Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Change Will Do You Good

I've noticed working from home how important a change in environment can be to my processing ability and motivation. I try to spend at least two days a week outside of my home working environment. On weeks that I don't manage to do that--for whatever reasons--I can feel the pressure of monotony overwhelming me. My productivity falters and I struggle to focus on any particular task. This is especially true the longer I am in the environment. For example, after a week in Colorado on vacation, I had no problem staying focused at home for an entire week. The week after that first week back, I needed to get out.

Changes in environment are good. They don't need to be permanent, but you do need to mix up the routine to sustain productivity. Even if you aren't doing work in the changed environment, mixing it up will affect your overall productivity when you get back to work. Now, we can't take vacations whenever we want and travel to different cities or countries to get away from it all. But we can make an effort to mix it up regularly so that we don't find ourselves stuck in a rut. Here are five ways to mix up your teaching days to increase working productivity.

  1. Find a new place to eat lunch. Plan it with colleagues or for some alone time, but eat somewhere different once a week.
  2. Use a different hallway. If you make trips to the office, teacher workroom, mailboxes, bathroom, or anywhere else in the school, try challenging yourself to use a different route every time you go. Never go the same way twice in a row.
  3. Come in earlier, leave earlier/ come in later,stay later. Change the time you are in school. Have a day where you come in early or stay late to do that extra work. Or, if you usually stay until all of your work is done, try taking it home one night a week. Mix up that work routine.
  4. Holiday seasons are the perfect time to take twenty minutes to mix it up. Go window shopping (or real shopping) at stores you wouldn't normally go to. Check out a comic book store, play the newest video game at Best Buy, or find a local bookstore to browse. If you take once a week to go somewhere you've never been, you'll feel revitalized...even if the store was not at all for you.
  5. Find alternate spaces for your class. In warm weather, do class outside. In cold weather, use the library, gym, computer lab, or stage to have your class mix it up. Students benefit in productivity in mixing up the routine as well. You might even consider swapping classrooms with another teacher or even swapping classes. While you may not feel that the mix up day itself was productive, the next few days will make up for it. [Don't mix it up on Fridays since you'll lose all productivity benefits over the weekend.]
Remember, change can keep you out of a slump. And in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, "When you're in a slump, you're not in for much fun. Unslumping yourself is not easily done."--Oh, The Places You'll Go!

So find a way to mix up that routine. Even the smallest things can make a world of difference.

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