Burnout On The Firing Squad

Right now as you scroll through your emails are you relaxing with a drink in hand, looking out over your favourite view? If not - this is your *BIG SIGN* to do just that! Seriously, go get that mojito and we’ll see you in a moment...

Term 3 has drawn to a close, and it’s holiday time baby! Say farewell to exams, performances, musicals, graduations - you name it, it happened this past quarter. During the weeks of school, there were times when you dreamt of this moment right now: switching off, doing the hobbies you love and finally taking the time to breathe - but are you really relaxed, or are you still recovering from the months of feeling swamped?

The life of a teacher is a juggling act: classes, co-curricular, commitments, plus home life; you’re playing with fire and someone is bound to get burnt. As life moves faster than ever (it’s already October!?), the realness of burnout has never been greater; so much so that during May of this year burnout was officially classified as a medical condition.

At times, planning for the short and long term can fall on the wayside. With an already full schedule, how do you find the time to plan for the future? Organisation is the key to achieving goals and enabling you to relax when you’re not working the 8 til midnight school hours. We’ve compiled an *unusual* list of apps, ideas, and guides to help you get on top of your workload so you can clock onto your holiday, and be ready to crush those Q4 goals before we tick over into 2020…

Spring Clean the Calendar

Take a date with your calendar and give it a major re-work. Here are a few things to do to get your schedule in order:

Color-coordinate events:

Blue = Classes, Red = Band practise, Purple = Errands, Green = Meetings etc.

Not only will your calendar be something out of KIKI K, but it enables you to scan over your calendar and quickly see the commitments you have coming up.

Add upcoming events in advance:

Sort through paper invitations, emails, facebook events, newsletters - everywhere you have important dates. Rather than try and remember when your Great Aunt’s 76th Birthday party is, add it to your calendar to close those mental tabs.

Repeating events: For those predictable, repeating events such as assemblies, classes, and practices - change the settings in your calendar. On these events, click ‘repeat’, and choose the days you want to show in your calendar. QUICK TIP: Choose an end date (such as the last day of term) for the repeats. This will keep your calendar clean and finite, saving you enormous amounts of time and mental energy.

Communicate Clearly with Monday.com

For any collaborative work with your music department, skip the lengthy emails, messy drop-boxes, and multiple calendars. Share information, links, files, dates, deadlines and more on Monday.com. It’s also accessible on the app store.

(NOTE: This is not sponsored. The MusicEDU Team simply love this tool and wanted to share it with you too!)

Take Back Hours in Your Day by Talking

Emails can be a major pain if you don’t read & respond at the same rate they flood your inbox. Rather than tap out a 15-minute email response, pick up the phone for a 1-minute call. Not only is it quicker, but there is no miscommunication with tonality and they feel important - Win/win!

Short 'n’ Sweet

Keep meetings quick. If it only has to be a 5-minute chat - don’t extend it to be 20, just to display ‘politeness’. Respect each other’s time and exercise productivity. QUICK TIP: Rather than sit down in chairs for a meeting, try having one with everyone standing. You will find you minimise the small talk, cut to the chase on the details, and have a quality chat. Another idea is to walk to a destination (hello local cafe!) and walk back to the office. You’re clocking the steps, getting a hit of caffeine, and there is a deadline for the meeting - you’ve ticked all the boxes!

Work in 30min Increments

Harness your competitive nature and set a timer for 30 minutes. When wanting to achieve a task or complete work; race against the timer to see how much you can get done. This also assists your attention span, so you can effectively work smarter not harder.

Categorise Your Goals

You’ve heard it many times: “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” Take some time these holidays to create and analyse goals for the 4th quarter of the year. Individual goals are tracked uniquely, so write them down in accordance with these three categories:

Tactical Goal: A measurable goal; something that can be tracked by numbers or time.

Personal Development Goal: A skill or way of working you want to improve on. E.g. Organising your calendar or keeping meetings shorter ;)

Growth Goal: This is a focus that you can see progress in. For example, your team could work towards growing elective music numbers or plan the 2020 band tour by the end of the term.

Break these goals down on a timeline (on monday.com or your calendar) to achieve them in bite-sized pieces. Go get 'em, tiger!

Meal Prep

Nope, we’re not a fitness blog however, we do believe health is your wealth! Lunchtimes can get busy, so by planning your meals for the week in advance, or making your sandwiches the night before - you will save a tonne of time, money, and energy. It also means if a spontaneous meeting pops up and you can’t run to a cafe; you don’t have to skip lunch.

Schedule downtime

Who would think you’d have to schedule in that mojito!? Well if you want to guarantee a time to wind down and relax, then protect it. Set up ‘Do not disturb’ mode in the settings of your phone during certain hours of the day (e.g. 8pm - 7am), or pop in your calendar blocked out time to socialise over your weekends.


Implementing these quick tips will guarantee smoother sailing towards achieving your goals for 2019. Crush the possibility of burnout, enjoy your weekends, and end the year on a great note! Now, back to your holidays…