10 Ways to Prevent Aging/Burnout

A nice cheery topic for you all today

head in hands

It’s been a tough ten years.

It’s been a wonderful ten years as well in many ways, but working two or three jobs, six or seven days a week for years on end takes its toll.

Some days I just want to give up.

A few times I have felt completely crushed and unable to teach.

Burnout is real, and is a major danger to teachers as teaching is one of those jobs that you can’t stop at 5pm and leave behind at the office.

Right now I am enjoying myself again, but it was a close thing a few times.

As far as I can tell, there are a few ways to reduce the chance of burnout. Coincidentally, all of them are likely to make you happier too 🙂

10 Ways to Reduce the Chance of Burnout

  1. Autonomy -the more control you have over your work, the more you will enjoy it
  2. Collaboration -working together with others on projects
  3. Comrades -working with people you respect who are easy to work with
  4. Growth -your job changes as you get more experienced or your interests evolve
  5. Health -exercise and good food
  6. Purpose -if you believe in what you are doing it is more satisfying
  7. Rest -having some time off regularly, preferably one or two days a week
  8. Results -seeing results makes it all worth it
  9. Rewards -financial or otherwise, being rewarded for your efforts makes a big difference
  10. Sleep -getting enough every day, not just recharging at the weekend

One of my major goals this year is to work on these for myself. There is no point in succeeding at work if it destroys your enjoyment of life.

How about you? Are you heading for burnout?

29 Mar 2016, 6:08am
career expectations



It’s so easy to get pulled off course

The waves crashed between the towering cliff of Scylla and the jagged rocks of Charybdis

I thought I had my priorities fairly sorted out. You may have seen my now page. I was really enthusiastic about Derek Sivers’ hell yeah or no manifesto.

Normally this works pretty well, but unexpected opportunities can put you on tilt.

Last week I had one of those opportunities. I was offered a chance to work on a prestigious project. It didn’t align with my goals 100%, but paid well and might have led to further similar projects.

This week I am planning to turn it down. If I took it it would prevent me from focusing on the really important things.

It’s not hard to say no to boring or unpleasant work. It is really hard to say no to interesting work with lots of potential.

But maybe that’s the key to success.

New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions

A plan for the 2016 academic year


Here in Japan the academic year runs from April until March, so we are coming up to the start of the 2016 one.

I have a few projects and plans:

  1. New ‘high-level’ classes at Tohoku University
    From this year the university has introduced new high-level classes that students can choose to join instead of their regular English classes. This is a new system so we are not sure what it is going to look like. Assuming I get some students (it’s not certain, particularly for my Friday evening class!) I will be teaching advanced extensive reading classes and an advanced discussion class on the topic of personal finance. Very much looking forward to both of these.
  2. PELLT (practical English language learning and teaching) website
    This is a new website aimed at bringing together all our content, from self-produced work such as the ER@TU manual and the about-to-be-released PDR discussion method handbook, to curated links for learners and teachers. I’m very excited about PELLT and look forward to sharing more as it develops.
  3. A few writing projects that I can’t talk about yet 🙂
    I’ll post more about these if progress happens (certainly not a sure thing based on looking at my to-do list).
  4. More on sendaiben.org and retirejapan.info
    I’m planning to write more regularly for my two remaining blogs. Please share any content you enjoyed on social media -it really helps me to reach more people.
  5. Year two at the Cambridge Academy
    The other teachers at Cambridge just reorganized the reading classroom and it looks great. Looking forward to seeing the program develop as it goes into its second year. I’m particularly interested in how students progress -having students going into the second year of the program is uncharted territory.
  6. Doing less
    I am hoping to cut down on the number of things I do, so I can put more time into the remaining ones. If all goes to plan I’ll be teaching fewer classes and taking on fewer projects. This is something I struggle with but after fifteen years working flat out I need to find a bit of balance in my life.

How about you? Anything interesting on the horizon?

Doing Stuff: the Art of Productivity



I wrote a long post about productivity on my personal finance blog today. Wasn’t really sure which blog to put it on (it kind of fits both) so cross-posting here.

Check it out!


29 Feb 2016, 9:17am
blogging expectations




Today is a Leap Day so I am going to write a retrospective post.

I started this blog over ten years ago, on Blogger. Since then I have moved it to my own domain using WordPress and written 359 posts. This will be post 360.

It’s not the most successful blog, mainly because I haven’t been consistent in putting time and effort into it, and also because the teacher blog space is a little bit crowded. Lots of teachers with things to share and time on their hands out there 🙂

The main achievement is the longevity, I guess. Eleven years and counting.

I’ve enjoyed sharing ideas with people and reading their comments. The blog has 941 comments (although at least half of those are probably mine).

WordPress tells me the blog has had 137,448 views.

My most popular post by far is the throwaway one I wrote about bungee jumping. By a factor of at least ten.

There is also a sendaiben Youtube channel, with 7,390 views so far. It mainly has videos of my presentations, but I am thinking of putting more effort into it by making some shorter videos on teaching topics.

Looking back, there is a fair amount of good content on here, but it’s hard to find. I should probably go back and curate old posts, either putting them into ebook format or making better categories. Another project for the to-do list? I’m actually writing a post about to-do lists and productivity at the moment.

So there you go. More than you wanted to know about sendaiben.org.

How about you? How do you see this site? What would you like to see more of?

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • %d bloggers like this: