I’ve always loved setting big goals (and then achieving them!) but I’m starting to realise that creating positive habits is even more effective. We all know how important it is to cultivate good practice habits, so it makes sense to use the same strategies in our studios. Adopting these weekly habits for music teachers will definitely make your life better!
Maintaining habits isn’t easy, but even if I only manage to complete a couple of these tasks each week, I know my music studio (and life!) is going to be a lot more organised and productive.
1. Write Down Your Weekly Tasks
Getting into the habit of writing down your weekly (or daily) tasks makes it so much more likely that you’ll A. remember them, and B. complete them.
Whether you prefer to organise your thoughts via paper or digital, there are so many planning options around you’ll definitely find one that suits you. Although I love Evernote for staying organised, I need a paper planner for keeping track of my many (many!) lists and goals. I’ve recently started a bullet journal, and love my Scribbles That Matternotebook.
Action Step: make a list of your top tasks for the week in your planner, then add any specific tasks to your daily or weekly to do list.
2. Check Your Schedule & Appointments for the Week
Make sure you have a master calendar or planner where you can record all the appointments and events you have scheduled through online calendars, Facebook events, emails, school newsletters, paper invitations…
I love Google Calendar for keeping track of what’s happening over the next few months (it syncs with Facebook events, Music Teachers Helper, and My Music Staff to make life even easier) and I also have an old-fashioned paper version of my weekly schedule I update every Sunday.
Action Step: look through your calendars and notices for any appointments or events happening this week, then make sure they’re all included in your master calendar.
3. Plan Dinners for the Week
Working out what to have for dinner every. single. night is one of my least favourite parts of life. Planning meals in advance definitely makes this more bearable, but I’m always looking for ways to make it even easier. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Have themed cooking nights (like Taco Tuesday or Friday Pizza)
- Share cooking duties with other family members
- Get ahead with some meal prep on the weekend
- Learn to love your slow cooker
- Join a meal subscription service (like Hello Fresh)
Action Step: grab your planner and write down what you’ll be having for dinner every night this week.
4. Get Ahead with Lesson Planning
There are so many elements and activities to include in music lessons, and trying to fit everything into a 30, 40 or 60 minute block is a challenge! Having an effective method for planning lessons makes everything easier, and means that you’re more likely to find the time to cover everything you need.
I love using the lesson planning template from the Free Resource Library (which you can download for free!).
Action Step: write down a couple of activities to try with each of your students this week.
Related: make lesson planning easier with these Tips and Tricks to Simplify Lesson Planning
5. Prepare Teaching Resources
Does this sound familiar? You come across a great new resource or activity that sounds perfect for one of your students, save it (to Pinterest, Evernote, or your computer) then promptly forget about it. By making a regular time to review, and then actually prepare the amazing new resource, you’ll be able to use it with your students this week!
Action Step: check through the resources you’ve recently saved and choose one. Download/print/laminate/work out how to use it, then have it ready to go for your first lesson of the week.
Related: if you’re looking for some new lesson resources check out the Free Resource Library
6. Schedule Marketing
Regular marketing is so important for a thriving music studio, but it’s easy to forget about it until we have spaces to fill in our lesson schedule! Instead of ignoring marketing unless we really need it (guilty!) it’s a much better idea to focus on
If you’re not sure what needs your attention, then pick something from this list:
- Write a newsletter to your current students
- Schedule a week’s (or month’s!) worth of posts on you studio Facebook page
- Update one page on your studio website
- Ask a former or current student for a testimonial
- Update a business listing you have on another website
- Update your marketing plan
Action Step: choose one or two marketing tasks, schedule some time and get them done!
7. Update Your Studio Accounts
Confession: once I avoided reconciling my studio accounts for a whole year! I use (and love) Wave Accounting, which is connected to my accounts and automatically uploads transaction details, so a lot of the work was already done for me. But tax time was a lot harder than it needed to be!
Since then I make the effort to look over my accounts every week and keep on top of entering any payments, invoices, and receipts.
Action Step: check your transactions for the previous week, then reconcile (or enter the details) in your accounting software.