A huge component of taking care of yourself is simply making time for taking care of yourself. But between job responsibilities, family responsibilities, and other obligations we have in our lives it can often feel like there is no time left for taking care of our own physical and mental health. Fortunately, a few small tweaks to how we work can give us back some time for ourselves. Try a few of the following things to get back a little time for yourself.
Use Smart Replies
If you use Gmail or any G Suite-based email account, enable the Smart Replies function. Smart Replies will predict what you want to write in response to an email in your inbox. Using Smart Replies saves me a ten to twenty seconds per reply. Taking an average of fifteen seconds per email for twenty messages in a day and you’ve gained five minutes. Use those five minutes for this week’s Ed Tech Fitness challenge. Click here to learn how to enable Smart Replies in your inbox.
Create Email Filters
Not every email needs an immediate response. Not every email needs to be stored in your primary inbox where it clutters and distracts from the task at hand. Create email filters to organize and prioritize the messages landing in your inbox. This video and this video will show you show how to create filters in Gmail and other G Suite-based email accounts.
Give Quizzes in Google Forms or Microsoft Forms
If you have to give multiple choice or similar quizzes, use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms. Both will let you create a quiz that your students can take online and have grades automatically calculated for you. An overview of creating a quiz in Microsoft Forms can be watched here. A series of Google Forms tutorials can be seen in this playlist, but this is the video you need to watch to get started.
Use a Quiz Scanner App
If giving quizzes online isn’t practical in your classroom, use a quiz scanner app to quickly grade paper-based quizzes. Quick Key and Gradecam offer free apps for scanning quizzes to tally quickly tally results.
Block Yourself from Social Media Sites
Those times when we check Facebook for “just a minute” never last for just a minute and quickly suck time out of days without adding much if any value to them. Use a Chrome extension like ReCall Study Time or Stay Focusd (intentionally misspelled) to limit the amount of time that you allow yourself to spend on social media sites.
Schedule Your Social Media Posts
If you use social media to post updates for school or your class, you can save time by using a tool like Hootsuite to schedule a series of updates at once. Instead of going to all of the social media sites that you update individually, you can do it in bulk from your Hootsuite dashboard.
Schedule Blog Posts
Whether you have a personal blog or a professional blog, use the scheduling tool so that you can write when you have time but update on a consistent schedule. If you use WordPress, Blogger, or Edublogs watch this video to learn how to schedule blog posts.
Enable Reminders in Your Calendar or Task Manager
I find that if I use Google Calendar and or Google Keep to schedule reminders for myself I’m less like to end up scrambling at the end of the day to get something done in a rush that I could have done more efficiently earlier in the day. Here’s a short overview of how to create task lists in Outlook. This is a series of videos about using Google Keep.
Use Scheduling in Your LMS of Choice
Every popular LMS contains a scheduling tool that you can use to write up a list of assignments and have them distributed on a schedule over the course of a week or month.
Practice Saying No
This might be the hardest time-saver to implement, but you have to practice protecting your time and avoiding commitment creep. There’s simply not enough time in the day to say yes to every request to help with this or help with that. I’m not suggesting shirking your real responsibilities, but before adding another commitment to your list ask yourself if you really have the time to do it without compromising time for the things that are truly important to you.
What’s your tip?
Do you have a time-saving hack? If so, please share it in the comments.