Our Most Precious Commodity
We live in a world that espouses maximum productivity. Everything is becoming more efficient, as we all realize that time is our most precious commodity.
Yet, for all of our technology and inventions, we seem to be living in the most overwhelmed generation. It seems that everywhere we look people are suffering from “busy syndrome.”
Unfortunately, students and their teachers are high up on the list of the commonly overwhelmed. While I am not going to start to analyze all the reasons this may be so, I am going to try and tackle the issue.
How can we help ourselves to manage all the paperwork necessary that comes with teaching? How can we help ourselves learn how to balance our passion for our profession with a healthy family life?
Let’s take a look.
The Bullet Journal
First, we have to start with a system of time management equipped for teachers. A recently popular system, that is quickly inspiring a new movement, is called the bullet journal (or BuJo for short). This is the system that I currently use and have found to be most effective. As an educator and on a personal level, having tried many different types of time-management journals/systems/apps, this one has yet to be beat.
Bullet journaling is a simple system that consists of scheduling, goal setting, and note-taking all in one.
Consider it your magic notebook–so small, yet it contains everything.
Check out the tutorial to see it in action:
The great thing about the bullet journal is that it is versatile. You can really use it for everything, and you have creative license to use it in the way that works best for you. Unlike a tradition planner that restricts you to a certain template, the bullet journal is flexible and even allows for your ideas to flourish in between the pages of goals and planning.
It is important to note that this system is a good, old-fashioned pen and paper system. This is not to be replicated in the digital world. Part of the genius of the bullet journal system is that it forces you to write down your tasks, your thoughts, and your daily minutiae.
Handwriting helps you to mentally process what you are writing down in a way that typing doesn’t allow for. With writing something down, you are also twice as likely to remember it.
Educators and the BuJo System
As a system, it seems as if the bullet journal was made for educators. A versatile, robust, purse/pocket friendly solution for an occupation described by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as leading to hectic schedules with little time for rest and recuperation.
In a study done on educators who use the bullet journal system, 85% of educators admit to using their bullet journal daily. Some of the top responses for how teachers are using their bullet journals included: meeting notes, logging, scheduling, daily tasks, and lesson planning.
Impressively, 93% of educators also said that bullet journaling has made their lives “easier” or “significantly easier.”
The most important thing that bullet journaling does for educators is free up their minds to complete more significant cognitive processing. Psychologist Daniel Levitin suggests that when our mind is busy with trying to remember menial tasks, it takes up cognitive space needed for more important thinking to occur. Yet, it is not good enough to simply get these things out of your mind and down on paper. You need an organized system for doing so.
If anyone needs their minds free for more complicated cognitive processing, it surely must be teachers!
Time for A Time Makeover
One important feature that you can use your bullet journal for is a “time makeover.”
Productivity expert Laura Vanderkam, describes the effectiveness of keeping a time log in her book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. She advocates for tracking as much of your day as possible, thus creating a time log. In doing so, you are able to give yourself a time makeover.
Laura pushes for a healthy balance, showing that successful women are able to spend quality time with family–a top priority for most parents–while keeping their businesses and careers flourishing.
Similarly, educators can do the same. By using the bullet journal to keep a time log and ultimately give yourself a time makeover, you are able to take control of the one thing that constantly seems to be slipping from our grip–time.