you’ve planned on doing.
Examples of Time Batching When Planning Lessons or Themes
When you plan a lesson or a larger theme or lesson series, one thing you can do is start off by looking at the different steps involved. Sometimes these are easier to spot by first using a to-do list, and then grouping the tasks from there.
From personal experience the steps I usually have when planning lessons or themes are the following:
During the first step, I do my research as well as take inventory of the material I have at hand. From here I also gather information of what things I’m missing and think of the way to check my students’ understanding.
The second step involves writing. Usually a more loose draft for the coming weeks, where I try to organize the different parts in order. After that, I try to write out a lesson plan for each lesson. I also create templates, write instructions, and so on during this step.
After making the drafts I think are necessary, I proofread my templates, assignments, and so on. I try to see if the instructions are clear enough and make improvements where it seems necessary. If I have time I try to follow the advice I give to students: let the draft rest a few days before revising it to look at it with fresh eyes.
The last part is printing and making copies for each group of students. By organizing what I need for each group, it saves me time since I only need to make one round to the large copy room at the school.
Bonus tip: if you have your originals in a plastic pocket, keep a small note with the name of your groups and the number of students for each group taped to the front of the pocket. This can be very useful when your mind goes blank as to how many students are in each group.
If your school uses an LMS, this is also the time to put all your resources there and link them accordingly for your students to use at the correct time.
Time batching, if used correctly, can take some of the day-to-day stress away. If you can, my tip is to plan out your week a bit ahead and then plan your next day at the end of each workday.
For managing the things you need to get done each day, a tool like a regular notebook or a bullet journal can help you. You can also use the calendar of your choice, be it Outlook or a Google calendar – the approach is the same.
Have you tried time batching your work as a teacher?