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Think of bandwidth as the energy that powers the prefrontal cortex of the brain—the center of executive function. This small area of the brain uses a tremendous amount of energy. We need that energy to make good decisions, focus on cognitively demanding tasks, be patient and empathetic, and engage in necessary self-care, such as eating well. You can increase the amount of “bandwidth” you have using specific behaviors, similar to how you can increase fuel capacity by installing a bigger fuel tank in your car. However, use up bandwidth for one of the above functions and you’ll be running on empty for the others.

For the past five years, we’ve used a validated survey and workshops to help schools and other organizations educate themselves about habits that fuel the brain. The survey provides organizational data indicating whether norms and policies support individual bandwidth.

What Fosters Bandwidth?

Think about conversations you’ve had with family, friends and colleagues. Are conversations about imbalance, frustrations, and concerns? Or, do people feel on top of the following factors:

  • Being satisfied with the balance of work priorities and home priorities?
  • Adequate sleep, healthy diet, and regular exercise?
  • Being able to focus on cognitively demanding tasks, including active listening?
  • Being able to effectively filter through choices for good decisions, whether on the internet or in other information searches?
  • Using electronic devices and social media in energizing, non-distracting ways?
  • Structuring time and schedules?

When we ask leaders this question about their teams, they often react with, “We can’t control what people do outside of their workday!” This is true, but from our research, we know that the No. 1 predictor of how people rate their personal brain “fuel tank” is whether they believe their workplace supports them in keeping that tank full.

Leaders play a crucial role in ensuring that educators have the brain energy they need to be energized, feel a sense of self-efficacy that leads to achievement for their students, work efficiently, act with emotional intelligence, and remain engaged.

If you or your leadership team would like to learn about your current brain energy and bandwidth—your willpower, patience, and concentration capacity—and the practices that will help you and your learning community reclaim energy, passion, and time, contact our team.

Also look for our book, due out by early 2022 entitled: Educator Bandwidth: Reclaiming Your Energy, Passion, and Time.

I really loved my session on Educator Bandwidth! It was such useful information and I felt lighter over the weekend because I was able to sit with other educators that had the same feelings and talk about ways to take better care of ourselves, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I think this course helps us be our best selves in and outside of the classroom. Thank you for offering classes that consider our stress levels & emotional needs

Take The Bandwidth Quiz!

Did you know teaching consistently ranks among the top 20 most stressful professions in the world? Long before you feel the kind of fatigue associated with burnout, you’re losing your ability to be effective, efficient, emotionally intelligent, and engaged in your work (McGonegal, 2011). Why? Because you don’t have enough of what we call “brain energy” and “bandwidth.” Bandwidth is your key to energy, effectiveness, and engagement. Take the bandwidth quiz and see how you are doing.

Educator Bandwidth: How to Reclaim Your Energy, Passion, and Time

It’s time to make your mental bandwidth work for you. Being an educator is more stressful than ever, and teachers and administrators must constantly shift gears to stay on top of the newest initiatives and students’ ever-changing needs. Educator Bandwidth: How to Reclaim Your Energy, Passion, and Time provides the tools and strategies to reduce stress, avoid burnout, and regain the time that gets lost to interruptions, temptations, competing demands, and task-switching. Kise and Holm combine the latest neuroscience research with their own extensive experience working with educators to bring the most effective strategies and habits that help you manage your mental bandwidth and prioritize drains on mental energy. When you can establish good habits, focus on what’s possible within your locus of control, and balance priorities, you can improve your educator bandwidth and feel more engaged, centered, and effective in your work.

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