Batching: The Ultimate Time Management Hack for Busy Teachers


Inside: Explore ideas for time management for teachers. Discover how teacher hacks, like batching, can simplify your workload. Find out how to easily manage tasks, giving you back the balance between work and life.

I blinked blearily at the clock – 1:47 am… already. 

Here I was, yet again, hunched over stacks of ungraded papers and unfinished lesson plans. 

My work as a teacher never seemed to end. Each evening and weekend, I found myself chained to my desk doing tasks for school. I barely had time for family or friends anymore. I was overwhelmed and exhausted, and I felt like a hamster on a wheel, spinning endlessly without a break.

Somehow, the infinite workload was draining every spare moment I had. My work-life balance was completely out of whack. This couldn’t be sustainable. It wouldn’t be.

There had to be a way to work smarter and finish all my work without giving up my health, relationships, and sanity.

And so, I looked for a better way to manage my workload. I needed to find time again to enjoy life outside of school. That’s when I discovered a time management for teachers strategy that was the answer I had been looking for. This method, known as batching, would change my life.

a clock with the text "Batching: The Ultimate Time Management Hack for Busy Teachers"

Batching- What It Really Means for Teachers

Batching is grouping similar tasks to tackle them in one focused session. It’s about efficiency and attention management.

The idea is simple: instead of flipping between tasks like grading, planning, and emailing throughout the day, you allocate specific blocks of time to handle each category of tasks. This approach minimizes the mental load of constantly switching contexts, a known energy drainer.

a calendar, markers, paperclips, post its, and binder clips on a pink desktop

By dedicating set periods to similar tasks, you can eliminate the constant decision-making about what to do next. It allows you to concentrate fully on the task at hand, reducing errors and improving the quality of your work.

Batching is not just a time management for teachers technique; it’s a smarter way to work. It provides a structure to your day, reduces stress, and ultimately frees up more time for what matters most—teaching and engaging with your students.

Understanding batching is a crucial teacher hack for effective time management for teachers. It allows more time for personal life and spends less time on overwhelming tasks.

Why Batching Improves Time Management for Teachers

Here’s why batching is one of the top teacher hacks for improving time management for teachers:

Batching Saves Time

Batching saves time by avoiding the mental drain of task switching. When you bounce back and forth between different kinds of tasks, each switch eats up time and mental energy as you re-orient to the new task. Batching lets you stay focused in one realm, saving time.

Lowers Decision Fatigue

Batching also reduces decision fatigue. Having to constantly decide what to do next is mentally taxing. With batching, you eliminate constant decision-making by pre-planning what tasks you’ll tackle in each time block.

a teacher looking at a computer and looking like she is confused or trying to make a decision

Leads to Higher Quality Work

You can produce higher-quality work with your full attention on one activity instead of splitting focus. For example, batching your grading allows you to calibrate and standardize your feedback more effectively.

Creates Structure and Routine

Batching brings organization, structure, and predictability to your workflow. The routine lowers stress and helps you manage your workload. You’ll always know what’s coming up next.

Reduces Stress

Speaking of stress, batching is a great way to prevent burnout. It helps manage workload and gives you the breaks you need between task types. Batching makes your work time more efficient and purposeful.

Batching Basics

Getting started with batching can dramatically improve time management for teachers. Here’s how to add this game-changing teacher hack to your routine:

a teacher writing with a marker on a post it as she plans a batch session

Identify Your Key Batch Tasks

Start by thinking through your workflow and pinpointing the key activities that could benefit from batching. This might include planning, grading, communication, data analysis, etc. Choose the essential tasks.

Schedule Batches on Your Calendar

Once you’ve identified key batches, block time for them on your calendar; treat these batch blocks just like classes or meetings — make them a consistent part of your schedule and protect the time.

Eliminate Distractions During Batches

To stay focused during batches:

  1. Eliminate distractions and interruptions.
  2. Silence your phone, close your email, and shut your office door.
  3. Streamline your workspace.
a teacher is holding a phone

Define Outcomes for Each Batch

Before you start a batch, clearly define what you want to accomplish within that block. Setting a specific intention keeps you on track. Check tasks off as you go.

Start Small

Don’t try to overhaul your entire workflow at once. Begin with just one or two essential tasks and start batching those. Once you get the hang of it, you can expand from there.

Create Batch Checklists

Make a master checklist for each type of batch task that includes everything you need to accomplish within that batch. Use the list to stay on track.

a teacher is holding a clipboard with a checklist

Schedule Batches Earlier In the Day

Try to do your batching earlier when you have more energy and stamina. Deeper thinking tasks may go better first thing in the morning.

Reward Yourself When Batches Are Done

Celebrate finishing a batch by treating yourself to a little break or reward before starting your next task. A brief recharge keeps you motivated.

Batching is a game-changer for taking control of your workload as a teacher. No more jumping between half-finished tasks, drained and overwhelmed. With batching, channel your focus into meaningful progress.

Teacher Hacks for Batching in Action

Now that we know batching is a key strategy in time management for teachers, let’s get into how to implement this teacher hack for various teaching tasks. It’s time to simplify your life! 🙌

  • Grading Papers: Set aside specific blocks of time to grade assignments, quizzes, and tests for all classes at once rather than doing it piecemeal. I liked setting aside a solid block each week for grading papers.
  • Lesson Planning by Subject: Dedicate time to plan all lessons for a particular subject for the week or month, securing all necessary resources and activities in one go.
a teacher is marking a paper on a checklist
  • Making Copies: Accumulate all the materials that need photocopying for the week and do it in one session to avoid frequent trips to the copier. (I even got into the habit of making copies for TWO WEEKS at a time, and it was life-changing). 
  • Filing and Organizing: Organize student work, administrative paperwork, and resource materials during a designated filing time to maintain an orderly workspace.
  • Creating Instructional Materials: Design and prepare all handouts, digital presentations, and interactive activities for various lessons during a focused work session.
  • Email Correspondence: Allocate specific times to read and respond to emails from colleagues, parents, and administrators to avoid constant interruptions throughout the day.
  • Student Feedback and Conferences: Schedule blocks of time to write feedback on student work or to conduct student conferences, making the process more focused and efficient.
  • Preparing Assessments: Design, revise, and prepare all quizzes, tests, and other assessments for different units or subjects at the same time.
a teacher is cutting paper
  • Bulletin Board and Classroom Decor: Plan and prepare bulletin board displays and classroom decorations for upcoming themes or seasons in one session.
  • Student Accommodations and Modifications: Review and prepare all necessary accommodations and modifications for your students with special needs in a dedicated time slot.
  • Parent Communication: Draft newsletters, updates, and announcements to parents in a batch rather than one at a time.
  • Data Entry and Analysis: Input and analyze student data, such as grades and assessment scores, in one sitting to keep track of progress and identify areas for intervention.
  • Scheduling: Plan your calendar, including setting aside time for all the batching tasks above, meetings, and school events in one planning session.

Switch Up Your Workflow

Batching isn’t just about getting through your workload; it’s about changing how you work to free up more time for what truly matters in teaching.

Batching is a practice; like any good practice, it gets better with time. It’s about building a workflow that lets you end your day feeling accomplished and ready to engage more deeply with your students.

a teacher is working with a group of three students to build something

To Help You Start Strong

I’ve put together an Editable To-Do List for Teachers that you can download for free. Download the PDF to your computer, and you can type your tasks directly onto it.

This editable to-do list is your first step towards more productive days and less overwhelming nights. It’s about more than just checking off tasks; it’s about creating space for the moments in teaching that matter most.

Download the Editable To-Do List Here and check out the ready-made resources in my TPT store to begin your path to a more organized, efficient teaching life.

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Melissa Glenn

I’m a teacher, a certified Reading Specialist, and the author behind "Real Life in the Classroom". I love to create classroom resources and share ideas to help real teachers in real classrooms easily plan and implement instruction that they can feel great about.

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Hi, I'm Melissa!

I’m Melissa Glenn of Real Life in the Classroom. I live in New Jersey with my husband, Tom, our two children, and our dog, Klaus. I taught first grade for 12 years and I also have a certificate in Reading Specialization. I love spending time with my family, all things tech, [online] shopping, and new books!