By Kathryn Boland
Do you have a certain structure in which you organize your time - such as monthly, weekly, daily, seasonally or annually? Does that help you to organize yourself personally and professionally? We yoga instructors are busy, with many moving parts and pieces to handle. It’s therefore beneficial to have some sort of time framework, fitting within a week or some other set structure of time.
It can help us to have clarity over what we need need to, want to, and can accomplish. This framework of course requires flexibility, as things can change at any point - with new classes, projects, et cetera. We also typically don't work the conventional 9-5 week. We could be working 12 hours on a Sunday, but three on the following Monday and Tuesday. The next Sunday could be free, but we sub several classes on that Monday and Tuesday. An effective framework, and attitude towards it, can help us to organize ourselves in the midst of this inconsistency - rather than being restrictive (as one might first think).
By and large, yoga instructors have weekly classes (apart from substituting other classes and events such as workshops and trainings). I personally frame my time in a weekly structure probably because of that. If using this structure, a first step is to lay out what we want and need to fit within a week. This helps us to see things such as how many classes we can reasonably teach and “sub” within a week. That guides decisions such as our private student rate and which type of classes we seek out. Other things that it's best to account for are sequencing, ongoing Education and Research, promotion and marketing, and even our own practice.
This helps us to stay accountable to ourselves for doing these type of things that we don't technically need to do, but which are certainly helpful professionally. It's helpful to also account for personal things down to the level of housework, shopping, errands and time for family and friends. It can be easier than one might realize to fall behind or otherwise neglect these things, because we truly have no designated weekend or time off - unless we create it - without that conventional 40-hour week.
It’s also wise to account for traveling time. For yoga instructors, that can mean the difference between a feasible or not feasible schedule. So, the pieces are laid out. In a weekly structure, for instance, the next step is delegate things to certain days of the week when they might best fit. Again, it’s best to be flexible and let that shift week to week or in the longer term (because it will most likely have to at some point). All of that being said, let's look at what a yoga instructor’s week might look like.
(All time adds up to 8-12 hrs)
Monday- teaching three classes, one hour each of promotion and research, three hours for travel
Tuesday- teaching one class and a workshop, taking one, networking lunch, two and a half hours for travel
Wednesday- teaching four classes and social media, website work, three hours for travel
Thursday- teaching three classes, subbing one, one hour of reading continuing education materials, two hours for travel
Friday- teaching one class, lunch with a friend, taking a class, personal errands and shopping, two hours for travel
Saturday- teaching one class and one private, taking a class, a family phone call and a movie with a friend, three hours for travel
Sunday- housework, laundry et cetera personal matters - catching up on bills and emails, home practice for sequencing for the following week's classes, personal and professional journaling, meditating, a day at home so no travel
How to put your framework into action? The first step is to get it down in writing, in the way that works best for you, digitally or handwritten. Either way, it can be revised at any point. It might be helpful to periodically look back at it with a mindset towards if any changes would be helpful to you. If digital, you might be able to copy (or otherwise instantly transfer) your schedule into a following week, making any necessary changes.
You could also write this out with longer-term actions and goals of weeks in a month, months in a season, or seasons in a year.
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