Bullet Journal Planning
Why I use a bullet journal to plan every aspect of my life.
The short answer is to have control. I mentioned in my ‘ten things you did not know about me’ that I had control issues. I am well aware of it and often embrace it as a positive aspect of my personality. I always plan ahead; if I do not I tend to get stressed and anxious.
Having such a busy life with family, work and hobbies it can often be hard to juggle all these aspects and I have been prone to crack under pressure and let my inner critic take over me. When I discovered Bullet journaling I instantly knew I had found the best of both worlds. I could combine my need to plan with being creative; it also gave me valuable self-care time that helps improve my mental health.
If you want to discover more about my love for bullet journaling you can find my post about it here.
My home planner
I have two different bullet journals; one for home and one for school (work). I find this is much easier for me as I like keeping work and home slightly separate. I am constantly forgetting things so if I had to transfer a bullet journal from home to work and vice versa, I would be forever without it.
Having a book at home means that I can transfer any relevant work dates over into it if I need to. Being a teacher, I tend only to transfer special dates where I will be extra late homes like parents evenings and the school show.
My home book allows me to keep track of all the things I need to do and help me remember the important thing. After becoming a mum I have found my short term memory has disintegrated into candyfloss; I do not hold much of it. This has meant that I have forgotten to do simple things without hours of being told. I use my tasks page to write in anything I need to do that month and gradually cross them off. I even remind myself to check in with my friends as I have a habit of thinking ‘I will text them’ and then weeks later realising I had forgotten.
I also track my ‘month to view’ and add all the dates and activities that are important that month. I transfer in birthdays from my Birthday page, I write in activities we have done that day and when I get chance I add in the weather. I put the picture of the weather to add something interesting to the page other than words. Also, we have had an extremely good summer and it is wonderful to see all those days of sunshine.
Artistic self care
As I have previously mentioned, I combine planning with my artistic hobbies in my bullet journal. I use the journal to doodle, draw, practice my handwriting and lettering skills as well as make the journal look visually appealing. I am going through a phase of drawing mandalas and learning how to do brush script handwriting; it is a slow process but I am improving.
I also have various pages in my bullet journal that are forms of self-care. I have a gratitude page where I write in the things I am thankful for in the month which helps with my mindfulness practice. I have a page where I log the Film and TV I have watched over the month, simply because I forget which shows and films I have seen.
Another self-care activity that I practice is creating a space where I can ‘mind dump’. Being a massive over thinker, I can tend to get caught up in negative thought patterns that can affect my mood. I use the mind dump to write anything that worries me. This helps me because, although my worries are still there, the act of writing them onto paper helps me offload them rather than just swirl around my mind at lightning speed.
One of the newest pages I have started to implement is a board game page. My husband is an avid board game collector and we often spend an evening playing different games. I have started to track the games we play and when and most importantly, who won the game.
My school planner
I leave my work planner at school most of the time. This is because I like to keep my home life and my work life as separate as possible to maintain a healthy work/life balance. It would be impossible to function without a work planner. This is for similar reasons as to why I have a home planner; I tend to forget things within five minutes of being told. I used to have a fantastic memory and would not need to write stuff down but as I get older, my brain needs a helping hand.
Last year I had a simple format for my work planner. I had bought a My Little Pony notebook, pencil case and accessories. I know the idea of a My Little Pony theme for a secondary school teacher is perhaps strange but I find it makes most pupils smile.
How I used it last year
Having placed a simple diary spread at the front I would just dedicate each separate to a week of school. If I had incomplete tasks or future ideas, I would transfer them over to the next week. As a result, my planner looked messy and random. This is the reason I have made changes to this year’s planner.
At the back of my planner, I devoted to my classes and pupils. I would put the class information at the back and any relevant notes I had on them. I would use these pages to plan groups, script work and record important notes. I also glued in the picture sheets of the pupils so that I could identify a pupil quickly if I needed to; this is such a valuable thing when you teach around three hundred pupils a week.
Changes I will make this year
I have decided to move to a dotted bullet journal this year rather than a lined notebook. This means I can easily split my pages up and customise them to suit my needs. I want my school planner to motivate me and keep me thinking positively so I have made some changes.
Self Care at work
Since I have been practising mindfulness, I have learnt about the importance to surround myself with positivity and be kinder to myself. This is why I have dedicated a double spread to quotes that will help me navigate my thoughts when work gets tough. I have also included a gratitude section on each weekly page.
Practising gratitude is an important strategy for me when dealing with the highs and lows of teaching. I find teaching pupils can be such a rewarding job but often the negative aspects can overshadow this. If I log even a few things a week that made me smile or I am grateful for then it will keep me grounded through the stressful times.
My school layout
I have also chosen to split my weekly spread into sections this year. I have created a ‘To Do’ list, reminder section, behaviour log, planning log and a school show log. This means I will be able to organise things better and not just have random notes all over the page in no order. This might not work; when I get busier, I tend to write in my book less which is counterproductive. However, I will make sure I dedicate at least ten minutes a day to checking my book and writing tasks in it.
Every year I say the same thing ‘I will be better planned this year’ and every year I feel like something jumps in to stop me from keeping up with this goal. I hope a customised planner will make it easy to keep track of things. However, I will not beat myself up if I do not use it, after all, I need to do what best serves me at the time.
Mini stationary Haul
Having already acquired a lot of stationary in the past, I was determined to be much more reserved when shopping for stationary this year. I love to browse bargain stores like Poundland, Home Bargains and B & M as you can get some cute pieces that look far more expensive than they are sold for. I had stroll around Poundland and picked up a few goodies in the process.
Pastel oil slick style A4 wallets
A4 envelope wallets are a lifesaver for storing important documents. I often get homework thrown into my hands at random moments and they could easily become lost on my desk. I find putting things that are important in an A4 wallet helps me organise things. Last year a dear friend got me some pink unicorn plastic wallets which I use a lot. I picked these pastel oil slick style wallets because they will work well with my unicorn inspired theme.
Pastel chunky highlighters
I got these, not because I need them, but because I was intrigued. When using my bullet journal, traditional highlighter pens can look too bold. I figured that getting pastel highlights I could use them more easily in my planner.
Zebra mini ballpoint pens
I did not need pens but I figured I would indulge. Zebra pens are great quality and all the colours will be useful. I tend to use a pink pen in my school planner as it adds some colour. I will use the purple pen for marking, the black for important stuff at work and I will give my husband the blue pen as u don’t use them. I like that these are mini pens, they are cute.
Zebra erasable gel pen
This is another experimental purchase. I usually do not use Zebra pens in my planners but I saw that this was a gel pen and it was also erasable. I am continually making mistakes in my planners and this will be great for that. The drying time is quite long however as I had transferred onto the other page when I closed it. It was a good job it was erasable or I would have been on an angry woman.
‘Wake me up when school is over’ notebook
This was an impulse buy and you can see why. I do not need any more notebooks but this spoke to me. It would be certainly interesting if I could sleep through teaching, but life does not go that way. I can still dream though.
I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look at how I plan my life. Do you use a planner? I would love to know about your planning strategies in the comments.
Ciao for now beauties xx