For those of you who have been following our Homeschooling journey thus far, may have seen one recurring theme throughout – I love planning. That doesn’t mean to say that’s the only way to homeschool, but for me and some of you it may just work. I’m literally one of those people who can not function without a plan. I like my lists, thinking ahead using an annual calendar and just jotting things down. When I met my husband, who is the complete opposite to me, I actually stopped writing in my diary, in fact I think I was influenced by him and then stopped journaling once I had kids, thinking I could just do it all on my phone – in my calendar, in the notes app. But life was a mess – and I couldn’t keep on top of things especially after becoming a mother. But it was also the first time I wasn’t working so having a diary/journal didn’t feel necessary but boy was I wrong! It wasn’t just about writing my to do list, for me journaling has always been about reflecting, slowing down, reassessing and staying focused on my goals.
Over the last few years, I started my first Bullet Journal encouraged and motivated with a group of friends including @asma_scribendi. I found this method to be the most appealing for me especially as I have on many cases brought brand new diaries only never to complete the pages or templates printed inside. For me Bullet Journaling has been a unique method of getting things done. It’s more than a to do list for me. I use it for reflecting, tracking habits, meal planning and most importantly writing what I am grateful for. I enjoy taking time out once a week to prepare my weekly spreads – this is where my crafty ideas and brush lettering skills come in use. I love that I can create the templates or weekly spreads as we call them unique to my own style. There are some fab ideas online!
It was only until last year when I came across Ayeina’s Productivity Journal. I was given the digital version to review. I printed it out and stuck it into the back of my then bullet journal. We had planned a trip to Malaysia and in it’s 10 hour flight, the small tv screens on the plane were not working in the duration of the whole flight! Whilst my husband kept himself busy entertaining the girls, I decided to make the most of the Productivity Journal as I had packed it into my hand luggage luckily. I sat there for most of the plane journey answering some of life’s biggest questions that I stopped asking myself a long time ago (mainly once motherhood kicked in – I didn’t even have the time) and some questions I had never even thought about asking let alone answering. The Journal had me thinking about my strengths, weaknesses, grudges I had, relationships I need to strengthen, names of Allah I could memorise, goals I could work on and how, fasts I still needed to make up and so much more. With so much time at hand because of the 10 hour flight, I forced myself to think and write honestly with very little distractions around me. I had to skip some sections just because I found it so difficult answering them honestly, I literally couldn’t face my own home truths! (Although I did come back to these later).
This time last year, I was going through a moment in my life where I had to admit to myself that I cannot do everything even if I think I am good at it or was good at it once. Life is not perfect – but try saying that to a perfectionist with high expectations of herself! I simply could not balance work-life (I was running a nursery at home and tutoring in the afternoons) with motherhood and managing the house all at the same time. For a long time, I hadn’t come to terms with how much life changes because of motherhood. I hadn’t accepted that I needed to adapt to my circumstances and situation. I still wanted to hang on to that person I was before marriage. But what I didn’t realise is that I am still that person but now so much more at the same time with additional responsibility. My priorities had shifted slightly. Yes I invested so much time and effort into my studies and training as a teacher, but that doesn’t mean I cannot utilise my skills at my own pace. All these questions arose after I reflected on my life deeply through Ayeina’s Productivity Journal.
A year on now and I look back at my goals and problems I had written down. Many of the goals I had written, half-convinced I’d actually achieve them, I am actually achieving them and more right now alhamdulillah. The problems I had I somehow overcame with Allah’s help and plans for me and now I feel at ease. On that plane journey, I reflected, I wrote it down and thought things through. The journal takes you on a quest to explore and think about your spiritual development in terms of faith, prayer, charity, fasting and even thinking long term about saving for Hajj. The second area of the journal covers Personal Development including self-care goals, health and declutter goals, stress management and so much more. This was definitely one of my favourite sections as I never thought to add an area like this in my reflective journals before. The third area is all about strengthening relationships. This covers life priorities (this definitely helped me put life into perspective), relationship goals, social life tracker, maintaining ties of kinship and much more. The final area covers one of the most important – Goals and Dreams. For me when it comes to my goals and dreams, I aim so low in fear of disappointing myself by the end of the year – which is terrible I know. But this year, after looking back at the little goals I did achieve, I’m aiming high and putting my trust in Allah in sha Allah.
After our lovely trip to Malaysia, which you can read more about here, and Alhamdulillah after much dua, things started to make sense over the year as Allah’s plan for me started to unravel. I closed the nursery and tuition and focused on myself and the kids. I learnt how to say no to others and realised I can do the things I’ve been trained to, but I actually don’t have to. Over the summer I got reaquainted with old friends and made some new ones too. I discovered my love for crafts and brush lettering again and finally brought myself a StoriDori – more on that here. As year 2019 began, I printed out the Productivity Journal again and have already started thinking about my goals for this year. I’m aiming high and having faith in Allah to help me going along the way in sha Allah. I hope this is beneficial for any mums who want to shut out the noise and distractions in their life and focus on priorities and goals to be a more productive person!
For homeschool mamas looking for a bit more clarity in juggling their homeschool and work load mindset – I also recommend looking into Dr Gemma Elizabeth’s fabulous videos over on her blog OurMuslimHomeschool.