Pen to Paper: A quick guide on how to start and sustain your journal practice

Pen to Paper: A quick guide on how to start and sustain your journal practice

When I was younger I would always write in a journal. I always had a journal of some sort to jot down ideas or thoughts but as I got older and went off to school some of those habits just dropped. 

Fast Forward to teaching, I needed to pick up the habit of journaling but for a different reason. 

I needed to keep track of my day to day. 

Between home life and work life , I was doing so much stuff that I couldn't keep track of everything and it was contributing to my stress.

So here are some of the steps I took to easy into the journaling practice of keeping track of all the things. 

1. Literally ease into it. 

One of the issues I often have with starting a new routine is going hard and fast. I will do it perfectly and I will quickly burn out. So with journaling I started to mentally recap my day and then I moved towards writing it down on a notepad. 

2. keep it simple. 

Simplicity was and is the best way for me to manage my journaling. When I try to make it complicated then I just give up. So for keeping track of the day to day I just had a simple notepad and wrote my list. 

3. Instead of a to-do list... write a "What did I do list?" 

This was the biggest key in my journaling journey. I focused many on what I did versus what I needed to do. There is pleasure in checking off a to do list but I found it more informative and relaxing to list off everything I did in a day. It also helped remind me if I did too much or not enough. I would have days where I felt like I didn't do enough and I would do my list and realize "wow..I did do a lot." and I will try my best to chill out for the next day. 

4. Create your own worksheet or buy one. 

Around my 3rd year as a teacher, I realized I needed something to help me keep track of all of my classes. As a middle school teacher, I had about 130 students between 6 classes. While some classes were on the same pace others were not so I had to figure out a way to remember what I did between classes. 

If you search for "Teacher Planner" you'll find a lot of them are geared towards elementary teachers that teach all subjects. Not content based teachers with too many students. So I created my own; it was very simple, just a check off table for each period and a list of things planned. I also made sure to have a section to write any notes if necessary. 

This was extremely helpful for the classroom and I've made some modifications over the years but overall it was the best thing I could have done for myself. 

You can create your own via Canva, they have lots of premade planners you can modify or you can purchase one via Etsy. (If you do this let me know how it goes) 

5. If you forget a day or week, just pick up where you are. 

I would often be annoyed with myself if I forgot to maintain a new routine. I would mentally beat myself down to the point where I say "Hey..whatever.." and not do it. However, with this I was determined to keep the habit so if I forgot to do it daily, I would just pick up where I left off and start again. 


If you need new journal to start this habit, check out my wooden journals!


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