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Organising your own time (Read 2102 times)

Offline dinulip

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Organising your own time
« on: January 10, 2014, 05:16:54 PM »
I have been teaching piano full-time for the past couple of years and love (almost) every minute of it!  However, I find it difficult to organise my own time around it.  I teach from Monday to Friday, approximately from 3:30 to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m.  Because I finish generally late, I tend to go to bed only around midnight, and sometimes later...  As a result, I get up late in the morning and have very little time left to myself during the day.

Your comments and suggestions on how to improve my time management would be most welcome! :)

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 08:55:30 AM »
It's simple, don't lay in bed so long. I agree with Quantum, watch the loose ends, spill over minutes really add up, including that extra half hour you would like to lay in bed, when you could be getting your shower and breakfast done. Up and ready to get going.

I don't think I'd want to run my life off a spread sheet though !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline quantum

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #2 on: January 11, 2014, 10:28:46 AM »
Map out your day on paper or spreadsheet as it stands now.  Include all activities and the individual duration for each activity.  Make sure to include what I call "administrative duties" as well: things that eat up time, but are not primary activities.  Try to be as detailed as possible.  Those little things that you may think of as insignificant may be adding up and costing you time.  

Once you have your time map layed out, you can have an overall view of where you are spending your time.  You may even wish to generate graphs of %time spent on each item.  From there you will have a better idea of where to find efficiencies.

Consider your official teaching schedule.  Do you really teach from 3:30 to 9:00 or does it end up being 3:36 to 9:47?  Can you do something to improve this to better match your planned times?  Consider how you deal with late students.  Make note of associated times of month/week/day that tend to cause delays in your teaching schedule.  

Are there items which you can automate?  Are there items where you can create more efficiency in your workflow?  Consider how you are going to maintain quality of education, and increase time efficiency without negative effects to your students.

Just some things to think about.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline 1hummingbird

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #3 on: January 11, 2014, 07:44:49 PM »
I have been teaching piano full-time for the past couple of years and love (almost) every minute of it!  However, I find it difficult to organise my own time around it.  I teach from Monday to Friday, approximately from 3:30 to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m.  Because I finish generally late, I tend to go to bed only around midnight, and sometimes later...  As a result, I get up late in the morning and have very little time left to myself during the day.

Your comments and suggestions on how to improve my time management would be most welcome! :)

You still have your mornings free.  Train yourself to go to bed earlier, then it will be easier to also get up and going in the morning. 

I use a program called "One Note" to document what my students are working on, and their progress.  Most all of what I do is documented on my computer.  I find that this makes more free time.  One thing that I always have available at hand though, is my datebook, where I document lesson changes.

Offline dinulip

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 08:28:40 PM »
You still have your mornings free.  Train yourself to go to bed earlier, then it will be easier to also get up and going in the morning. 
(...)  I use a program called "One Note" to document what my students are working on, and their progress. 

I know that I should go to bed earlier, but find it hard to wind down and fall asleep.  Do you (or anyone else on this forum) have any suggestion on how to 'calm down' after several hours of teaching nonstop?

Could you please tell me more about this program 'One Note'?  Where can I find it?

Thanks!
 :)

Offline Bob

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 08:39:06 PM »
Working full-time tends not to leave much time for yourself left over.  Haha. 

I've ended up with time, but no energy.  That stinks too.


Mapping it out paper helps.  I've done that. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 10:37:35 PM »
I know that I should go to bed earlier, but find it hard to wind down and fall asleep.  Do you (or anyone else on this forum) have any suggestion on how to 'calm down' after several hours of teaching nonstop?

Could you please tell me more about this program 'One Note'?  Where can I find it?

Thanks!
 :)

If it's the same One Note I'm thinking of, it's an APP that I use in my Windows Phone. Available for Android, iPhone, probably Pc's as well. Not sure this is what is indicated though. It's a a good electronic notebook basically.

Eat a Banana abut a half hour before going to bed or take one with you as a snack before putting your head on the pillow. I have a TV in my room, turn that on and I'm gone at the first commercial, FWIW !!
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline quantum

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #7 on: January 12, 2014, 12:54:34 AM »
I know that I should go to bed earlier, but find it hard to wind down and fall asleep.  Do you (or anyone else on this forum) have any suggestion on how to 'calm down' after several hours of teaching nonstop?

Empty your mind on paper (or digitally if you prefer) in the evening. Write everything down, especially things that you feel obliged to remember, or that keep your mind occupied once you get in bed.  This will free your mind from the pressure of a mental list of tasks to do as you lie down trying to sleep.

Do you have the option of rearranging your teaching schedule to allow more rest?  If your current schedule is significantly impacting your quality-of-life, you should consider your options.  Are you willing to live with this compromise, or do you need to change something to make it work for you?
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline tillyfloss

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 02:56:59 PM »
That’s a lot of contact hours. Remember teaching requires preparation and administration time too which needs to be built into your timetable. For every three hours contact time, I expect to do another hour of prep and admin. (Often more).
If I taught one- to- one for all the hours you do, I know I wouldn’t be able to offer each individual the very best of me
Now that you’ve been teaching for two years, do you feel in a position to raise your prices slightly   and trim your hours? I would aim to cut an hour off the evenings eventually or to do away with Saturday teaching.   (Although Saturdays can be lucrative, I know).
An alternative would be to schedule breaks in-between lessons so that you can do prep and admin then, rather leaving it to last thing at night before you need to go to sleep. Another option would be to put adults who tend to cancel because of work etc. in the last slot of the evening. That way, you will occasionally get a bit more downtime at least.


Offline fleetfingers

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #9 on: January 15, 2014, 04:10:30 PM »
Great advice from others. What works for me is to focus on the morning-time pattern. Even if you go to bed at midnight, resolve to get up at the same time every morning. You will be tired but, whatever you do, don't nap. You should be exhausted by the end of the day. If you're not, and you stay up late again, you still have to stick to your morning schedule - no excuses! At some point, you will find yourself tired enough to want to go to bed early. Then, getting up at your early time won't be as hard and you'll suddenly feel what morning people feel. Which is a really great feeling, like you're ahead of the game....."early bird gets the worm" comes to mind.  ;) Anyway, you've got to stick to that same time, no matter what happens . . . because you will want to go back to your old ways. Make that list of things you need and want to do, then just tell yourself you'll have time for it in the morning when you feel rested and refreshed. Set it next to your bed, then go to sleep!

You'll have to organize what you do during the day so that you can go to bed shortly after your last lesson. Get to know how many hours of sleep you need and set yourself a bedtime to ensure that you are hitting that number. I need 8-9 hours to feel rested - others need only 7 - so I have to go to bed around 9-10pm to be able to get up at 6am and not feel sluggish.

Offline dinulip

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 06:09:24 PM »
"That’s a lot of contact hours. (...) If I taught one- to- one for all the hours you do, I know I wouldn’t be able to offer each individual the very best of me."
Most of my students are beginners -- so there is a lot of repetitive work involved, which does not requires as much energy from me as more advanced students would.

"Now that you’ve been teaching for two years, do you feel in a position to raise your prices slightly   and trim your hours? I would aim to cut an hour off the evenings eventually or to do away with Saturday teaching.   (Although Saturdays can be lucrative, I know)."
I raise my fees slightly in September - but I'm afraid that one never gets rich teaching the piano.  :(
As most of my students are children, I work only between 3:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., and on Saturday - my most lucrative day.

"An alternative would be to schedule breaks in-between lessons so that you can do prep and admin then, rather leaving it to last thing at night before you need to go to sleep." 
  Unfortunately, that is unfeasible right now, as I would lose well over and hour of income per day.  As my days are rather short (approximately 5.5 hours), I could lose one day's worth of income per week - something that I just cannot afford.

I just hope that, one day, I will be better known in my neighbourhood to have a waiting list.  Then, I will be justified to raise my fees significantly, and reduce my working hours, in order to have a little more free time on my hands. 

But I still have two or three years to go till that happens...

Offline Bob

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #11 on: January 26, 2014, 10:29:52 PM »
Write a book about how to teach piano.  That's what other people are doing.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline quantum

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Re: Organising your own time
«Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 01:29:48 AM »
Perhaps you might consider diversifying your income sources.  Have you considered teaching group theory classes?  What about accompanying, or ensemble direction?  Is there a music retailer near you that could use your expertise for researching print music and teaching materials? 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach