I considered lumping yesterday’s post about reading everywhere with today’s post about where to journal. As with reading, you can be prepared to journal wherever you find yourself, as long as you can access a manual or digital means of writing.
This falls short, however, when thinking of privacy. I can journal everywhere, but I don’t always want to. I like to journal when I’m alone and don’t have to stifle my emotions. I also prefer to journal when I don’t have to worry about looky-loos peeping over my shoulders. These prime conditions mean educators have precious little time for journaling.
Enter Post-it journaling.
Keeping a pack of Post-its on you transforms your ability to journal. The keys to Post-it journaling are to write only one idea per Post-it and to create an organization system.
Let’s say you’re in a faculty meeting. You’re already feeling some kind of way, and then, with one minute remaining in the meeting, that one colleague you can’t stand asks a question when the speaker says, “Are there any questions?” Pull out your pack of Post-its, and write “Ooh, I can’t stand that so & so.” You have now begun to Post-it journal.
Writing your emotions helps you process them and move on from them, whether you write them on a Post-it or in a journal. No one in an academic setting (or most any other setting) will question your spontaneous use of Post-its. They will assume you are taking notes of the proceedings, particularly if some of your emotions show through your body language. People who write on Post-its while looking pensive, excited, or even frustrated during a meeting look like they are digesting the information presented. I do not advocate losing focus during important meetings. When you lose focus, however, Post-it journaling will serve you in two ways. It will lessen your distracted time. Remember, writing whatever is on your mind allows you to process and move on. Instead of stewing in your emotions, you deal with them and return your attention to whatever is appropriate. Additionally, nobody will assume anything is amiss, so you retain your privacy while looking professional.
Student asks you for the tenth time what the assignment is? Post-it.
Colleague tells you some devastating news? Post-it.
Your responsibilities get expanded again? Post-it.
You can smell lunch on someone’s clothes? Post-it.
You have a brilliant idea? Post-it.
Post-it journaling works in your agitation and your genius. Not only does writing help you process emotions, it also helps you process and generate ideas. I wrote nearly my entire dissertation on Post-its. I don’t recommend doing so, but having a bank of single ideas on individual Post-its allowed me to see specific facets of my work and reconfigure them easily. I kept a large notebook of my Post-it ideas, separated the pages of the notebook into categories, and added, removed, and adjusted each Post-it as suited my purposes.
I recommend you keep a notebook (more inconspicuous than a fancy, leather-bound journal) for your Post-it journaling. Slap the post-its into your notebook as you write them throughout the day. At the end of the day, return to your Post-its, read them, reflect on them, and determine how to move forward. Moving forward typically falls into one of three categories.
1. You reread the Post-it, and you’re over whatever prompted you to jot down your note. Discard that Post-it, acknowledging its faithful service. It allowed you to note your feelings, process them, move on, reflect, and find closure.
2. You reread the Post-it, and you’re convicted by it. This occurs when whatever you wrote on the Post-it causes you to rethink the situation and your response, recognizing you should use better strategies the next time. Pray about it and plan to do better. Discard that Post-it, acknowledging its faithful service.
3. You reread the Post-it, and your spirit remains troubled (for ill or for good – maybe you’re still upset, or maybe you’re still excited). Create category pages in your Post-it notebook and adhere the Post-its appropriately. This begins your compendium of ideas and emotions to work through and flesh out.
Fitting journaling into an educator’s day may seem impossible, but Post-it journaling improves its probability. What do you think about Post-it journaling?
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I am doing a 31-day series on reading and journaling as self care for educators. Each day of the series has bonus journal prompts. Click to join the LELA House family of educators committed to nourishing their reading, writing, and creative souls. You’ll receive a link to the journal prompts and gain early alerts for upcoming LELA House ideas, courses, and products. You only need to subscribe once. I will add a new worksheet each day to the access link.
Roshaunda D. Cade, Ph.D. is an educator, writer, and creator. She offers life coaching and writing coaching to educators, as well as other opportunities for educators to practice self care through reading and writing. Check out her LELA House website to learn more about her services. Roshaunda lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband and teenage children and enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and pushing her creative boundaries.