My Bullet Journal Journey: The First Year

1 year of bujo pub.jpg

A year.  365 days. 8700 hours. 525600 minutes. Millions of seconds. A whole year of using my bullet journal to keep myself and my family organised.  It’s made a massive difference in so many ways, but these are the main 8, in no particular order:

  1. My sanity – I’m managing an incredibly busy job, a home and a family.  No longer do I lie awake in the middle of the night wondering if I’ve remembered to get something out of the freezer for tea tomorrow or if I remembered to send off a vitally important piece of paperwork.  It’s done.  Yes things have been missed this year, but it’s normally the stuff that I’ve said ‘I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember that’.  No, I don’t.  Write it down, commit it to paper, complete the task, shade the box.
  2. My diet – As a family we now eat so much more healthily  and waste a lot less food as I’m planning our evening meals.  I’d tried this in the past, but it didn’t always work as I didn’t always remember to check the list or to get the right food out of the freezer or to think ‘I need to have a meal on the table within 20 minutes of walking in the door that evening, lasagne is possibly not the best option’.  I now cross reference my meal planning against my weekly diary and write notes on my dailies to remind myself what I need to get out of the freezer.  This in turn has made a difference to my sanity – getting a meal on the table when you’ve just walked in the door with a ravenous toddler and a tired and grumpy 4 year old is not the easiest of tasks, but when I know exactly what meal I’m going to cook, it makes it so much easier.
  3. My productivity – I realised in the very early days of my bullet journal journey that I was doing so many unnecessary tasks that I had been doing out of habit.  I was also migrating a huge number of tasks because I was procrastinating so much – fill in my assessment software, no I’ll create a phonics game that I don’t really need; do my marking, no I’ll go and have a chat with the teacher in the neighbouring classroom.  Not anymore, get it done is my new motto, get it ticked off. I love being able to walk out of the door on a Friday with a row of neatly shaded boxes on that week’s dailies.
  4. My work-life balance – I’m a teacher, so apparently there’s no such thing.  But, fellow teachers, I’ll let you into a little secret  – there is!  If you find yourself writing down a task in your bullet journal that isn’t going to make a difference to your classroom practice or you’re doing it for the sake of doing it, stop.  You’re only making work for yourself.  Due to my improved productivity, I barely bring home any marking (only long written pieces) and I fill in my assessment software at the end of each week while it’s still fresh in my mind.  Little things, like my Bloom’s Taxonomy collection have sped up my planning. 1 year of bujo 1.jpg
  5. My fitness levels – There’s nothing like the promise of a coloured chart showing your training schedule to get you out of bed and off for a run on a cold morning!  With the help of a fitness tracker each month in my bullet journal I completed my first 10K in April and followed it with my first half marathon in October, raising over £1200 for Bliss.
  6. My Post-it note obsession – is no more.  I used to make notes on a massive number of post-it notes and stick them where I thought they’d be most accessible.  This was in a huge range of places – my diary, my various notebooks, the noticeboard above my classroom desk, the noticeboard above my office desk, around my various computer monitors, on the office door, on the fridge door, on my front door… the list goes on.  These would either be knocked off by children/ other staff/ myself or they’d by left there for so long that they’d fall off and get swallowed up by the hoover.  Everything now gets written in my bullet journal so it can’t disappear into the ether!
  7. My happiness – Every day I record a couple of the ‘Best Things of the Day‘, it’s lovely to be able to look back at these on bad days and realise that it’s not quite as bad as I think. It’s also going to create a lovely record of memories of my boys as they grow up.
  8. My routine – I’ve already knew that having a routine is the only way I cope, my bullet journal has helped me to create more of a routine to help to manage our home.  I use my recurring task flags to help me to remember to do those chores that keep coming back to haunt me.

Today I caught myself looking at the diaries for the new year in our local stationers.  Previously I would’ve taken ages to choose the one that was ‘just right’, though I was never quite sure what qualities that required.  I love the fact that the bullet journal is so adaptable; this month I’ve changed my weekly layout again to suit the changes to my  teaching schedule and I’ve also added in a couple of pages to start planning our Christmas celebrations. Yes, it takes a while to set up each week but I find that enables me to go through the week so that nothing takes me by surprise and gets me prepared to face the week.

The problems only start when I forget my bullet journal – but that’s only happened once in the entire year.

Do you use a bullet journal?  What are the benefits to you?




6 thoughts on “My Bullet Journal Journey: The First Year

  1. My union thought me a very important thing with regards to work-life balance as a teacher: track your work hours and what you do and don’t work more hours than you get paid to work even if you have tasks that you are not done with.

    As a teacher it is so easy to go “I’ll just finish this task for student x, so I’m done with it” and before you know it you’ve worked ten hours overtime during the week. Time you needed to cook that healthy food, play that game with your family, read that interesting book, go to that yoga class…

    In Sweden teachers are getting burnt out to the right and to the left, and one of the main reasons is that they forgo the work-life balance and put their everything, heart and soul and their free time, into their work without considering how it impacts themselves and therefore also their students in the long run.

    It is hard keeping the work-life boundaries as a teacher, but a bullet journal helps a lot to structure the work week and also to keep the focus on what is important and what is less important and can give way if needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tracked my work hours one year when I was working in a particularly difficult school and I’d worked my contracted hours by the mid-point of the year. It was one of the main reasons I left. In my new post, where I have far more responsibility but am given more non-contact time within the school day, I still work over my contracted hours (as every teacher in this country seems to) but it’s now more like 20% more rather than 100% which is a vast improvement.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have the same problem with teachers working overtime here in Sweden. It is a real dilemma. On the one hand there are the students, on the other hand there is the unrealistic workload. Only way to get rid of the unrealistic workload is to hire more people. Only way to make that happen is if every teacher stopped working those unpaid hours and kept to their hours…but then the students would suffer. There just is no winning this one.


  2. Before BuJo I used to make a mental list of to-dos in the morning and somehow I’d forget half of it. Keeping a bullet journal, I go to tick off tasks and realise all the ones I have left. This is just one reason why BuJo has made me more productive. I’ve been bullet journalling for more than 7 months now! 😊


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