5 Tips to Getting Organised and Improving Your Well-Being

‘I can’t find my folder’
‘Where are those worksheets’
‘I totally forgot about this meeting’
‘I just don’t have time to write my reports…’
Sound like you?
Being organised is not just something you should try and get on top of, it is actually a skill to master.
Being organised is totally underrated, and something teachers would benefit from being taught at university. The more organised you are, the better your wellbeing is. Wellbeing is actually linked to how you live your life, and part of that is being organised. You see, being unorganised can put you in a constant state of panic and stress, it can make you feel rushed and overwhelmed and you can often feel like you are behind in your work.
Why?
Because being unorganised means you can’t find things, you waste time looking for things and then don’t have time for other tasks, you don’t have systems to help store things like your assessment and worksheets and your desktop is messy.
How is this linked to wellbeing? Well, if you are constantly looking for things, feeling rushed or overwhelmed and in a state of chaos, so is your mind. Your mind reflects your environment and your behaviour.
Feeling stressed? Your mind takes this on. Feeling rushed? Your mind takes this on. Feeling unorganised?
Your mind takes this on. You can’t improve your wellbeing if you mind is messy, chaotic and unorganised. So if you are looking to improve your wellbeing, get organised.

5 Tips to Getting Organised and Improving Your Well-Being

1. Tidy up your desktop and ‘My Documents’ folder. If you open your laptop and look at chaos, you are telling your mind to get in chaos, and also wasting time looking for that document you can never find.

2. Implement a filing system for your worksheets; completed, to be used and to be finished. Take it one step further and order your ‘to be used’ worksheets in order of use. Sounds simple I know, but imagine how much time it will save if you know exactly where that worksheet is.

3. Keep all your assessment in one place and record your data as it happens. Sick of looking for your assessment, or adding in data in one big bulk at the end of the term? Well, record it and file it as soon as you can. That way you have the information you need in a timely manner and can respond it straight away, and you know where to find the data when you need it.

4. Set a regular time aside to tidy your classroom and desk. I know this may sound silly, but your classroom and desk can quickly resemble a kids playpen if you don’t stay on top of it. Tidy your desk each day before you leave so you are coming in each morning to a tidy, organised desk, and make sure to regularly clean your classroom.

5. Write down everything and keep a list.
In a busy day, which is every teaching day, we have so much to do, remember, and well, do. It is easy to get in the car at the end of the day only to realise you didn’t do that 1 essential thing and have to go back into your classroom and do the forgotten task. Avoid this at all costs by keeping a list of to do’s (I personally have one for school and one for home), carry it with you, write EVERYTHING on it, when you have time to get things done look at the list and do the next most essential thing, not the easiest, then cross I off and keep going.

These things will not only make your day easier but also ripple into improving your well-being. Why? Because you won’t feel as stressed, and chaotic, as overwhelmed or as unorganised, which means your mind will be calmer, more settled and you should feel happier, meaning your wellbeing has improved. Yay!

I didn’t open my laptop for 2 weeks. Here’s what I learnt…

Recently I went to NYC on a holiday. Now, this was lifetime dream, dream come true, once in a lifetime kind of thing. I’m not new to travelling. I have lived overseas, London specifically, spent weekends in Paris and weeks relaxing in Thailand and backpacking Egypt. What I have found though, as I get older, travelling is still easy, but switching off is not.

I have become accustomed to packing for all kinds of ‘what if I feel like doing work’ moods I may encounter while on holiday, which is by far very different from my minimal, throw it in the bag, backpacking days. This means I take with me my laptop, tablet, kindle, phone with all the apps, notepads, journal, coloured pens, a few highlighters, even post-it notes!

This is great right? It means I am prepared to read, write, study, make notes, plan, brainstorm, send an email, all of it, whenever I like. Actually, it is not so great. This also means I am continually staring at reminders of the work ‘I should be doing’. You see, whilst I think I am prepared for the opportunity to do work if it arises, what I realised I was unconsciously doing was putting pressure on myself to do work when I really should be on holiday. See, not so great.

We all know there is reason for actually having a holiday, you get to relax, see new things, be with people you love, sleep in, go on adventures, eat great food and sometimes do nothing, but if your laptop is always there in the corner, looking at you and giving you gentle reminders that work still exists, your ability to be fully on holiday may be interrupted more than you think. The glance out of the corner of your eye, seeing it as you walk past, opening it only to tap on a few keys, all this does is increase the pressure you are putting on yourself to do work, and this is not a holiday at all! This was me, every holiday for the last few years.

You see, there is a difference between being on a holiday physically, and being on a holiday mentally. All teachers need a mental holiday as much as they need a physical holiday, you and I included.

The week before I went to NYC I got sick, incredibly virus-like, couldn’t get off the couch, open my laptop or even speak sick. It was awful. But it was also a sign, I needed a mental holiday as much as I needed a physical holiday. Even though I was physically sick, I knew this was my body’s way of telling me to stop. I was mentally exhausted, I had been working too much, too hard. I knew this because my last few weeks of self-talk had been something like ‘only 2 more weeks to go, you can do it’, ‘hang in there, 8 days left’. Only I couldn’t hang in there. I was done, and my body made sure of it.

During this week I knew I needed to make some changes. The first step was to ensure I would go on my holiday and actually have a holiday, mentally and physically, no laptop. This was actually suggested to me a few days before by my coach, but I just wasn’t ready to hear it. Now though, I was listening.

So, I made the decision. I was going on holiday, no laptop, no work, no email. Only books and a journal. That’s it. That’s all I took.

Now, this was hard for me. Really hard. At the start of my trip, I felt like something was missing, I even panicked a little going through airport security because I couldn’t find it in my bag, only to remember it was safe and sound at home. I felt a little sense of excitement at this moment, I was actually going on a real holiday, no laptop, no work, no email.

Boarding the plane was also a reminder of the lack of laptop, it wasn’t there to protect or lift out as I put my luggage overhead. It was at this moment something strange happened. Sitting down for taking off, I felt my body fill with some sort of sense of sensation, relief, calm, my body was releasing all the tension and stress I had been carrying with me about the fear of not taking my laptop. For the first time in quite a few years, I was going on holiday just for me, to be with my partner, to have fun, laugh, sleep, live, love, no laptop, work or email, and I knew everything was going to be OK.

It was in this moment I realised I had been missing out on so much. The rush, the pressure, the ‘what’s next?’, this is what I had been focusing on. Not the now, the present, the moment. I had been completely missing the now.

It was here I made a decision, a commitment to myself, give myself more time and space, to be me, to laugh and have fun, to read, to love, to be, to be present. I am not saying this is easy, it surely is a skill, and something I am working on, but without this thought, you are just going through life, and not actually being in it. Awareness is the first step.

Be in your life.

So, did I survive? Yes, I did. Everything was just as I left it when I returned, apart from a few more emails, nothing drastic though, nothing I couldn’t handle, the only thing difference was me. Me. Committing to change my life to be in it, not rushing through it. Being present in the now, knowing what each moment is for, living, loving and being in my life.

I know for some of you this may seem hard, and as I shared, it was for me too, but the thought of missing out on your life is harder. Put your laptop away, make time for you, set time aside to really be present at the moment, build the skill until it is a habit, until it is you.

Need help, I’m here with you. Reach out. Let’s get your life back.

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Feeling Emotional?

Emotions aren’t as they seem.

Emotions are energy. Emotions shape our world, our reality, our life. They are there to assist you and help you to feel a certain way when an event occurs and as you go throughout your day.

There are more emotions to feel then we realise, yet we often only use the same emotions over and over; happy, sad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, pleased, excited, neutral. This is pretty much the list of emotions we engage in on a daily or weekly basis.

But here’s the thing, emotions are our choice. Emotions are something we are taught to do, to feel, to experience, and often we only know and engage in a small number of emotions, which means this is how we often feel and this is where we stay.

Ever wondered why 2 people can experience the same thing, and one person can be a little annoyed and another can be furious?

Well, it is the way they respond to the event that causes them to feel this way.

There is a theory or this called E+R=O; Event + Response = Outcome (I learnt this from TCI, not sure where it comes from).

What this means is, it is not the event that causes how we feel, or the outcome it is our response to the event that influences the outcomes.

Whilst we can’t always control the event, we can certainly control our response, which in return affects the outcome.

Now before you tell me there is no way you could feel anything but furious when your partner is late for dinner, or that feeling annoyed about the extra meeting that has occurred this week is the only appropriate response, I want you to ask yourself, is this the only way to feel? And, would everyone else feel the same as you? The answer to both of these questions is no.

People choose to feel differently all the time, even about the same situation. The power in this is, those who understand that emotion and feeling is a choice, have more control over their lives, and essentially allow more positivity and happiness to be part of their day.

Why?

Because these people know being frustrated, annoyed or furious at something that was out of their control is a waste of their energy, and actually gets them o where.

Now don’t get me wrong, yes it can be annoying when your partner is later for dinner, and an extra meeting can be frustrating too, but it doesn’t mean you have to take in this emotion and carry it with you into other areas of your life.

So what do you do the?

Well, when an event happens, ask yourself how you feel, acknowledge your first emotion, but ask yourself, is it worth me feeling this way? (the answer is probably no), how else could I choose to feel? What would this mean? How would this make me feel instead? How would things be different?

Try this, try choosing different emotions.

You can choose your emotion, you can choose how you feel. You can choose to be positive and happy.

5 things to do on school holidays so you actually get a holiday, and get your work done too!

Holidays are nearly here, we have been waiting for this, counting down even, yet the holidays as we know will be gone before we even lift those books to mark into the house.

Making a plan for holidays is as essential as planning your day, if not holidays end and you feel like you need another holiday just to get everything done.

So can you make sure you get the most out of your holidays, feel rested but also like you have achieved what you intended?

Here are my 10 tips for making the most out of holidays:

  1. Make a list (actually 2)

Holidays are about 2 things; relaxing and getting stuff done. The best way to ensure you get both of these things done is to make a list of everything you want to achieve. Why 2 lists? One for school related stuff and one for home/life-related stuff. If it is not on the list, it most likely won’t happen, or will loom over you when you are trying to relax and enjoy your time off.

 

  1. Plan out when the stuff on the list will happen. This is a simple case of ‘plan to fail, fail to plan’. I find there are two ways people approach this; either it is getting the list stuff done in the first few days and taking the rest of the time to relax, or relaxing first and using the last few days of holidays to get stuff done. There are also a small few who like to do something each day; maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when everyone else is asleep. For me, I like to have holidays all to myself so I work hard the week before school ends and once I finish up on the last day I am done. This is purely a decision you have to make for you and how you best work.

 

  1. Schedule the items on your list. It’s one thing to have a plan and know morning you are going to do something, or you have 3 days before you are off on a cruise so you must get everything done, but without a schedule, you are leaving most of it to chance and from my experience, this just doesn’t work
  2. You need a schedule for what you will do when, and this needs to be done in advance. Break the time you have into 30minute chunks and schedule in exactly what to do when, This way when you get started you know exactly what you are doing and you don’t have to worry about what to do once you start. No schedule is a recipe for procrastination and a great way to get distracted and end up doing nothing. Once you have your schedule you will be sure to be ticking things off your list.
  1. Add time to relax and take time off to your schedule. It is easy to think we have plenty of time in holidays to relax and recharge, but it can easily happen that holidays are gone and we haven’t really stopped at all. Plan in time for time off. It is that easy.

 

  1. Decide what you will do for self-care and relaxing. It is easy to say you want to do it, and even set aside time for it, but if you don’t know what you are doing, it is likely you will end up doing nothing or even worse, school work or housework because you just don’t know what to do and you can’t sit still! So what do you want to do? A holiday or short break somewhere, read a book, get a massage, learn a new skill or take up a craft (I love time for macramé). It doesn’t matter what it is, but it does matter you know what it is, and you put this in your schedule.

 

There you have it, 5 steps to ensuring you get the most out of your holidays, get your school work done, home/life stuff done and also make time for self-care.

 

Whatever you do these holidays, make sure you enjoy them, you deserve it.

Only You Decide Your Self Care and Well-being

There is so much talk about self-care at the moment.

Self-care Sunday is booming, mindful Monday and soul Saturday are close behind; but really, what all this boils down to, is taking care of yourself, putting yourself first and honouring yourself enough to know that you need to put you first, pressing pause on life when you feel you can’t go on, and actually making time to look after you just as much as you do others.

Yoga, walks on the beach, meditation, massage, drinking herbal tea and self-help books, these seem to be what is most recommended as a means of self-care, but actually, for what it is worth, I don’t agree that this is for everyone.

Self-care isn’t just yoga and deep breathing while you watch the sunset, it is so much more, actually, it is whatever you want it to be. 

No one can decide your self-care, it is simply doing whatever it is for you, whatever helps you relax, tune out, feel less stressed, enjoy life and have fun. This can actually be done in so many ways. For some people, it is yoga (me included), for my partner it is 3-hour cycle  (I couldn’t think of anything worse and he hates yoga). For my brother, it is playing Dungeons and Dragons (OK this might be worse than a 3hr cycle), my other brother is learning bass guitar and my BFF is all about a whole day of binging on Netflix. All of these things, as different as they are, and as unique to the person they might be, are all self-care. My point is, self-care is actually whatever you want it to be.

Reading, craft, hiking, reading a book, mani-pedis, playing a team sport; just about anything at all, as long as it is good for your soul, clams you down, relaxes you, helps you with overwhelm and stress and just makes you feel better, is self-care.

As long as what you do doesn’t hurt or harm others in any way, what you choose to do is up to you. BUT… if you are shopping to make yourself feel better and have money issues this is not self-care, if you are continually eating high-sugar processed foods to comfort you, this is not self-care, if you are watching hours of TV each night because you are tired or stressed, this is also not self-care. Your self-care has to be GOOD for you, good for your soul and good for those around you. Spending money you should be saving is not good, eating rubbish food is not good, lazing on the couch for hours is not good. You must choose your self-care with this is mind.

Once you know what self-care is for you, don’t wait for your day to be rubbish to try it, or for you to feel super stressed or overwhelmed before you do anything, the trick is to build self-care into your day and weekly plan. Schedule it in just like you schedule in time for coffee with friends and family dinner on Sunday night; you are important too, so schedule you in.

Once you have scheduled in regular time for your self-care, you will find that you are reaping the benefits more than you thought you would and that your days may not be as stressful as they used to be. Self-care is about filling your cup first, and when you do this, you will have much more to give to others.