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Episode 143 - Busyness is nothing to be proud of

Season #6

I challenge the idea that being busy equals success. Instead, I emphasise the importance of effectiveness in teaching and life. It's time to shift our focus from busyness to making a meaningful impact. By prioritising tasks, eliminating unproductive habits, and finding a balance, we can become more effective teachers. Being busy doesn't always lead to productivity, but being effective allows us to make a significant impact on our students' lives. 


0:00:00 Introduction to the Effective Teaching Podcast

0:00:18 The Problem with Being Busy

0:01:22 Busyness is Not a Mark of Success

0:03:10 Busyness vs. Effectiveness

0:09:28 Ineffective Meetings and Time Wasting

0:10:28 Importance of Prioritising Effective Tasks

0:11:45 From Busy to Effective: A Shift in Teaching Approach

Long Summary

In this episode of the Effective Teaching Podcast, we delve into a common misconception that being busy is a sign of success. As teachers, we are often caught up in the busyness of our profession and may even take pride in it, believing that it signifies our contribution to society. However, I believe it's time to reevaluate this mindset because busyness is not something to be proud of.

Instead, I emphasise the importance of improving our effectiveness both in the classroom and in life. Our society has come to associate busyness with productivity and accomplishment, but in reality, it can be detrimental to our well-being and effectiveness. Merely being busy does not guarantee that we are being productive or making a meaningful impact.

We need to shift our focus from being busy to being effective. When someone asks us how our week has been, we should aim to respond with "it's been really effective" rather than "busy." It's a mindset shift that requires us to reflect on how we are spending our time and question our level of busyness.

With only 168 hours in a week, we need to be intentional about how we allocate our time. While a fraction of that time is spent in school, we must consider what we are doing with the rest of those hours. Are we engaging in unproductive activities like mindlessly scrolling through social media or binge-watching Netflix? If so, we are not truly busy but rather drained.

Distinguishing between busyness and effectiveness is crucial. We must prioritise activities that truly align with our goals and priorities, such as teaching and being present in the classroom with our students. This means evaluating how we spend our time outside of school as well.

I strongly encourage listeners to prioritise sleep and allocate around 36 hours for it each week. This ensures we have enough energy and focus for activities that are more effective. Rather than wasting time on unproductive habits, we can engage in activities that benefit our health, such as walking our dog or exercising. It's about making intentional choices and finding a balance between productivity and downtime.

In our profession, being effective means prioritising tasks like lesson planning, designing, and building relationships with our students and colleagues. Quality feedback is more impactful than a large volume of feedback, so we should focus on providing meaningful and targeted feedback. Additionally, we should aim to make meetings more effective for teachers by eliminating unnecessary ones and finding ways to make them more productive.

It's essential to eliminate less important tasks that may be consuming our time, such as excessive decorating, checking emails incessantly, or mindlessly scrolling through social media. By letting go of these unnecessary activities, we can devote our time to what truly matters: creating quality programs, designing fantastic lessons, and building meaningful relationships with our students.

Embracing being an effective teacher rather than a busy one leads to greater student engagement and results. It's about redirecting our focus towards effectiveness and what truly matters in our lives. Being busy does not always lead to productivity, but being effective allows us to accomplish more and make a significant impact on our students' lives.

I hope this message resonates with you and sparks reflection on your own busyness and effectiveness. Join us for the next episode in a couple of days as we continue to explore important topics in effective teaching.


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