Today Angela Watson teaches us how to maximize our summer. If you like her ideas, take this quiz to see if her 40-hour workweek program is right for you.
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Full Bio As Submitted
Angela Watson is National Board Certified Teacher currently working as an instructional coach and educational consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She has published four books for teachers and has maintained The Cornerstone For Teachers blog since 2003.
Angela is the creator of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club , an online professional development program that has supported teachers with productivity in over 10,000 schools. Her Sunday podcast called Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers is entering its 6th season, providing motivation and encouragement to teachers on a weekly basis.
Transcript for this episode
[Recording starts 0:00:00]
At the end of the show, I’ll tell you about a resource that will help you join Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club at no cost to you. https://40htw.com/join/club/ref/coolcat/
This is five ways to maximize your summer. And I am so excited. (This originally aired as episode 100.)
The Ten-minute Teacher podcast with Vicki Davis. Every week day you’ll learn powerful practical ways to be a more remarkable teacher today.
VICKI: Happy Five Idea Friday. This is our last episode of season one. And we’re talking with Angela Watson about five ways to maximize your summer. I also want you to check out the show notes because we’ll have a link to her 40 Hour Workweek Club that is opening up, that I recommend it will help you so much. So, Angela, how do we maximize our summer?
ANGELA: I’m so excited to talk about this topic with you, Vicki. I mean, I think every teacher struggles with this. We think have this, like, endless summer ahead of time, and we put up all the tasks until break, thinking, oh, I’ll do that in summer; oh, I’ll do that in summer. And then what happens every time is it flies by so quickly. It’s gone before you know it.
VICKI: It is.
ANGELA: So the first thing that you want to do, if you really want to maximize your summer, is to have a really clear vision for what you want your life to look like when summer is over. So, a lot of times, when we start talking about these kinds of things, people want to skip right to the actionable steps. But we can’t do that until you have a good vision in place, because your vision is what keeps you pushing through even when you feel like being busy or you have interruptions and obstacles and other things keeping you from accomplishing your goals. If all you have is this mile-long to-do list of things that you have to get done over the summer, there’s nothing that’s going to motivate you to press through. So you have to be clear on your vision, on your why, before you start to take action.
So set your vision. And be really realistic about how much you can accomplish in just a few short weeks with your current energy levels, and with your current commitments.
VICKI: And you have to also know, who do I want to be before I make my to-dos, because your to-be should really impact your to-dos.
ANGELA: Oh, I love that so much. Yes. Yes, exactly. What kind of person do I want to be at the end of the summer? That’s so good. And remember; it’s always better to under-plan and feel good about achieving above and beyond your goal than it is to over-plan, because then you’re going to feel like you weren’t successful. So think about those to-bes. I love that. Think about your to-bes. Think about your what. What is it that you want to have done this summer? You need to have devoted an entire week to not even thinking about work so you can totally reset your mind, right?
VICKI: Yeah, for sure. Okay, what’s your second one?
ANGELA: So get clear on your vision, and then list out your priorities. Rather than creating a mile-long to-do list, section off your list by high, medium and low priorities. So the high priority goals are the things that are going to make that end-of-summer vision a reality. These are the things that must get done before school starts, and that you are committed to doing no matter. And don’t add to many here, because remember you have a limited amount of time. So get those high priority things on your list first, and then add on other things that you have planned or that you would like to do in the lower priority sections. So medium priority items are the things that you want to get done before school starts, and low priority things are the things that you would like to get done if you have time. And then you can keep adding to that list whenever you think of new things throughout the summer, and that includes family time, rest, relaxation, if there’s a book you’ve been wanting to read; anything that is important to you, not just work-related task. Because we all know; if we don’t write it down and schedule it, it’s not going to get done. So if it’s important to you, if you want to have that experience, that fun experience or that family time this summer, write it down on your priory list.
VICKI: For sure. And I even go on Sundays and say, oh, I am on a vacation at home today, even if I’m not travelling.
Like, no point if it’s no nothing. Okay, what’s our third?
ANGELA: Love it. So once you have your priorities listed out, then you’re going to write the non-negotiable dates on your calendar. In that way, you can see your busy times at a glance. So any trips or appointments or any kind of set-in-stone event should be written on a calendar. And that’s going to prevent you from realizing on the last of summer break that you never got around to something that was very important. It’s also going to keep you from being overwhelmed because you scheduled too many time-consuming tasks too close together. So the calendar will help with those things. And it will help you ensure that you have that time for rest and relaxation in-between your most demanding productive days. You want to be able to see it all at a glance; what are my big commitments this summer, when am I going to be out of town, what’s going on. So you have that big picture.
VICKI: And when do I need to cancel things, which is my problem. Okay, what’s our fourth?
ANGELA: So once you have that done, you’re going to choose a theme or a focus for each week of summer. And that’s going to be based on your higher summer priorities. So if you know that you’re taking a trip to visit extended family, let’s say, July 12th to 15th, why not just take that whole week off, why not just make that a family time, where that’s just your focus for the whole week? You’re taking a true break from work and errands and all that kind of stuff, and just enjoy your time with family, just enjoy your summer that week. Similarly, if you have a doctor’s appointment; let’s say, there’s a doctor’s appointment on July 27th, and you have the garage door replacement scheduled for July 28th, why not make that your focus for the week? Just do all your appointment and repairs that week. You’re going to feel such a sense of accomplishment instead of feeling like you’re constantly having contractors down and running all around. Try to batch those things. Make that your theme week, and try to schedule similar tasks in there. So you can have more than one focus each week if you need to. The idea is just batching similar tasks so that you can get yourself in that appropriate mindset and focus on them without feeling like you need to be doing 100 different things.
VICKI: And that feeling of drowning and feeling like you have too much to do is not good to have all summer.
And it can happen. Okay, what’s our last one?
ANGELA: So that’s the only thing that you need to do in advance. And then what you’ll do at the start of each week in the summer is you’ll just look at your focus. You’ll think about your vision, look at those long-term priority list, look at that calendar; and that’s when you’ll create your to-do list for the week ahead. So if your focus for the upcoming week is, let’s say, back-to-school prep, then break that large project down into actionable steps. Decide what you’re going to do each day so that you’re not taking on too much at once. Write those tasks and your to-do list for the week ahead. That way, they’re scheduled into specific slots. Monday, I’m going to do this; Tuesday, this; Wednesday, this. And be looking at that list of summer priorities to make sure you’re moving yourself toward that end-of-summer vision.
VICKI: Angela, as I’m listening to all of this, what do you think the biggest mistake teachers make with their summers?
ANGELA: Probably overscheduling. Assuming that you will have more energy in the summer just because you’re not working, so you can just cram everything in. And for some reason, it just doesn’t work that way. You have to leave margins so that you don’t get stressed out when the unexpected happens. Because just like we have things crop up during the school year that throw us off schedule, the same thing is going to happen in the summer. So we don’t want to have too much planned; we want to have that margin, that little bit of buffer time in there, so that when the unexpected does come up, we can handle it and it doesn’t completely throw us off track.
VICKI: Yes. And, you know, I think that for me in the summers, I’m healing in some way. I mean, we don’t tell people who have a baby, I hope you enjoyed your vacation. They’re not taking a vacation; they’re healing. And we just had a school year. And to me, having a school year is as difficult as having a baby. It’s hard, and we accomplished a lot. But we have to heal or else we just won’t be able to make it in the fall, you know.
ANGELA: Yes. Vicki, that is so good. You had a school year. You need to have time to rest and heal from that. I love that.
VICKI: So, teachers, I just hope that you get so much out of your summer. You’ve gotten so many great ideas. And I’m sitting here just taking notes of, oh, I need to do that, I need to do that, I need to do this.
And, very soon, the 40 Hour Workweek will be opening up. coolcatteacher.com/join So I do hope you’ll follow the links. And follow what Angela does. She’s really helped me be more productive and, believe it or not, work less but get more done. And for me, that says a lot. Because, honestly, we won’t even be doing this podcast if I hadn’t been a part of the 40 Hour Workweek, because I would just be at school all the time and I couldn’t even record the show. So there you go. I hope you have a great summer.
Angela Watson’s 40 Hour Workweek Club has helped me become more productive as a teacher. Now, there are only two times a year that you can sing up. But today, I’m going to give you a link that will give you some ideas for how you can join the 40 Hour Workweek Club completely free to you. Just go to coolcatteacher.com/join for information on some options for you and so you can take an interactive quiz to make sure that the 40 Hour Workweek Club is right for you. That is, coolcatteacher.com/join. Have an awesome summer. And stay tuned for some special encore episodes of some of the most popular of the first season of the Ten-Minute Teacher. And also, I’ll have some bonus summer episodes from ISTE, the International Society of Technology Educators. I’ll be going. I hope to see you there.
Thank you for listening to the Ten-minute Teacher Podcast. You can download the show notes and see the archive at coolcatteacher.com/podcast. Never stop learning.
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