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A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way

This week, I officially entered summer vacation … sort of.  With the kidlets still in school, I realized this was the perfect opportunity.  After all, a little planning goes a long way.

No none wants to spend all of their vacation working on studio projects.  But, no one wants to be flooded with work when they get back from vacation.  So, what to do?

Outline your year

Several weeks ago, I wrote about a fabulous planning session with some of my fellow teachers here in the city.  As we talked what worked well this past year, I shared that having an outline of my year had really focused my planning & saved me time throughout the year.  (Nicola shared her template over at Colourful Keys.)

When it was time for me to start planning out this upcoming year, I pulled up my spreadsheet template & began filling in:

  • Teaching weeks
  • Group lesson weeks & the theme for each
  • Vacation time
  • Warm-up themes
  • Student challenges
  • Lab themes
  • Special notes as needed

While I still need to find or create the resources for each section, I now know that I can be focused in my resource shopping & planning.

Making an outline of what you will cover over the course of the year will:

  • Ensure you focus on your studio mission
  • Let you see the progression of skills & challenges throughout the year
  • Avoid spending money on resources you just won’t use
  • Save time during the year since a quick check of your outline keeps you & your students moving forward

A short amount of planning now will save you weeks of time during the upcoming school year.

Batching your work

In the past few years I’ve realized how much more efficient I am when I batch the tasks I need to complete.  It has helped me create more free time for other things, like piano practice, spending time with my family, or just curling up with a great book.

I have a confession though.  A few months ago, I was once again scrambling to get my studio’s monthly newsletter out to my clients.  It’s been a year of unexpected calls & appointments which meant I was bit behind on my administrative tasks.  So, I wrote madly & double-checked everything before hitting the send button.

As I left my office to go say goodnight to my kidlets, I realized that I needed something to change.  This way of doing the newsletters just wasn’t working.

And, then I realized I could have batched my studio newsletters ahead of time so I wasn’t scrambling last minute!  Wow.  Did I ever feel silly for taking so long to figure that one out.

Writing a newsletter (even one that goes out every month) can be easy & quick once you start entering in the information from your planning outline.  You can include information on:

  • Monthly themes
  • Student challenges
  • Important dates: first lesson, group lessons, vacation, studio events
  • Links to registering for studio events

Once I had my planning outline done, it was easy to batch the monthly newsletters for the upcoming year.

And, all it took was TWO days.  Two days of writing & scheduling to have 11 months of newsletters complete.  All the time & energy I had put into the newsletters this last year … I can spend it on something else!

Looking at what tasks can be batched together saves you time in the long run.

Focusing on one thing at a time frees up your memory so you can do the things you enjoy!

A little planning goes a long way

I’ll admit that I love my job & figuring out ways to inspire my students.  Doing some work over the summer won’t be a hardship at all.

But, I am also looking forward to lazy mornings, eating dinner out on the deck, gardening, reading way too many novels, & visiting family.

Sometimes finding balance is about YOU choosing when something gets done, rather than letting CIRCUMSTANCES decide for you.

I had forgotten that in the last few months … at least with the administrative tasks in my studio.  (Though I’m sure that has nothing to do with them usually being my least favourite.  Wink.  Wink.)

This insight has led to every one of my summer projects having a specific reason for being completed.  And, each project is scheduled for a specific week that my kids are out of the house.

That’s right!  I’ll be having my cake & eating it too.  Or, if one of my kids would be writing this … “I’ll be having my pie & eating it too!”

What will be your balance this summer?

Let us know in the comments below …

What are your plans this summer?

And, just as importantly, how will you create balance so it’s not all work & no play?

Have a great weekend!

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