How to manage your distractions by Stress Free Teacher

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You are a busy teacher! Lots can stand in your way when it comes to getting things done in school.  It is for this reason, you need to be able to manage your distractions properly.

These suggestions by www.SkillsYouNeed.com will stand you in good stead to manage your distractions and

Phone

  • When you’re busy turn your phones onto silent.
  • Use voice-mail wisely and set aside times to return missed calls.
  • Schedule times in the day when you will receive calls – let others know your schedule.
  • Have a personal mobile phone do not give the number to your boss or colleagues.  Friends and family can then still reach you in an emergency.
  • When making or receiving a call: be polite, listen and clarify but try to avoid excessive small talk keeping calls as brief as possible. See our pages Listening Skills and Clarifying for more information.
  • Take calls standing up, research shows people who stand while on the phone keep their conversations brief.
  • If you agree to take on tasks as part of the phone conversation act on them immediately – even if this means adding them to your ‘to-do’ list.
  • Store numbers that you dial frequently in your phone or keep a list readily available near the phone.

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Email

  • Only check your emails a couple of times a day.  Close your email client when it is not being used.  New emails flashing up on your computer screen can be a huge distraction and time waster.
  • Set up folders and rules in your email client helping to automatically filter and file email messages.
  • Schedule a block of time each day for sending and responding to emails.  Don’t let emails build up to unmanageable levels.
  • Delete all spam emails immediately.
  • Delete all irrelevant emails immediately.  This includes ‘general’ emails that don’t specifically involve you.  People in organisations often use the ‘Reply to All’ function in their email client.  Although such emails may be relevant to certain people or departments if you are not one of them then delete.
  • Forward emails to somebody who can provide a better response if appropriate.
  • Try to handle each relevant email only once, read and respond immediately within your scheduled time.  Once done file the email away.
  • Be wary of emails marked urgent or high priority… they may well not be.

Mail

  • Open your mail near a waste-paper basket and bin what you can immediately.
  • Deal with mail immediately if possible, read, process and reply or action.  Aim to handle each piece of mail only once.

Visitors – Impromptu Meetings

  • Let people know when you are available to meet with visitors.
  • Schedule blocks of time when you can meet with visitors and refer to these as appointments – try to limit each appointment to 10 or 15 minutes.  The word appointment is more formal and people are less likely to think they are ‘popping in for a chat’ and more likely to come for a specific reason.
  • Learn to say no.  If visitors arrive at an inconvenient time then politely explain that you cannot see them and schedule the visit for a mutually convenient time.
  • Don’t forget to schedule time to spend with friends!

Stress

  • When we’re busy we are more likely to have a shorter temper than when we are more relaxed.  Little things are more likely to irritate us and we’re more likely to feel stressed or angry.  Stress and anger will both potentially waste more time – and you run the risk of damaging your health and the feelings of others.  Always try to stay as calm as possible, let others know that you are busy and that you need time to complete your tasks.  People are usually understanding and may even offer to help!

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