Save planning time with our top 10 hacks

Learning Intention: To save some precious time when planning lessons, units of work and assessments.

As teachers, we never have enough time. What if we told you that we could help you save hours by making just a few adjustments to your planning habits?

If you are looking to gain back a few seconds, minutes or hours, check out our top 10 planning time-saving hacks:

1. Templates are your friend. If you don’t have a template your school has given you, take time to create one that you can use over and over. Insert any info that doesn’t need to be changed and copy and paste outcomes.

2. Be a team player – help others and accept help. Find programs from previous years, work with grade partners, ask colleagues, teacher groups on Facebook, Teachers pay Teachers or friends you studied with at university. Asking for help isn’t cheating – it is SMART!

3. Go digital and make your teaching resource your program. Have you ever considered making your actual program the Google slides, smart notebook, PowerPoint that you use to teach the students? Within your presentation, you can also add screenshots of student worksheets, links to video clips or useful websites and images that will engage your students (we teach more about this in our program Transform your First Years).

4. Prep assessments at the beginning (backwards by design) so you have the end in sight. This will keep you on track when planning and teaching.

5. Before you sit down and plan, ask yourself, “Can this lesson be a no frills version?” – not every lesson needs to be an extravaganza.

6. Have you done a similar lesson before that you can tweak or adapt? Repeating similar lessons will also save you in explaining specifics to students because they will already be familiar with the layout.

7. Write programs which are short and concise. Use dot points with abbreviations or acronyms to allow for easy reading and understanding. Make sure you include a key for any acronyms used such WC (Whole class), LA ( Lower ability).

8. Plan your day in point form. Unless it is required of you, the only information that needs to be included is exactly what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

9. Find some simple ways to cut corners if you can (for example: make a general list of resources for an entire unit, copy and paste outcomes, create a master template to work from).

10. Finally, the golden rule of all things planning – Never spend more time on a lesson plan than it will take your students actually to complete it.

In the end, it is important as teachers we work smarter not harder! The more time we save when planning, the more time we will have to dedicate to self-care and doing things we really love.

Before you leave us…

Are you ready to learn how to save hours in your teaching week?

What if you had more time outside of school to do the things you love?




  • Leaving school each day at a reasonable hour.
  • Feeling prepared and ready to teach each day.
  • Less stressed and more in control of your workload.
  • Having systems, templates and checklists in place to make life easier.



Discover our 8 areas of focus that will promote efficiency in all aspects of your teacher life.

Learn how to:

  • Fine tune your time management
  • Take control of your personal organisation
  • Deal with data so you can use it in a meaningful way
  • Spend less time planning
  • Organise digital teaching files
  • Gain hours back in your teaching week

What to read next:

8 Tips for Successful Reading Groups

Time Management Tips – Part 1

Time Management Tips – Part 2

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