Creating a healthy schedule for teaching & administrative tasks, plus a routine filled with good habits are the foundations for running your studio. After all if you don’t take care of yourself, who will take care of your business?
Oftentimes, we can focus just on the personal side of things. Drinking enough water? Check. Eating healthy foods? Check. Keeping the home somewhat clean? Check. Except my sons who absentmindedly leave Kleenex lying around on all the surfaces when they have colds. Sigh. Please tell me I’m not the only parent dealing with this.
If you didn’t read part 1 of this article, read it here. Part 1 lists the top ways I keep my immune system healthy & ready to fight of the hordes of viruses that come with back-to-school season. Perhaps not hordes, but they are definitely trying to sneak around the defences in a ‘sidle’ or ‘backal’ attack. (For those of you who are Terry Pratchett fans this may sound familiar from Carpe Jugulum.)
Create a healthy schedule & routine
It’s the everyday business decisions we make that determine whether we burn-out or thrive in our teaching & running our studios.
Reduce your work hours to a manageable level
The truth is that there is no magic number of hours that is manageable. This number is different for each person. And, it changes through different stages of our lives.
- Perhaps you are paying off student loans & this is a time where you are working more hours than you would like to keep on top of those payments. It can be overwhelming, but you (hopefully) can see an end in sight.
- Perhaps you have young kids or are taking care of elderly parents & have a lot going on in your personal life. Maybe this is a time when a smaller studio size or group lesson teaching fits you better.
- Perhaps you are single, no kids, or the kids are grown. This is a time for you & what you would like to accomplish in your teaching & studio!
Angela Watson over at The Cornerstone For Teachers, talks about how teachers can reduce the time they spend working each week. Instead of taking on EVERYTHING, streamline the tasks you don’t like, then focus on the activities that bring your pleasure or bring you closer to a goal. While the podcast is directed towards classroom teachers, I believe that there are quite a few take-aways for private music teachers & studio owners as well.
Setting a healthy schedule & routine doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but it does take planning.
Plan based on YOUR best healthy schedule & routine
Ever since high school, I have noticed that I have an energy lull somewhere between 1 – 3 pm that lasts about an hour. I distinctly remember bringing in my juice box & granola bar into creative writing class so that I could actually focus on writing. These days, I do my best to take a break or focus on activities that allow me to rejuvenate rather than learn anything new.
Some weeks, you may need to take more of a relaxed approach (Anyone else love afternoon naps?) whereas other weeks you are ready to take on spring cleaning & re-organizing the entire house! Whatever the ebb & flow of your energy levels, determine an overall schedule that changes to meet those needs.
Add lesson activities that bring you keep you energized
What if you added some movement exercises into your lesson routine to get both you AND your students off the bench? I’m not talking jumping jacks or burpees. (I’m still getting used to the idea that burpees are a physical exercise term, not something my twin boys would laughingly do after drink a carbonated beverage.) Even something as simple as swaying to a steady beat works. Or, what if you took a couple minutes during lesson to experiment with a new idea your read online? Instead of taking a big leap into the whole idea, take part of it & see how it turns out?
You do NOT need to teach the same songs or method books year after year or use the same activities month after month. Even students that thrive on a routine can be energized with very small changes by changing out the activity resource used every few months. For example, maybe instead of colour blocks for pattern work it becomes image cards or stuffed animals.
When we are excited, our students are excited!
Change things up to keep EVERYONE engaged & interested in the musical journey.
Make time for a personal life
All work & no play is sure to burn out anyone! While there are times when you have to take on more students than you may want or work more hours/days than you would prefer, take small snippets of time for the things that rejuvenate you. That’s a big part of a healthy schedule & routine.
Maybe it is setting aside an extra 30 – 60 minutes a week to focus on something completely outside of work. Maybe it is setting aside 15 minutes before bed to unwind doing something you love.
Taking time for yourself will feel deliciously decadent & go a long way to keeping you upbeat, energized & passionate about teaching!
Setting a Healthy Schedule & Routine
Staying healthy is so much more than any one activity, supplement, or routine. And, it looks different for each person.
If you missed Part 1, click the button below.
What are your favourite ways of staying healthy during the teaching year?
Share below in the comments so we can all set ourselves up for a healthy academic year!
[NOTE: This is a rewrite of an article from September 22, 2017. It has all the great ideas from before, plus more!]