Top
ENGAGING ACTIVITIES YOUR STUDENTS WILL LOVE!

25 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Teachers

We love recommending my favorite classroom resources to you! We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. But don't worry - we never recommend for that purpose. If we don't love it, we won't recommend it here. Click to read full terms

As teachers, we wear many hats and are charged with the task of juggling many balls in the air so that our days run smoothly, both at school and at home. Lesson planning, meetings, parent-teacher conferences, emails, meal prep, kid’s homework, baths… the list of tasks is never-ending! Life demands so much of our time, attention, and energy, right?! Taming the beast of time can be a huge challenge for busy teachers, but these 25 time-saving tips will help you take back some of those precious minutes, both in the classroom and at home! Ready for all the details? Let’s get to it!

25 Time Saving Tips for Teachers

Time-Saving Tips for The Classroom

Classroom Organization & Prep Work

It’s no secret that getting organized can have a big impact on both the amount of time you spend on tasks as well as mental sanity! When the classroom is organized and everything has its own place, things just run more smoothly, right? Here are some quick, time-saving tips that might require a little effort upfront, but will save you time in the long run.

Tip #1 – Choose Functional Classroom Storage

If there is one thing I know, it’s that functional storage is a MUST if you’re hoping to save time in the classroom. For me, this means thinking about how my days look in the classroom from start to finish. Sit down and think about what your schedule looks like, and the materials you need for each section. Then consider how you’re storing these items. For example, can all of the materials you need for the morning meeting be stored on a single cart? This will save time and effort every morning if you know exactly where to grab your supplies!

Don’t forget about materials the kids need access to as well. Do you have a place for them to turn in work and grab early finisher activities? How about their personal supplies and materials? Do they know where to find manipulatives and materials for center time? Considering these things will help ensure that you won’t hear the dreaded “I can’t find X!” multiple times per day. If everyone knows where to find materials and how to store them, your day will run much more smoothly! You can find more of my organizational ideas here!

Tip #2 – Use a Planner

This might be one of the most important time-saving tips on my whole list! My planner helps me remember what we need to be doing each day. There are so many different teacher planners out there – physical, digital, and a variety of formats. We won’t go down that rabbit hole today – just find one that works for you! Really, all you need is something that has ample space for each day, week, and month. And remember a planner is only helpful and time-saving if you actually use it. Set a time in your schedule to plan monthly, or weekly. Then, check in daily to ensure you’re staying on task with your plan. This simple check-in can help save you time in the long run and meet learning goals!

Tip #3 – Assign Each Student A Number

Next up on my list of time-saving tips – student numbers! Assigning students a number is a great management and organizational tool, as well as a great time-saving tip, too! Assigned numbers can be used to get students to line up, call them to the carpet, or turn in work. Having students write their name and number on the work they turn in makes it a cinch to see whose work you’re missing. With numbers, passing back papers or putting papers in mailboxes will be easier than ever for you, a parent volunteer, and even students. This is a great way to have students help you out. What student doesn’t love being chosen to do “the teacher’s job”?

Tip #4 – Create and Print a Set of Class Lists

Having a class list on hand to keep track of all the things is so helpful and will save time.

Homework return, permission slips, parent paperwork, assessments. These are just some examples of the paperwork that teachers need to organize and manage daily.  Creating and preparing a set of class lists ahead of time is a huge time saver for teachers. I like to type up a list of all the kids in my class and print off about 10 copies to keep on hand. When the printed supply gets low, I print some more.

Then, when those permission slips start rolling in, grab a checklist and write what it’s for at the top. Next, mark off the student’s name as you receive forms. I store the list on a clipboard with all of the forms that go with it behind the list.  When they are all turned in, I can paperclip them all together with the list on top and add them to the necessary files. Whether you use this for homework, permission slips, or testing, it will save you a ton of time! You’ll be able to tell at a glance which students have handed it in and which haven’t.

Tip #5 – Prepare an Emergency Sub Tub

Life happens, right? Having a sub tub prepared at the beginning of the year will save you SO much time in the long run! Not to mention, it will help you avoid trying to scramble to prepare for a day out of the classroom when you’re not feeling your best. I recommend putting together a tub with a week’s worth of activities and day-by-day plans to prepare for a sub. No one wants to be out that long, but it’s better safe than sorry! Oh, and stick a note on your calendar to update the materials once per quarter. This will help ensure that your students have work aligned with what you’re focusing on at that time.

Tip #6 – Create and Use Email Templates   

Sending emails is one of those tasks that teachers can’t get a break from! Luckily, with a little front-loading, you can save yourself time and stress in this area.  Create an email template for all of the common situations that you manage consistently. Keep a file of the templates and when one of those situations arises, you can simply open the file, copy and paste the email, fill in a few specific notes, and then click “SEND”. It’s quick and easy, which means you are saving time. Here are a few ideas for email templates:

This image shows a teacher typing on a computer. Using a computer to plan, stay organized and create templates for emails is a great time saving tip for teachers.
  • Reminders to Parents: Quick notes to send in the field trip form, return paperwork sent home, child’s homework, parent meeting, etc.
  • Newsletter: Create sections for academic notes, upcoming events, reminders, or anything else parents need to be in the loop on.
  • Super Star Student: This template is powerful and has endless possibilities to share wonderful news with parents. Create a Super Star template that can be used to celebrate the student who learned something new after much trial and error. A shout out to the student who put in extra time and effort to get through a challenging task or situation, or to the student who went above and beyond to help out a classmate. The possibilities are endless! Having a template set up makes it super easy to be intentional about sharing something positive with families. What parent wouldn’t love seeing this positive Super Star Student email in their inbox?!

Tip #7 – Batch Similar Tasks  

Batching tasks simply means doing similar tasks together in order to save time and work with greater efficiency.  As teachers, our To-Do list is never-ending. We try to multitask, thinking that we are saving ourselves time. For me, this never quite works out, though! I often end up spending more time bouncing from task to task. Batching tasks allows our brain to settle into a rhythm and reduces cognitive overload.  This time tamer will leave you feeling less stressed and able to get more done. Examples of batching include:

  • Make all of your calls and emails in one block.
  • Plan for the whole month at once.
  • Run errands around the school at one time. This can include returning books to the library, dropping a message off in the office, and making copies.
  • File all student papers at one time or grade all at once for the week.

Tip #8 – Copy with Purpose

This one goes along with the idea of batching similar tasks, but I think it deserves its own category too! If you’re running to the copier daily, this can be a real time-sucker. Instead, keep a bin of items that need to be copied for the upcoming weeks and do it all at once. I like to pop a post-it on each one with the following info for quick and easy access:

  • Number of copies
  • Single-sided or double-sided
  • Stapled or paper clipped together
  • White or colored paper
  • Page numbers needed

This will come in handy if you find yourself standing at the copier and can’t recall what you need to make. It also helps if you have a parent volunteer! They can quickly see what is needed for each copy task. You’ll save time by doing this task all at once and avoid having to run back to the copier later.

Tip #9 – Enlist Parent Helpers

Parent helpers can help you save time and keep your classroom working efficiently.

As I mentioned above, parent helpers can be such a valuable asset in saving time! If your school allows parent helpers, I highly recommend taking advantage of this! By having parents help with homework packets, copying, preparing center materials, cutting out art project pieces, and even managing center groups – you will save so much time! Send out a letter at the beginning of the year with available jobs for parents to sign up for. Some parents might not be able to come into the classroom, but they are often willing to take work home to help you. Be sure to make that an option as well for those who would like to help. This is one of my favorite time-saving tips that parents really enjoy as well!

Tip #10 – Set Up for Tomorrow

Set aside time at the end of each day to prepare for the following day. Here are some things you might consider doing:

  • Set out papers that you will need
  • Write the day’s schedule on the board
  • Put student morning work on desks
  • Prep for volunteers

Whatever is on the schedule for tomorrow, save time and prep for it before leaving at the end of the day.  Taking this little bit of time will set you up for success and less stress in the morning. We’ve all had those times when the principal calls an impromptu meeting, a parent stops in unexpectedly, or a colleague needs your support. Knowing that your day is set up will put your mind at ease!

Tip #11 – Do a Once a Month Purge

This image shows a full trash can in a classroom. Taking time to declutter and throw unneeded items away is an essential time saving tip!

Clutter is one of the biggest time-wasters because it leaves us feeling frazzled and unorganized. I like to put a calendar reminder in my computer or planner for a once-a-month de-clutter session.

This doesn’t need to take long, and it gets easier each time you do it. Plan on walking around your classroom and looking for piles of paperwork, old materials, and things that aren’t being used. Purge the trash and donate things that are still useful to others. This takes intention to carry out but in the long run, it will be a huge time-saver!

Classroom Management

Our next section in this round-up of time-saving tips for teachers includes ideas for classroom management. These tips will help you save time in your teaching blocks and ensure that everyone is on task! Test these out with your kiddos to see what works best in your room.

Tip #12 – Teach Routines From The Start

This time-saving tip is one that you likely already know the importance of, but it’s a big one so I’ll mention it anyway! One of the best ways to save time in the classroom is to work hard at teaching routines and procedures. This is especially true during those first few weeks of school. This isn’t just for kindergarten!

All students can benefit from being reminded of the proper way to come into the classroom, line up, prepare to switch for centers, and so on. As a rule of thumb, focus on transition times in your classroom. Those tend to be the most “messy” when it comes to getting off task. Taking some time to focus on these things early in the year will save you so much time (and energy) later!

Tip #13 – Embrace Classroom Jobs

Students LOVE to help! If you’re a teacher in the primary grades, this can be especially true. Embrace this by making sure everyone has a job in your classroom to help save time and keep things running smoothly. I like to have jobs rotate week so that each student will get a chance to do every job during the year at least once. I would display the class jobs and change them out every Monday morning. You can give each student a job or have just a few job helpers at a time. Choose what works best for you.

Some jobs to consider might be a paper passer, paper collector, trash monitor, pet feeder, library monitor, calendar helper, line leader, pencil sharpener, door holder, and office messenger. Think of things that you often do in your classroom, and consider if these duties can be delegated to students instead. Once everyone knows their role, you might be surprised how smoothly things run in your room!

Tip #14 – Use Cross-Curricular Teaching

By teaching multiple subjects on the same topic you can save time planning and prepping.

One of my favorite ways to make the most of our time is to use a cross-curricular teaching approach. We all know that time for science and social studies is limited. So why not infuse these topics into other subjects of learning like ELA and math? This gives us opportunities to explore fun, and engaging new topics while also touching on many different skills all in one teaching block! I love using a unit like this one on pumpkins or this one on rocks to do just that! Using this format in the classroom helps to make the most of our time, and keep kiddos interested in our lessons too.

Tip #15 – Make the Most of Center Time

Are you making the most of your center time in the classroom? Centers offer a unique opportunity for students to practice important skills and standards when strategically planned for. This isn’t the time for “busy work” or “fluff” so you can work with small groups. Instead what we want is to help our students get the MOST out of center time while you’re giving one-on-one attention to small groups.

How do we do this? Be intentional about choosing center activities that focus on skills you want students to be working on. Make sure that these activities are things you have already taught so that students can work independently. By choosing center activities that help students get the practice they need, you’ll save time and free up more opportunities to cover new material!

Tip #16 – Use No-Prep & Digital Resources

digital sight word practice for Google Slides

I am a huge fan of hands-on learning activities, but when it comes to saving time – no-prep resources can come in really handy! Because of this, I like to balance my classroom lessons. I use a mix of hands-on centers and games along with digital resources and no-prep pages. This makes it quick and easy to sneak in extra practice with things like sight words, while saving time on activity prep!

Tip #17 – Have “Just in Case” Activities Ready

There is nothing worse than having some time to spare in the classroom and no plan to use it. If you’ve ever found yourself in this predicament it can be really frustrating! After all, you have so many things to cover, but if you aren’t prepared with ready-to-go activities, you end up losing what could have been a useful block of time.

Because of this, I recommend having some fun and easy review games on hand and ready to go for these times in the classroom. BINGO, Scoot, or I Have, Who Has are all great whole-group games that can help you make the most of your time and sneak in some review when the opportunity arises!

Time-Saving Tips for Home

School is only one small piece of the puzzle when it comes to time-saving tips for teachers! We’ve got a home life too, right?! While it might not seem related, I’ve found that getting things in order at home, can actually have a BIG impact on my time spent at school too!

Tip #18 – Order Groceries

Ordering groceries is a great way to save time when you aren't at school This time-saving tip is the perfect way to multitask.

Few people I know enjoy grocery shopping. The time it takes to go down the aisles only to find out that many of the items on your list are out of stock, the time you waste waiting in line to check out, the time it takes to unpack and put things away. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Why not sit back in your PJ’s with your coffee and order all of your grocery needs online? No more wasting gas, wasting time in line, or hauling groceries in the rain.  You can save time by having them delivered to your home or picking them up at the store! I like to schedule a grocery pick-up for mid-week before the weekend rush and grab it on my way home from school.

Tip #19 – Meal Planning

Pick a day each week to sit down and plan your meals.  Once you know what meals you will be preparing, it is easy to make a list and shop. Planning ahead will take the guesswork out of what to make and save you time. Want to save even more time? Make a list of 10-12 of your favorite meals and the items needed and create a rotating schedule for meals. You’ll save time having an already prepared a list of your family’s favorite meals (a win!) and having a grocery list ready to go ahead of time.

Tip #20 – Make a Lunch-Packing Cheat Sheet

This goes hand-in-hand with meal planning! Most teachers bring their lunches for school, not to mention they often need to pack lunches for their kiddos too! If you’re the primary lunch packer in your household, consider making a quick cheat sheet to make this process easier and faster.

On my cheat sheet, I have a list of food categories to pick from that will help me build a balanced lunch. Some of the ideas on mine include fruits, veggie sides, protein options, and favorite, easy meal ideas. For example, if you find a salad combo that you love, add this idea to your list. As busy teachers, we’re often going a million miles a minute, and simple things like this can slip our minds. I love having a list of go-to lunch combos that I can glance at to make the most of my time! When you sit down to plan your dinners for the week, use your cheat sheet to plan lunches too, then make your list and place your grocery order!

Tip #21 – Slow Cooker Meals

Make cooking dinner a breeze by using a slow cooker.

Speaking of meals, what’s better than coming home from a long day and being greeted with the delicious aroma of a home-cooked meal that is ready and waiting?! This is especially lovely in those first few weeks of school, or after a break when you’re feeling a bit frazzled! Just prep your crock pot items the night before, place them in the crock pot in the morning, push the button, and out the door you go! You’ll be able to enjoy a more relaxing evening with this MVP of time-saving tips! My favorite crock-pot has a delayed start so that I could make sure everything was cooked just the right amount of time and not overcooked.

Tip #22 – Outfit Prep for Everyone!

Set your morning up for less stress by taking time to pick out your outfit (including jewelry and shoes) the night before. There is nothing worse than starting your day in your closet trying to decide what to wear and then finding out the outfit you chose has a stain. Take a few minutes each night to hang your outfit and your jewelry out so that you don’t have to think about it. 

If you’re someone with littles of your own, I also recommend having the whole family start doing this as well. As a mama, it will take tons of stress off your plate in the morning knowing that everyone knows exactly what to wear for the day! No more missing shoes as you’re trying to get out the door!

Tip #23 – Try Short, Daily Cleaning Tasks

This tip is very similar to ensuring your classroom is prepped and ready for the day, except now we’re focusing on your home. This is one of my favorite time-saving tips because it avoids having to do tasks twice or spend a whole Saturday deep cleaning your home. To employ this strategy, think about common “problem areas” in your home. Maybe you’ve got tons of laundry, or never-ending dishes, or your floors need more love than you’re giving them.

This time-saving tip is for the house. Say goodbye to cleaning all day on Saturday. Instead break your cleaning up into small chunks and enjoy your weekend.

Write these tasks down and then think about what you could accomplish in a daily, 20-30 minute “power cleaning” window. Can you start a load of laundry, run the vacuum on the bottom floor, and load the dishwasher? Whatever it is for you, write down these tasks and choose a time when you’ll do them. I personally LOVE getting these done in the morning! Then I come home to a house that feels clean and tidy. But if this doesn’t work with your schedule, try doing your daily tidying tasks as soon as you get home.

You can also try choosing a cleaning task for each day if your home doesn’t require daily upkeep. For example, maybe you clean the kitchen on Monday, do the floors on Tuesday, do laundry on Wednesday and Thursday, and bathrooms on Friday. No matter what you choose, breaking your cleaning tasks into smaller chunks helps reduce overwhelm, and save time in the long run because you’ll be using a set schedule to keep things tidy!

Tip #24 – Delegate Household Responsibility

What is it about teachers that makes us feel like we must carry the weight of the world on our shoulders? Maybe it’s just me, but I certainly find myself feeling like I MUST do all.the.things. on my own. Unless you live alone, this probably isn’t true. While some of us might be in a season with very young children or lack of help, many of us do have others in our households who can help. This is one of those BIG time-saving tips that we often forget about! If you have a spouse, older children, or other family members in your home consider delegating some of the household tasks.

Even young children can learn to put away their laundry, clean up toys, and help out with cleaning. You don’t have to do it all teacher-friend! I know it’s hard, but if you have others in your home, consider asking for some help!

Tip #25 – Use a Sunday Routine

Take a little time to rest, recharge and reset during the weekend.

We’ve all heard of the Sunday scaries. . . you know that feeling in your stomach that the weekend is over? Instead of dreading Sunday evening, make a routine for yourself that will make it easier to get back in the swing of things for the week. This will look different for everyone, but essentially it should be a short, simple list of tasks that will help you ensure you’re prepared for the week. On my list, I have:

  • pack up my school bag
  • check upcoming events on the calendar (parties, sports practice, church events, etc.)
  • check with kids on homework projects due
  • make sure meals are planned for the week
  • REST + RECHARGE (take a bath, read a book, or take a nap!)

Were you expecting that last one? I know it doesn’t seem like resting can be a productive way to save time, but over the years I have learned it actually is! When I am fully rested and ready for the week, I waste less time, I’m more focused, and I get more done. This is my favorite time-saving tip and sanity-saving tip, so don’t skip it! Get some rest, teacher-friend!

Pin These Time-Saving Tips for Teachers

I hope these tips and tricks help you take some time back for yourself and help to set you up for success both in the classroom and at home. Pin this post on Pinterest so you can come back to it when you need a refresher or share it with a friend.

There are so many demands put on teachers in the classroom that it can often seem difficult to stay on top of things! However, these 25 time saving tips for busy teachers will help you to optimize your classroom and personal responsibilities so you can save time and reduce stress as a teacher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join

the Conversation

Teacher collaboration is unlike any other profession. Come join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram! On our own we can do great things - but together we are even better! Come share your thoughts and ideas. Come learn from others. Everyone is welcome and together we will be better!
Join the Conversation