3 Teacher Relevant Tips from ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ to Streamline Your Work Day and Save Time

Imagine doing a 38 hour work week in 4 hours. It sounds unbelievable, but that’s what Timothy Ferris’The 4-Hour Work Week is all about. This worldwide phenomenon of a book fully details the steps and behaviors a person should undertake to make this massive transition. While it’s an inspiring book for people who want to transform their lives with passive income and globetrotting, there’s some lessons that are just as relevant to those of us who simply want to stick with our 38 hour week and just get more efficient.

We compiled the top tips relevant to busy teachers—and for a head start on your efficiency, you can implement them all in 2 mins or less.

Redefine the meaning of the word ‘urgent’

Not many things are truly urgent, and the number one source of false urgency in our lives is email. Emails feel constant and relentless. The reality is though that we don’t need to reply immediately, even though we feel like we do.

Is this email a life or death situation and will cause someone to die or become critically injured if you don’t reply? If the situation was that dire, they’d call.

If you were teaching at the time, would you be required to reply to the email?

Will the world end if this email is left for 2-3 hours unread?

This seems really obvious but for some reason we all feel obligated to be constantly checking our emails. This interrupts our workflow and productivity during non-classroom periods.

Solution? Limit email responses to twice per day.

Make a time to check emails each day and don’t check them outside this time. Reframe your mindset when it comes to emails. Ferris suggests 12pm or 4pm as designated email reading and replying time so that you don’t start your day reading them and then get lost in the email “black hole”.

For me, I know I need to briefly check my email to see if I’ve been given extra classes. I know this gets emailed out around 8:05 so I check for this email at 8:10 and then completely switch off emails until around 12. What would your times be?

So far so good; try getting it down to once a day after a few weeks.

Make yourself less available; problems seem to work themselves out

Constant interruptions from colleagues, parents, students and emails make it impossible to really knuckle down and get anything done. A teacher’s non-classroom time is precious, and the limited free time we do have seems to be taken up responding to and helping others.

But really, people come to ask us for help or answers because we’re available.Often, it’s easier for them than finding out the answer themselves. If you’re less available, you’d be surprised how often they’ll figure it out. And if they don’t—you’ve made yourself some space to help them.

Use ‘see three before me’ with students

Employ the class rule of ‘see three before me’. If students are stuck or have a question, they have to speak to 3 classmates before coming to you with that question.

Adopting this rule saw the help requests in my class go from an average of 25 to 3. And, better yet, the students seemed to be more task focused and felt more responsible. You’ll be surprised how much extra time you seem to have in the classroom.

When you have spare periods at school, don’t sit at your desk

Grab your marking, your lesson plans or whatever else you need and go into hiding. Leave your phone behind if at all possible. Instant productivity. No interruptions. No ability to be contacted. No ability for you to feel tempted by your phone and distract yourself.

Win. Win. Win.

We’re less indispensable than we think. Take it as a backhanded compliment! Perform a disappearing act and get yourself some peace and quiet so you can actually get some work done.

The best part about this? You can implement any of these right now. Reduce your business-induced stress by choosing two of these suggestions and starting them today, right now.

Like, literally, now! Don’t start your emails after this.

Let us know how you go in the comments below, on our socials or in our community chat.

Ange Alcock

Ange is the Founder of Flohh. She is a teacher and head of English at Mac.Robertson Girls' High School. Ange is developing the Flohh suite of Educational Tools because she is passionate about reducing teacher workload so there is more time to focus on the needs of students, generally and individually.

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