Are You Really Running Out of Time?

It’s a new calendar year, and many resolutions have been made. According to an article on the top 10 resolutions for 2019 are:

Exercise more

Lose weight

Get organized

Learn a new skill or hobby

Live life to the fullest

Save more money / spend less money

Quit smoking

Spend more time with family and friends

Travel more

Read more

As I ponder this list it seems that we want more of the things that build us up and less of the things that drag us down. In the #teachermyth twitter chat on January 8, moderator Aaron Hogan put forth a challenge to look at how we use our time and how to “find” time in our day for the things that matter to us and eliminate those things that do not serve us well.

I made the decision, at that moment, to delete the FaceBook app from my phone. I had already been pondering (for about a year and a half) cutting off the cable TV, so I made the phone call the next day to make that happen. You see, when I feel overwhelmed and overloaded, I simply want an escape. That’s when I start mindlessly scrolling through FB on my phone, just to kill time. Before I am aware of it, whatever time I had is gone and I’m frantic to get to the next place. It may have been 2 minutes or 30 minutes, but it’s time that is gone and will not be returned to me. On non-school days, I love to wake up and leisurely enjoy my coffee. That’s a great way to start the day…until it turns into sitting in the recliner, scrolling through social media and watching the news/morning show until the noon news comes on! Wow! I was awake at 6am, where did the time go???  That is what social media and cable TV can do to me. 

I don’t know how many other people have this issue, but it’s real for me. It gets in the way of the things I really want to do. The household projects I want to accomplish, the time I want to spend with my family (I have 2 teenagers, time is SHORT), reading articles that can really open my eyes and push my teaching practice, writing to elected officials about education issues, sewing patches on my son’s scout uniform, organizing my folk song collection, researching setting up centers in the music classroom, supporting national board candidates, writing my blog for Stories from School! All of the things that I never “have enough time” to accomplish. There is a lot of time that I have spent doing “nothing.” 

Now here I sit, 2 weeks after the challenge was presented. There is no FaceBook app on my phone and no cable TV in my home. I have read two books, just for fun, watched 3 documentaries with my daughter (GREAT conversations), finished my blog before it’s due, prepared learning centers for 4th and 5th-grade music classes and read the newspaper each day. Monumental changes? No, but they have made a big difference in my mental state. I’m calmer, more focused, and I’m not late!

What are some things that you can do to “find time” in your day? It doesn’t have to be a huge change. One of my running friends reminds me frequently: Small changes over time create a big difference. I put out a call (yes, on FaceBook), for teachers to share ways they have “made” time in their day. Here are some of the responses:

clear rubrics for grading projects and writing

Using Google forms for self-grading quizzes 

Using a “grading station” to discuss grades and give feedback to students (this teacher is in high school)

only checking/responding to school emails at school

Can you help me expand this list? Some areas to consider:

planning time

beginning of day

end of day

social media


What works for you? What are you considering? I’d love to hear your suggestions for carving out or finding more time in your day!

Other blogs on resolutions and finding time:

Rachel Perugini suggests a 30-day challenge.   

Aaron Hogan: Deleting Distractions


Susan Collins

I began my teaching career in 1991 in rural Mississippi. I served in 4 different communities in central and north Mississippi as a music educator, mostly elementary general music with one year as a middle school band director. I stepped out of working full time in the classroom for 9 years when my children were very young but never left teaching. I set up an early childhood music studio and taught music for children ages birth to age 5 (with an adult caregiver). I moved to in northwest rural Arizona in 2016 where I teach k-5 general music.

I achieved National Board Certification in the fall of 2016 and began my relationship with the Arizona K12 Center for Professional Development. I have served as a 2017-18 Arizona Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and a Candidate Support Provider for National Board Candidates. I am passionate about advocating for the needs of rural schools and ensuring that every student receives an excellent education provided by passionate and qualified educators.

When I am not teaching, advocating, or writing about education issues, I am outdoors with my teenage children. I love hiking, reading, and going to musical performances. I can usually be found off the grid pondering my next writing piece!

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