There's an old joke that I love.
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
Your teacher to do list is an elephant. It's the largest land animal in the world. Seemingly endless. The workload grows overnight and with every meeting, email, and phone call. Even in your "free time," the list is waiting for you, begging you to check off another pressing item.
Some well-meaning productivity experts recommend choosing just one big, vital, most important task from your to do list to do each day. As a teacher, that always makes milk come out of my nose.
One? So you'd like me to have one lesson plan ready this week? Only one math center should be created, huh? One of my student gets a report card this nine weeks, and seventy one of them are out of luck?
One item per day, I've found, is impossible. But one item at a time? That I can do.
What's that thing on your to do list that if you checked it off right now, your shoulders could finally stop hanging out by your ears? Do that one next. Break it down into the smallest possible step you can take. And then give your full attention to that task until it's complete.
Full attention means closing all the other tabs. Ignoring your number of unread emails. Waiting to text your friend back for the next ten minutes. Pretending the rest of the to do list isn't there. Just do that one.
Once you're done, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, rinse, and repeat.
It's more efficient to work this way. Our brains aren't built to multi-task. Educators have to do many (many, MANY) things, but that doesn't mean they should all be done at once.
One bite at a time. It's the only way to go. Let me know how it's working for you in the comments.
All the best,