Transcript - AI Generated
The Problem with Being Busy
[0:18] If I asked you right now, how was your week, would your answer be, oh, I've been busy.
So often I come and I ask someone how's your week been and they're like oh busy.
And that's the answer that we get. Now firstly that's generally an indication that you're probably not in a deep relationship with that person but the other thing that it's indicating to me is that you might be someone who actually takes a bit of pride in being busy.
Someone who actually sees being busy as kind of a mark of success.
I'm someone who contributes to society because I'm busy.
Okay, I'm busy doing stuff.
And I feel like generally across our culture, being busy has become something that we are proud of being and that we see as this thing that we should be.
And I'm gonna argue today that if you're at that point, we need to change your thoughts because being busy is nothing to be proud of.
Busyness is Not a Mark of Success
[1:22] Now, welcome to the Effective Teaching Podcast, right? If you don't know, I'm Dan, right?
I'm talking about how to improve your effectiveness as a teacher, that includes how you teach in the classroom and it includes what you're doing generally with your life to improve, you know, making sure you're prioritising the things that are most important.
And today I'm talking about busyness. Busyness is definitely not something to be proud of, right? If you walk around, you know, I'm the busiest person, I'm the busiest person, right?
This is the problem with our society right now. Our society thinks that being busy is a good thing, right?
That I'm in some kind of competition.
If I can show, you know, someone says, oh, I've been busy. Oh, you think you've been busy?
Have you, I talk to so many teachers, like my whole family are teachers, right? And whenever I ask them, they're always like, oh, busy.
Like, we're busy, we're busy.
[2:15] Yeah but busy doing what? Like what are you busy doing?
And they will list things, you know, oh, you know, I'm an English teacher so I must be more busy than the other teachers, or I'm a history teacher, I've got to plan all this other stuff, or, you know, I'm a PE teacher, I've got to organise buses and all that, like whatever it is, okay.
We start to list out all these things that we're doing that are keeping us busy, oh this person's, I've got to, this class is going through this process, I've got to plan all those lessons, and I'm also marking, you know, 200 assignments for year 7 at the moment and I'm entering all their marks and I'm writing all their feedback and we start to list this stuff.
We do it as a society, this isn't just a teacher problem, right?
As a whole society we've decided that being busy is this mark of success, but actually it is not a mark of success because busyness is actually not good.
Busyness vs. Effectiveness
[3:10] It's not good. It's not good for your life. It's not good for your health.
It's not good for your effectiveness.
OK, busyness, I actually think, is like the main enemy of effectiveness. OK, if you are busy.
[3:26] But you're not effective right we get them confused we think that because we're busy we're being effective because we're being productive we're being effective and it is not the same right you can be busy in lots of things right i see people who are busy scrolling social media busy watching netflix busy searching through the internet trying to find something that they are interested in others are busy going to meetings or busy criticising other people and what they do or busy bagging out their students.
[3:56] I've seen so much busyness that is not anywhere near effectiveness.
You can be busy checking your emails, that is not an effective use of your time necessarily.
And so we are being busy but we're not being effective and we need to start to shift things around.
When someone asks me, how's your week been? I want to reply, it's been really effective.
I have had time with my wife, I have done some learning with my students, I have gone and had a bushwalk and relaxed and enjoyed myself, I have taught my lessons well, I've given the feedback that I needed to give.
It was an amazing, effective week and I loved it.
That's what I want to hear from people when I ask them, how's your week been?
I don't want to hear busy, okay? busy is the opposite of what we're after in life.
So I want you to check in on yourself and see just how how effective how busy what are you busy doing right so I want you to take maybe reflect on the last couple of days or maybe think about your last week or decide you're gonna keep track of yourself for a week what are you actually spending your time doing?
[5:17] Because this is key. When we're saying that we're busy, maybe we need to check, how busy are we?
Okay, there are 168 hours in a week.
[5:27] And you're at school, you're at nine to three in type hours, right?
I know that's not the time that you're at school, but nine to three hours that you're in class or you're whatever, right?
That you definitely can't get out of, right? That's 36 hours out of 168.
Okay, it's not even a third of those hours.
So what are we doing with the rest of those hours?
What makes you think that you are so busy? What are the activities you're actually doing?
And I can tell you straight away, if you know that you scroll social media, if you know that you binge stuff on Netflix every night, right, if you go home and sit down on the couch and turn on the TV, then you're not busy, okay? you might be drained but that's different to being busy.
You're drained because your class has been hard, you have difficult students, you've had a fight with someone or maybe you try and navigate.
The fact that you were passionate about being a teacher but then once you've moved into teaching you found that you're doing a whole bunch of things that don't actually line up with that passion.
You're doing a bunch of stuff that you don't want to be doing but you do want to be doing the teaching, you do want to be in the classroom, you want to be doing all that magical stuff but you don't want to be doing that admin stuff and entering data and analysing things and you know sending out a thousand emails, organising excursions, right?
You want to come up with the idea of the excursion and give that off and then go on the excursion with the students, right? That's the kind of stuff you want to do.
[6:50] So I want you to check yourself. Check yourself. What are you busy doing?
And I will, you know, you should be doing at least 36 hours, probably a bit more.
That's because it should be seven to eight hours a week, right, of sleep.
Okay, so you should be able to allocate, you know, 40 or so hours to sleep.
But then you've got pretty much a whole other day, right, where you can be doing other things that make you feel more effective, that give you downtime, all that kind of stuff. So check yourself in terms of your busyness.
Okay the other thing is I'd think about what I am busy doing and should I stop doing some of those things because they're actually not effective.
Maybe instead of getting home sitting down and bingeing some stuff on Netflix maybe I'm actually going to come home and I'm going to walk my dog.
Right, that's effective use, it's good for your health, it's good for your dog, it'll help reset your brain, you'll actually come back from your walk less exhausted than you when you came back from work.
Even though you've gone and done some exercise. Or you can just go to the gym, do a workout before you come home.
Right, set up that kind of a process, set up a good habit there that's good for your health. Again, refreshes your body, refreshes your brain before you come home.
And then you can be more focused. You can then hang out with your kid, play a board game with your kids, rather than sitting there scrolling social media on your phone on the couch or something like that.
Or maybe you're gonna decide, all right, we're gonna cook dinner together.
Me and my daughter and I might cook dinner together.
[8:11] So think of things that are effective uses of your time rather than busy uses of your time and that's really important.
It's so important for us to distinguish between busyness and effectiveness okay because so much of what we do is not effective right.
We spend so many hours checking emails, looking for resources, prettying up our classroom, prettying up the resources as well okay.
Maybe you want to sell them or just pay teachers or something I don't know.
[8:39] Effective use is really, as a teacher, the things that are effective are your lesson planning, your lesson learning designs, your relationships with your students and probably with your colleagues a bit as well, your quality of feedback that you're giving, not the amount of feedback. Okay, this is the thing.
Effectiveness and quality really go together. If you're gonna give effective feedback, it should be a small amount of feedback that helps the students improve their learning, not a lot of feedback that the kids ignore, right? You want to focus on the things that matter?
Okay, and we chuck out things like, you know, the thousands of meetings, right?
I still have this vivid memory of chatting to a teacher who was like who had a meeting. It was scheduled to go for two hours or something. The whole meeting was done like the agenda for the meeting was done in 20 minutes and half an hour And they were forced to stay there for another hour.
Ineffective Meetings and Time Wasting
[9:28] Because the time had been allocated and the person running it just was like does anyone have any questions?
And start chatting about other stuff, and you're like, dude, this is not effectiveness.
That is a waste of time. That's busy with all these meetings.
Well, you're probably wasting a lot of your time in those meetings, okay? And that's certainly if you're a deputy or a principal, and you're the one organising all these meetings, please find a way to do what you do in a meeting in a way that is effective for your teachers, okay?
Give them some time back. Give them effectiveness back.
It's like the biggest trainer for teachers, I think, is, you know, all the meetings.
I've got staff meetings, I've got faculty meetings, I've got parent-teacher meetings, I've got discipline meetings, I've got meetings over here for an IEP, and some of those are fine, some of those are really important and effective, but others can be just as easily done by someone commenting on a template or a scaffold that then goes back to the person who actually organises and implements things, or teachers reading announcements. Why do we have a meeting for announcements?
Importance of Prioritising Effective Tasks
[10:28] It's just silly, send an email. So much. Anyway,
[10:33] We need to focus on doing the things that are important and effective.
So what is important should not be the subject, right?
So I made less to things that are less important.
I should not take something that is not important for teaching like a thousand meetings, okay?
Or not important for teaching like decorating my classroom with a million things that are going to distract my kids from their actual learning, right?
[10:59] We want to make sure that the things are important. The programming they're getting creating our lessons running our lessons, you know developing those relations with our students that help us to Actually teach them and to teach them well, right all that kind of stuff that should not be subject to things that are less important I shouldn't spend my time checking emails Right or scroll through social media or something when I could be doing something more effective with that time.
And so This busyness, right?
I want to really encourage you take that busyness tag that you've got on yourself that you're proud of, take it and chuck it out and get an effectiveness tag and stick it in its place because we are on a mission or I am on a mission and I want you to join me to be an effective teacher and not a busy teacher.
From Busy to Effective: A Shift in Teaching Approach
[11:45] A teacher that when people look at you like how do you get all this stuff done?
Well actually you're getting it done because you're not doing all the other stuff. other stuff.
You're not doing the busy things, you're doing the effective things and that actually people see that when they're on the outside they suddenly go how do you manage to get you know all these great quality things done and this done and that done it's because you're effective.
[12:08] They spend half their time whatever scrolling social media, bingeing Netflix or they're you know hanging out at lunchtime like they got a period off and they spend the whole time chatting about whatever type of coffee that the other teachers like to eat, drink and then there's times for those conversations if you want but...
[12:25] You know, you could use your time to be effective and then suddenly you're like, well, you're like a leading person at the school because you are the one who keeps creating, you know, quality program after quality program.
You're coming up with fantastic lessons all the time for your students.
You give great feedback. Your students are learning. They're engaged in your lessons because you've come up with great lessons because you've actually focused on doing that rather than focusing on, oh, I've got to reply to this email, right?
You there's there's so much more so much more to life and being busy we need to be effective it's going to free you up to do so much more to become even more effective because you're going to cut out all this busyness and focus on the things that are actually effective and impactful and leading you towards the things that matter most in your life okay this is what we need a shift away from busy, become effective, that's the goal.
Anyway, I hope that's helped you.
I want to hear from you. I do want to chat. I'd love to chat to you about busyness and effectiveness and how I can help you further.
But for now, that's it for me. I will chat to you again soon.
There'll be another episode out in a couple of days.