Balancing act

Every morning I meet with my Head Teacher and Deputy Head for a briefing meeting. Some days the meetings last for 15 mins, other days they last for 45 mins. Inevitably I find myself jotting things down throughout the meeting – making notes about things cropping up I need to do and things that I realise have slipped my mind. This has become the norm for me and my trusty planner ensures that it’s at least all in one place (see my previous blog post).

Last week somebody at work made a comment which stuck with me. The comment was something along the lines of “If someone cannot complete their work in their set hours then they are not working efficiently. Working excess hours doesn’t mean they’re doing more”. This made me think – am I working too hard? Should I be working less hard and more smartly?

I recently cut my hours down, not by much – just a few hours a week, in an attempt to achieve a better work life balance. So now I’m contracted to work 32 hours but regularly get to work early so am clocking up roughly an additional 8 hours a week. So am I in the minority? Are all the other school business professionals out there easily fitting their workload in to 35 hours? I’m inclined to think not but I’m now doubting the efficiency of my work practices. Why am I not sticking strictly to my 8am to 4pm contracted hours then?

Having given this some thought I’ve made a list of some of the things I could cut down on or give up all together in order to streamline my day:

1. Morning playground duty where I greet all the children as they walk in to school

2. Attending assemblies when important messages are being delivered or whole school projects being launched

3. Having an open door policy where staff can catch me to bring up queries they have when they can get out of class for a moment.

4. Attending full governors meetings that aren’t relating to finance matters

5. Stopping work to walk around school and see what’s happening once in a while

6. Popping in to the admin office to see how my team are and to give the cakes to keep them going.

7. Eating lunch with the children

Now reducing or ceasing all of these things would give me significantly more time to get on with bank reconciliations, budget reports, HR work and all those riveting things. However, I see each of these things as beneficial to my role and the school so I actually don’t want to give them up. Isn’t it part and parcel of working in a school? Or have I got this all wrong? I don’t think I’m being inefficient, I’m just happy to put the extra time in to make sure I’m doing a good job.

If there is a magical formula for fitting all the work of a School Business Professional neatly into 35 hours then please, somebody let me know!

Fellow SBMs – what do you say about this? I’d love to know.

4 Replies to “Balancing act”

  1. I long for a 35 hour week! What I have found, is it takes great discipline to keep the balance. Take work email of your phone and any devices at home. Remember that you will get paid, exactly the same this month as last month and next month, irrespective of how the work gets done. I agree, the ‘extras’ are what makes it special; Autumn 2 is my favourite in the build-up to Christmas. Pausing outside the hall doors to listen to ‘Humphrey the Camel’, catching the smirks of my fellow ELT mbersasi brush of the glitter from EYFS, as I prepare for my next adult meeting…


  2. Great bit of advise. Trying hard to implement 5 minutes meetings in a regular basis is tough but almost becomes compulsory!


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