This is an area I'm still working on, but I wanted to share 5 things I have done to help maintain work boundaries. Burnout is real and it's important to remember that it's okay to have a personal life and you don't have to work yourself so hard be a good teacher. Allowing myself to take breaks and be okay with letting things go is something that's really difficult for me so I've set a few guidelines. This is something I've asked my husband to help me with so I have someone to help hold me accountable. I'll admit, it's hard but I know it helps me to be a better teacher when I am taking care of myself and setting healthy boundaries.
1. Set a "Go Home" timer. I have a timer set for 3:30 each day. When it goes off, I wrap up what I am doing and head home by 3:45. I won't lie, this has been the hardest one to do for the beginning of the year because there are always a million things to do.
2. Take your work email off your phone. I did this a few years ago and it's been super helpful. I check my personal email a million times a day out of habit and I used to have my work email on my phone too. When an email came through, I would feel like I needed to drop everything and respond. It stressed me out. Now, when I leave work I don't check my email again until the next morning.
3. Don't give parents your personal phone number. I use Google Voice and it's my favorite. I prefer to communicate via text and this is a great way to do it without having to give out my personal number. I also started using ClassTag this year, it's another great option! Both are free. I love that ClassTag is almost like a class website where I can add events and files.
4. Set a limit on at home work. I prefer not to work at home but sometimes there's something I need to finish that can't wait. I will take things home if I know it's something I can finish in a given amount of time. So if I have an IEP to write and I know I can finish it in 1-2 hours, I'm okay with occasionally working on it at home. But if it's something that doesn't have a clear end time, then I'll wait and work on it at school. If I have a lot to do, I prefer to stay late one day a week and get caught up.
5. Say no. If it doesn't truly align with your end goals, say no. I suck at this, but I'm trying. I am the kind of person that wants everything done at once so I have to stop and check myself and figure out what the priorities really are. You may have to practice this. I ask my family and co-workers to ask me to help with things that don't align with my goals so that I can practice saying no. I also have a list of ways to say no saved so I can copy and paste into emails as needed.
I hope a few of these tips give you a starting point. Remember to take care of yourself, you deserve to be happy and healthy!