Without a doubt, participating in the Teach First training programme has been the most challenging, yet the most fulfilling thing that I have ever done. But at the start of the year, my work-life balance was non-existent, mostly magnified by the restrictions of the pandemic.
In the rollercoaster ride of training to be a teacher during the pandemic, I discovered something that really helped me to feel positive - the power of habits.
In looking for creative ways to manage my time, I stumbled across a technique called ‘Bullet Journaling’. Bullet Journaling is an organisational method used to help you tackle different aspects of your life, while also heightening mindfulness; the combination of the two contribute to positive mental wellbeing.
After feeling inspired from lots of exciting bullet journal spread ideas online, I found that the ‘habit tracker’ was the most revolutionary for me. The idea is simple; you choose habits and then check-in daily with your progress towards them. Although this sounds really simple, I have been amazed with how powerful this technique is in helping me to maintain a positive work-life balance.
It goes without saying that there are numerous positives that a habit tracker can add to your life as a teacher - so let’s take a look at them!
1. Habit trackers hold you accountable.
Having a habit tracker has kept me motivated and focused on the things I said I would do. By having a visual representation of my progress to hold me accountable, I am more likely to stick to my habits even when I don’t feel like it. Habit tracking is a system that supports positive change, pointing me in the right direction when I feel overwhelmed by work or other challenges.
2. Habit trackers help you to keep up with your progress.
Habit trackers have the scope to be as creative as you want, and you can measure your progress in a visual way that suits you. By looking back over your habit tracker each day, it is fulfilling to see how far you have come. Equally, it also helps you to see which habits you may need to work on more moving forward. Seeing your progress is bound to make you feel good, which will transpose to all areas of your life - including the classroom!
3. Habit trackers can help you to maintain a better work-life balance
Writing down which habits you want to instil and making time for them in your day means that you are doing something to prioritise yourself. For example, one of the habits I wanted to instil was reading - therefore, I made it my mission to read for at least five minutes a day. By doing this, I felt a great sense of accomplishment that I had worked towards establishing healthy habits and also a greater sense of a work-life balance when I could tick it off my habit tracker for the day.
4. Habit trackers can help you change your personal and professional life for the better!
Without doubt, having a weekly habit tracker has been one of the most powerful tools for making positive changes in my life. The sense of accomplishment and progress I’ve experienced from being consistent each day has benefited my mental health beyond words. Not only this, but the benefits that have come from the habits themselves have been eye-opening in a very unpredictable year. I have rediscovered my love of reading, I have gained understanding of the importance of sleep on my wellbeing, and I have explored which habits help me to feel on top to teach and thrive!
Why not see for yourself? Access our habit tracker as part of our FREE teacher wellbeing packs, to take a transformative step towards improving your mental health.
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Jess Asher is a MFL Teacher and a second-year Graduate Trainee on the Teach First programme.