If you want to make your teacher life easier, you MUST have solid systems at home to do it.
These systems made my life so much easier when I was teaching in the classroom full time, and have especially been helpful now as I work from home with 2 tiny humans! So whether you are single, married, have kids, or don’t, the bottom line is, if you are a teacher, I guarantee you are working more than 40 hours a week. Thus, you need to be able to make your teacher life easier, and these are my 5 best tips to help do that on the homefront!
Tip #1: Meal plan on Thursday and pick up groceries on Friday.
I do this every Thursday and while I do it, I make my Walmart grocery order to get on Friday (pick up is free if you spend $35!!) This gives us a full fridge and pantry for the weekend and going into Monday, which I love! I also love doing the planning and grocery order all at once so I can check what I have while I do it.
Keep a list of meal ideas on your phone so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the decisions! I organize my list by the type of meat it features so we can have variety. You can set themes for each day if that helps you (soup on Sundays, grill out on Mondays, tacos on Tuesdays, etc).
I prefer to meal plan around our schedule that week. My husband misses dinner on Mondays, so I always make something easy since that’s a long solo night for me with the kiddos. I do more complicated meals on weekends when I have more time.
I also try to only plan 6 meals, knowing we will do takeout once. I found that giving ourselves (and budgeting for) takeout once a week actually decreased the amount we got it, and is a nice treat for the day that turns out crazy and you need a break to have that planned for!
Lastly, if possible, double and freeze half of anything you can! I do this with all casseroles and soups. We have one dinner a week where all I have to do is defrost and heat up something from the freezer!!
Tip #2: Run the dishwasher EVERY NIGHT before bed.
This ensures that every morning you wake up to:
- An empty sink
- All the cups, cooking utensils, fave coffee mugs, etc. you need for your day.
There are few things more frustrating than not having the ONE Paw Patrol cup your 2 year old will drink out of clean when you need it… not speaking from experience or anything 🥴
Now you also need to unload it FIRST THING every morning for maximum benefits. If you immediately unload (I do it while my coffee is brewing!!) then you have an empty sink that dishes can IMMEDIATELY go into ALL DAY LONG. No excuse for anyone who lives with you to ever leave a dish in your sink – the dishwasher is dirty and ready to be filled up all day long!
But y’all, you really have to do it EVERY night. Even if it’s not busting at the seams, RUN IT. I know most of us are in the habit of playing Tetris to shove every possible fork in that could possibly fit, but if you don’t make it a consistent habit, you won’t reap the continual rewards.
You’ll end up needing to run it midday the next day and won’t have everything you need and will end your day with a sink of dishes. NOT FUN. Note: If you are single and you are already having lunch at work, you can definitely get away with doing this every other night!
Tip #3: Get up EARLY for quiet and alone time.
I know this is HARD – especially if you are not a morning person. And extra especially if you have kids. But hear me out!
It has helped me SO MUCH to be able to start my days ALONE and with QUIET, rather than going from alarm clock to racing to get everyone fed and ready. I am able to start my days with peace rather than chaos.
And it doesn’t have to be CRAZY early – I just get up 40 minutes before anyone else in my house does. What do I do during that time?
- Make coffee (coffee makes everything better).
- A few morning chores (let dog out and feed her, empty dishwasher since it is run every night, get milk cups ready for babies).
- Read my Bible and pray for the day while I sip on my coffee from #1.
Y’all, this gets me in such a good headspace going into my day. I can’t even tell you. On the days I sleep through this I am so “off”.
One thing that is 🚨 CRITICAL 🚨 for this to be successful: keep your phone on do not disturb. I don’t even have my phone near me or else the WHOLE TIME is wasted scrolling or being stressed out by a message I got overnight. Be like Elsa and LETITGOOOO.
I know this is HARD. But it is so worth it. Are you willing to try it a few days this week?
I promise you the 30-45 minutes spent starting your day peacefully will be more beneficial than an extra few minutes of sleep.
Tip #4: Set up phone DOWNTIME from 9 pm to 7 am.
I do from 9 pm to 7 am every day, but the times could vary for you depending on your schedule.
That means at 9 pm all my apps shut off and they don’t turn on again until 7 am.
This has helped me SO MUCH to not be on my phone for an hour before bed.
Now when my phone shuts off, I get ready for bed and read for an hour or so before going to sleep. And guess what? I’ve read 39 books this year (so far) with all this reclaimed time, AND I’ve been sleeping so much better since I stopped looking at a screen right before falling asleep.
I even have mine set to be on do not disturb for any texts, which has been extra helpful for me. One text can send me on a tailspin and leave me mentally wired for hours.
It also helps in the morning when I am getting up early for my quiet time, like I mentioned in the previous tip. (1) It is much easier to wake up early when I’ve gone to bed early, and (2) my morning time is actually both more peaceful and productive because I’m not starting my day staring at a screen.
I’ve also gotten to the point that I have downtime set up for ALL day on Sundays. The break has been so good for my mind and soul, and left me much more rested for a new week than when I spent the day on social media.
HOW? On an iPhone go to Settings –> Screentime –> Downtime –> Customize Days (or set every day the same!)
Tip #5: Do ONE LOAD of laundry A DAY (this includes putting it away)…
I remember my first year of marriage being mentored by a woman at our church who was married with three kids. She told me that if she did one load of laundry a day she could keep up with it all. I remember thinking THAT IS AN INSANE AMOUNT OF LAUNDRY.
Then God graciously blessed me with tiny humans. And I understood exactly why she said that.
I absolutely ADORE them. But HOLY COW do they make a LOT of things dirty.
I do not throw all of the laundry together. I do mine separately from my husband’s, separately from my kids’, and separately from my towels. This is because:
- It feels like the sorting is way faster this way when it comes time to fold and put away.
- My husband has a habit of leaving pins, chapstick, fishing lures, YOU NAME IT in his pockets and if anyone’s clothes are going to be ruined by that, it should only be his (I know that’s harsh…but it’s true).
If I commit to one load a day, I usually end up with 1-2 days off. Everyone always has what they need, and it is a very managable amount. Folding one load a day while I watch a show at night, or while the coffee is brewing in the morning is no big deal.
My washer and dryer are right off of my kitchen, so I take all of the clothes out and immediately place them on my island to fold. This ensures that I will also immediately fold and put them away, because the island is where I have to prep 3 meals + 2 snacks a day, so it is prime real estate!
Another thing that helps – if you fold right away you never have to iron anything. I hate ironing more than I hate cleaning toilets. I will do anything to avoid plugging the iron in (I’ve been caught many times by previous roommates and my husband ironing the edge of a skirt or the collar of a top with my hair straightener….)
Does one load a day seem crazy to you? Or managable? Do you let laundry pile high and take over your house, or are you on it? What has helped you? I’d love to know!
I hope these systems are as helpful in your homes as they have been in mine and make your teacher life easier for you, because God only knows how much you deserve it! Want more tips for how to make your life as a teacher easier? Check out my suggestions for how to minimize the time you spend grading here!
As always, you can also make your life easier by letting others do your lesson planning for you! If you need help with high school science, I’m your girl! You can check out all the resources I have available here.