Whenever two or more teachers gather together, the talk invariably revolves around how much work they do, how late into the night they stay up planning things and how they slave away at weekends and during the holidays as well.
This is all very good if you are managing a hedge fund and looking to retire to Barbados by the time you are 29, but not really worth it when your salary is less than £30k.
It won't surprise you to learn that I never did very much work at all, as I had a wide range of interests outside school to devote my evenings, weekends and holidays to. It may surprise you that the exam results my pupils got were around average for my department. This was partly because I knew about my subject, partly because I knew what was important to pass exams and partly because the department was rubbish.
Most of the work that teachers do is a complete waste of time. Ticking boxes, target setting, elaborate schemes to follow the latest fad, whether it is differentiated learning, group mind mapping or whatever. None of it inspires the kids or helps them get a job. Get yourself an interesting hobby instead.
Working too hard and getting stressed simply isn't worth the effects to your health (and it also makes you a thoroughly boring person). Overdoing it and taking two weeks off sick every year is no better for the pupils than my approach of doing very little but turning up every day.
It is an old adage that nobody ever says on their deathbed "I wish I'd spent more time in the office!" Take this to heart, write it on your classroom wall and make it your aim this week to ignore at least one supposedly vital task that has been set by those above you. Use the time saved to do something you enjoy and if you do get pulled up about it, just say that you were too busy doing (insert fashionable phrase or buzzword) and look a bit flustered. Next time, try and persuade a few others to do the same.
(Remember, the Martyr Ethos that is so prevalent in teaching nowadays just helps you die earlier)