10 Trusted Time Management Tips for Piano Teachers

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What time management tips for piano teachers worked for you in 2022?

As we look ahead to a new year, I know many of us piano teachers are considering how we can better manage our time in 2023. Your time is precious, yet so often it’s easy to get distracted by dozens of small things that suck time from our already-busy schedules.

I’m constantly looking for ways to “work smarter, not harder;” because if anything, life is never slowing down!

Recently, I conducted some informal research in a few piano teacher Facebook groups and have compiled the results to create the best time management tips for piano teachers in 2023.

Maybe you already have a favorite tool, resource, program, course, or app that helps you stay on track, promotes efficiency, and helps you manage your time throughout the day.

But maybe you’ll find a new tool to add to your piano teaching toolbox. I know I got some ideas by reading what others shared!

There were so many incredible responses to my question! In this article I’ll be sharing 10 time management tips for piano teachers.

 

If you read nothing else about time management for piano teachers, read this!

I’ll start with a bonus tip because it’s my biggest tip for time management for piano teachers.

Know where your time is going so you know where you can spend it the wisest.

If you’re just living your daily life only hitting your big-schedule items (like, teaching a piano lesson), you might actually be wasting hundreds of minutes without even realizing it!

The first step is not to purchase planners, calendars, download a dozen apps, and sync all your digital tools (though that’s not a bad idea).

My first time management tip for piano teachers is to write down what you already do.

From there, you will have the foundation to implement change where you know it’s needed.

And from there, you can start experimenting with these 10 time management tips for piano teachers!

 

1) Write down your plans

Yes, we live in a digital age. However, this doesn’t mean that paper is extinct or useless.

In fact, many piano teachers find paper resources to still be their best go-to when trying to manage their time wisely.

Here’s a break-down of old-school resources that can help piano teachers with time management:

  • A wallet-sized appointment/date book
  • Jotting down quick reminders on sticky notes
  • Separate clip boards for attendance, billing info, and assignments you can switch between quickly
  • Printed planner

Writing things down on paper (whether it’s in a planner or sticky note) is actually scientifically proven to help you remember it better (see Forbe’s article, “Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them“).

This means that when you write down your goals, reminders, schedule, and more, you’re already putting yourself on the fast-track to have better time management as a piano teacher!

Writing things down also enables you to remember what’s coming up so you can decide what needs to go where in the perfect slot in your schedule.

You can also take it one step further and intentionally plan quarterly reviews for your piano studio. If you need help with that, read The Importance of a Quarterly Review for Your Piano Teaching Business.

 

2) Keep an active calendar

By far, one of the best time management assets to keep you on track is a calendar or schedule.

There are many different calendar options out there.

  • Google calendar for schedule blocking
  • My Music Staff calendar
  • Phone calendar
  • Google Sheets
  • Printed calendars

When you’re working on your calendar, remember to put down absolutely everything you need to. 

Schedule your piano lessons, yes, but also block out time for personal projects (even as simple as washing clothes), family events, down time, etc.

If you’re using a digital calendar, you have the benefit of setting reminders (Google Calendar & My Music Staff will email reminders and phone calendars will send a reminder notification). 

If you don’t know how to utilize all the options for your chosen digital calendar, search a tutorial on YouTube. 

You just might find hidden gems that will make the calendar invaluable to your time management as a busy piano teacher.

 

3) Log into a digital planner

Maybe you need something a little bigger than just calendars and notebooks, though.

I like having everything in one place with my Piano Teacher Digital Planner for GoodNotes on iPad.

Unlike most generic planners, this is designed specifically with piano teachers in mind.

That means it has all your go-to generic calendars, to-do lists, and charts, but it also has added pages for student information, recital planning, tax write-offs, and more.

You can get a better look inside my Piano Teacher Digital Planner here:

 

Get Piano Teacher Digital Planner here.

4) Use online software/apps for time management

There are countless tools to help piano teachers with time management. Many of these are not specific for piano teaching, but we’re a versatile bunch and can make them work for us.

If you like using online tools that are available across all digital platforms, here are some suggestions. Each of these have different strengths that you can explore.

  • Notion (note taking app)
  • Acuity for booking, payment, and scheduling
  • Monday (project management tool) 
  • Asana (project management tool)
  • Trello (project management tool)
  • ClickUp (project management tool)
  • Meistertask (project management tool)
  • Todoist (to-do list app)
  • Focusmate (co-working platform)
  • ATracker (time tracker app)
  • TogglTrack (time tracker app)

The tool that has personally helped me the most in time management as a piano teacher is Monday.

I use the conversation points like sticky notes and dump all my thoughts in there. It’s a great place to work through projects easily both individually and with others!

It’s technically a project management tool, but I use our weekly to-do lists for time management also.

I used to have a Google Doc where I kept my to-do lists and reminders and it got so messy I didn’t even know where I was anymore!

Using Monday has definitely helped my sanity! If you’re curious about Monday, sign up for a free account with my link and we’ll both get some free items to use in our accounts!

One tip about online software: don’t get hung up trying it all.

Choose one online software that looks like it works with your personality and make it a point to use it every day for three months.

By then, you should know if it fits your style or if you need to try something else.

 

5) Employ Mindset/Mental Focus Games

One of the biggest ways to get into good time management as a piano teacher is to use mindset and mental focus games.

I love these ideas other piano teachers shared!

“Do it now! Or before the end of the day otherwise…pandemonium follows!” (Angela F.)

 

“Post your teaching schedule somewhere to help you realize where you have little bits of time you can use to be productive.” (Sarah M.)

 

“Keep a notebook handy at all times to write down tasks that you need to complete. Write those things down as soon as you think of them. Then refer to that list during your office time and personal time.” (Rebecca B.)

There are so many ways to play a mental game to accomplish the tasks you need to and manage your time better as a piano teacher.

Two good ones are the 5-minute game and prioritizing 3.

 

The 5-minute game

What can you accomplish in five minutes?

Probably a lot more than you think.

Look at your schedule and find all your little 5-minute slots and plan small projects you can accomplish in those 5-minutes.

I can guarantee you that you’ll surprise yourself with how much you can get done in those moments you usually scroll social media because “you don’t have time for anything.”

 

Prioritize 3

Every day when you sit down with your to-do list, decide what your big-3 projects are for the day.

If you get nothing else done, focus on just those three things.

This not only helps you get focused in time management, but it also helps relieve stress because you no longer have twelve things you’re trying to cram into your piano teaching day.

 

6) Set a Timer

timer image for time management tips for piano teachers

 

There is something about a timer that is psychologically proven to help us be more productive.

When the timer is on…

  • phone is off (or on do-not-disturb)
  • emails & social media are ignored
  • your focus is 110% on your task
  • no multitasking

You can set your timer for 5 minutes, 10, 15, 30, 60… be realistic with the goal at hand.

Or, you can use the Pomodoro Technique and set your timer for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break.

Also, if you tend to run over lesson times, set yourself a timer that is 3-5 minutes before the lesson ends to remind yourself to wrap things up!

 

7) Automate what you can

We don’t always realize the small things that suck so much time from our day.

My Music Staff is one of my favorite tools to help me get tasks off my list–like sending automated invoices and calendar reminders to students (if you are curious about My Music Staff, read my article, My Music Staff: The Best Studio Management Software For Piano Teachers).

But think about automation beyond just piano teaching. 

Where else can automation help you in time management? 

Do you still write checks to your utility companies? Can they be automated? 

Try to make it a habit to ask yourself if a certain repeated task can be automated.

 

8) Hire Someone to Help

We somehow get into the ditch of thinking we have to do everything by ourselves. 

In reality, this probably hurts our time management the most! 

We only have 24 hours in a day, and half of those hours are needed for sleeping, eating, and regular daily activities.

Nicole B. says, “I now have a VA, which is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

Hiring someone to do the tedious tasks can save you money and time in the long run.

There are so many good virtual assistants out there who can handle a lot of your online business aspects.

But maybe you don’t have to look that far. If you can’t afford to hire a VA, maybe you can barter lessons with a talented parent or teen who can do some of your tasks for you.

Or maybe you need to hire a babysitter so you can focus on your lesson planning, music prep, parent correspondence, and other admin tasks during the day. 

When you have someone else helping you bear the load it will really help you learn how to prioritize what tasks need to be done that day, which tasks you can delegate, and which tasks you personally have to dig in and accomplish.

 

9) Reward yourself

I am so glad to mention rewards as a time management tip! 

Sometimes, even the smallest reward can keep us moving towards our goal.

What raises your dopamine?

Chocolate? A warm bath? A movie? 

The reward might be different for each person, but if you “dangle the carrot” at the end of your to-do list, it will inspire you to start managing that time better!

 

10) Remember to rest

I know, it doesn’t seem like rest is a good time management tip for piano teachers, but it really is.

If we keep running ourselves ragged, all of our time management efforts will go to waste.

So as you look into calendars, schedules, apps, timers, and more, don’t forget to allow yourself to rest so you can be the best piano teacher and musician you can be!

 

What time management tips for piano teachers would you add to this list? 

There are so many wonderful ideas out there for piano teachers’ time management techniques! Please leave a comment and let us know your best time management tips!

 

Special Thanks…

I could not have written this blog post without the help and ideas of fellow teachers.

Thank you, Dianna L., Jenny R., Katie C., Geoffrey K., Carrie C., Laurel S., Rebekah F., Dorothy B., Nancy M., Takenya B., Tiffany S., Bethany Turpin., Angela Fogg., Sarah M., Rebecca B., Nicole B., Karri M., Alison W., KeyAngelina B., Mary W., Isabella L., Risha R., Lisa B., Lynda J., Eduardo O., Lucia F.

 

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Melody Payne

Melody Payne

Dr. Melody Payne is a pianist, teacher, and educational resource author who believes that all piano students deserve the best musical experiences possible, in every single lesson. Melody self-publishes pedagogical materials for piano students as well as piano teaching articles and professional development courses for piano teachers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association. Melody and her husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches children and adults of all ages and abilities in her online piano studio.

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Welcome!

Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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