​Want to feel more organised, productive, inspired and less stressed in your head teacher role? A planner is the answer, says Lucy Coy.


My journey to this point

As a school leader, I used to find that my day was mostly spent leaping from one task or meeting to another. There was barely any time in between to gather my thoughts or to plan anything substantial.

I first started using a planner when I was teaching three days a week and I had leadership release time on Thursdays and Fridays. The problem was, as with many schools, space was tight and I had limited access to a desk to work on. I came up with the idea of having a journal to keep all of my notes in, so when I did get some valued release time, I had everything I needed at my fingertips, without the need to have my own physical desk space.

Before this, I had a paper diary and an electronic calendar. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but I found I was constantly searching around for the information I needed, or always trying to remember what was said when, and I knew there must be a better way. By now, I had heard of the idea of using a planner and ‘journalling’ from social media. I started to research it more and spent many hours learning how to record my notes and tasks, and how to become better at productivity. It was then that I had the idea to create my own planner.

What I learned along the way

The thing that took me by surprise was how much it helped my wellbeing! I honestly went into this journey thinking about productivity. The whole time, all I could think about was how much I could get done and by when. I had so many responsibilities in school so that is all I had a chance to think about.

But what I started to notice was that the more I wrote down the tasks I needed to do, and the more I planned when I was going to do them, and the more I journalled how much I had done around a certain project, the less stressed I became, and the more organised I felt.

Lucy Coy from HeadteacherChat holding a planner.

7 reasons you’ll love your planner

1. You will be more organised

Having everything in one place takes the stress out of finding important information during your busy day. We’ve created pre-populated pages to add notes to as you go along, without the need to create a new file every time, and search for those you created previously.

2. You will be more productive

Thoughtfully designed pages will help you to see which of your tasks are priorities and which are long-term goals.

3. You will feel less stressed

When you write things down, it helps you to relax knowing that you’re not going to forget something important.

4. You will feel inspired

Knowing when important tasks need to be completed will help you to plan for the future, allowing you to achieve the goals you want to accomplish. Research tells us that you are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down.

5. You will celebrate your successes

Seeing what you have achieved, over time, gives you a great sense of accomplishment. Not only that, but you will be  able to share your journey with others by showing them what you have achieved.

6. You will have a space to reflect

Having a planner with a dedicated space to reflect your thoughts, emotions and experiences, means you can delve deeper into your feelings and gain a clearer understanding of the challenges and triumphs you encounter.

By cultivating self-awareness, using a planner enables you to identify patterns, triggers and areas for personal growth. This newfound clarity can enhance your decision-making abilities, communication skills and interpersonal relationships within the school community.

7. You can focus on problem-solving and goalsetting

Writing in a planner can provide you with an opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve. When faced with challenges, jotting down your thoughts and exploring potential solutions can help clarify your thinking and generate innovative ideas. By outlining objectives and recording achievements, you can stay focused, motivated, and accountable. This process can contribute to a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment in your professional journey.

In the demanding and fast-paced world of school leadership, taking care of your mental health is crucial. Using a planner is a really easy way to support your wellbeing and I ask you to think about incorporating it into your daily routine so that you can see the positive impact it can have on both your mental health and leadership effectiveness. I promise you won’t regret it!


  • Lucy Coy

    Lucy (NASENCO MCC) is an experienced school leader and has served as an acting headteacher, a deputy headteacher, an assistant headteacher, and an inclusion lead. Lucy is joint CEO of HeadteacherChat and she creates school leader planners. She is also a member of The Chartered College of Teaching.
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