Five for Friday: Be Productive Edition

Hi there! Linking up again with Kacey for Five for Friday!

How exactly is June over already??? I feel like I blinked and now it's July. I guess it's true that the older you get, the faster time seems to move! #notreallyacheerythought

ANYHOW, I felt the summer doldrums kick in hard this week. I started out strong and doing #allthethings...then I had a sleepless night and wasn't feeling the whole SAVERS routine. 

And it was rainy.

And I wanted to watch another episode of OITNB.

And that guy I live with was home at different times than usual, throwing my schedule off.

And I needed a nap.

And just one more episode of OITNB.

And I want to know how the book I was reading ended.

And, wow, it's storming bad...perfect weather for a nap.

And OK, might as well finish OITNB (by the way, did this season make you feel like someone ripped your heart out of your chest and then stomped on it, or was that just me?)

So, yeah, my week derailed pretty quickly. I decided I needed some inspiration to get back on track for July, so I watched a webinar by Queen Angela Watson titled "5 Summer Secrets to a Stress Free Fall." I love Angela and have been using her organization and management strategies since the beginning of my teaching career, and this webinar was exactly what I needed to pull me out of my mini-slump and re-focus my efforts. I am unplugging from everything school/TpT related next week (everything's fine, just taking a planned break!) but after listening to the webinar, I will be ready to tackle my to-do list much more efficiently once my break is over.

I used my TpT/Blog Bullet Journal to take notes!

I'm not going to list her 5 secrets here (I believe there is one more chance to catch the webinar this week, on Saturday), but here are 5 takeaways that I hope to implement in July:

Be totally unplugged when in "work mode"

I have the bad habit of immediately refreshing all my social media tabs/checking my phone for notifications any time I get stuck on a project. Then I see a comment I have to respond to, or get distracted by an email about a sale, or get sucked into a text message...and I end up with a bunch of unfinished projects. I need to stick to a routine of having set times to respond to emails/social media, as well as close non-essential tabs and put my phone in another room when I want to really get work done.

Take care of "big picture work" before school starts

As I've mentioned previously, I took on a few new-to-me roles this year, in addition to teaching two grade levels, so planning ahead is a must. Angela made a great point in the webinar that we know the standards we need to teach and when we need to teach them by, so why not spend a little time this summer plugging them into a pacing map. I always struggle with this because things change so much and then I feel like I worked for nothing, but I just need to accept that change is inevitable and going in with at least a bare bones plan will help me in the long run.

I'm also trying to apply this to TpT by making templates of things I use often, so I can just plug them in to my products and modify as needed. I think this will save me a lot of time and make it easier to create products during the school year.

Leave the house once in awhile

This is something I always say I'm going to do, but never do it. Leaving the comforts distractions of home for a little bit is a good way to force yourself to focus on what you are doing. I'm going to try heading to Starbucks/Panera with a specific task in mind and staying there until it is finished.

Develop systems for things that are important

I'm a creature of habit, so once I start doing something I keep doing it. Two things I know I need a system for when I head back to school are exercise and meal planning. It's unrealistic to think I'm going to want to work out every day once school starts, but I can look at my schedule each week and pick three times I can devote to exercise. I don't need to plan every meal but I can spend some time on Sunday chopping up veggies and prepping some easy meals. Summer is the perfect time to try out/tweak these systems so I can be prepared for the fall...the more prepared I am, the less likely I am to make excuses for myself!

Knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are two different things

If you're anything like me, you have said this to your students...many times! However, do you apply it to yourself as well? I've been spending some time this summer reading/listening to advice from various entrepreneurs and the common thread I notice, despite the field they are in is: they get stuff done. Once they come up with an idea, they plan out the actionable steps to turn that idea into a reality. As I spend the summer building my blog/TpT store, this is the main point I need to remember. I know what I need to do, and the amount of effort that goes along with's time to do it!

I'm always looking for new inspiration! Who are your "go to" people for advice about school, TpT, or just life in general? Let me know in the comments, and don't forget to stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching!


  1. Hi Marianna,
    Sounds like great advice! I am the same way. The advice about leaving the house is really good. I might have to try that. I haven't started Orange is the New Black yet. It's next on my list. I'm finishing Parenthood first. I might have stayed up late this week finishing my 2 books as well. I read Still Life and Wonder. What did you read? Good to "see" you again!
    Joya :)

    1. I love Wonder! I was reading this mystery and I had to keep reading to find out if I predicted the right "bad guy" (I did). Right now I'm reading The Things We Keep and it is breaking my heart!

  2. You're my " go to " person for inspiration! I love your ideas this week and I hope to be putting them into practice this upcoming school year as well.

  3. I love this!! I've been needing this too. Thank you for sharing these ideas!

    Team J's Second Grade Fun

    1. Thank you so much! It'sso hard not to get overwhelmed with everything you want to accomplish over the break!

  4. Good Luck on creating your summer planning schedule! Good idea about the phone. I get distracted easily too! Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

  5. I just watched half of the first episode of OITNB (is that the right acronym?). I think it's great that you're thinking ahead. When you say Queen Angela, do you mean that Teaching 40 Hours a Week? I've been reading about this, but I don't know if it's the same thing.

    Happy 4th of July.

    1. Yes, Angela Watson of the 40 Hour Work Week! If you go to her website,, she has a lot of great free content as well.

  6. Hi,

    I enjoyed reading the time-saving tips. I am a believer in focusing on one task, but it's difficult! I'm still working on it. I'm looking forward to more reading on this!


    1. I know, my mind wanders so easily! I'm taking a social media break to hopefully help me focus better. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  7. Love your productivity tips - especially staying focused and not checking social media (so hard to do!).

    1. I know! I'm going to take a little break from social media to see if it will help me focus better!


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