Our job is difficult. Yes it can be fun, but it is exhausting! If you are trying to do ‘all the things’ and do them well – it is a very difficult job. How can we make our jobs a little more efficient so that we can focus on the students when we are with them and not worry about everything else? There’s no simple answer, but here is a suggestion that I know will help and that is Batching.
What is Batching? (1:35)
Batching is a productivity system that helps you to work on specific tasks or types of tasks in a dedicated time period without interruptions, rather than switching from task to task.
Following this method requires you to schedule and take breaks. Often paired with the Pomodoro technique which suggests 25 minutes focused work and 5 minutes break. (Take longer breaks after 4 pomodoros.)
Why Batching Works?
1. Efficiency (2:41)
Working in batches can really aid efficiency. It has the added benefit of helping me to organize and record my thoughts for use now BUT also in the future.
2. Deep work and good focus (3:14)
It minimises distraction so that workflow is more concentrated and I can focus on detail.
3. Adding Method to my Madness (3:56)
Batching helps me to chip away at the large amount of work, in many different areas, that has to be done. Sometimes the enormity of what I need and want to do becomes overwhelming. Batching helps me! It helps provide effective structure in which I can tackle the larger, longer term jobs.
4. Mental Clarity (4:51)
I get much clearer thoughts and ideas when immersed in these specific tasks. I recall past activities, workshops, experiences, repertoire etc as I sink deeper into the work.
5. Start to feel ahead instead of behind (5:27)
This is just as it sounds. By digging deep in one area, I am moving ahead, ready for the future – the next week, month, term or even year! Imagine that!
What work do I batch? (6:27)
- Event Repertoire
- Year level repertoire
- Developing assessment tasks
- Writing marking guides
- Unit planning, Lesson planning
- Pitch activities
- Rhythm activities
- The use of manipulatives – this is a big one that dovetails into things like pitch and melody.
- Beat passing games
- Individual Singing
- Action Songs
- Text improvisation
- Australian Songs
- Aboriginal and Islander Repertoire and activities
- Name games
- Web activities (like Incredibox)
- Books to Sing
- Canons/part work
- circle games
- partner choosing
- Art Music
- YouTube clips – for
- practicing rhythm
- fun and engagement
- World Music
- Instruments – nothing beats live, but this is a good substitute
- Creating and editing Workbooks
- Making resources
- Podcast planning and recording
Record all of this in excel
How do I start batching (14:52)
Here is a possible sequence for getting started:
- Brainstorm a big list of things you need to do – focusing on things that you might be able to batch.
- Identify your priorities.
- What do you most need to do?
- What could eliminate some stress?
- What would improve your teaching?
- What would be fun?
- What have you been meaning to do for a long time?
- What does your employer need you to do?
- Once you have chosen your priority, are there smaller steps to take that you can use in a further breakdown to batch? For example, if you want to work on workbooks or worksheets, you could start with one aspect such as pitch practice, or a type of activity that you could use across all the year levels (multiple choice, circle what you hear, rhythmic dictation fill in the last bar…)
- Make a schedule
Where to find me:
Crescendo Community Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/crescendocommunity
Official Crescendo Page: https://www.facebook.com/CrescendoMusicEd/