Bullet Journal Updates!

It’s been almost two months since I started my bullet journal in the hopes of getting more organized at home, so I thought I’d do a quick accountability post. Here’s how my bullet journal adventure is unfolding so far!

Overall, I really like the process of using my bullet journal. It took me a while to get the hang of it, and I’m still refining the process to make it work for me — I have a tendency to spend way too much time doodling, which isn’t a problem when you use an electronic calendar — but the benefits of using a paper method are becoming very clear.

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I use my bullet journal primarily to track my habits. I experimented with a few different layouts before landing on the one I used for my April 2017 habit tracker (above). It makes it really easy to see how consistent I’m being over the course of the month.

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Project of the Week: Getting Organized

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How do you stay organized? I use my email calendar to schedule my work meetings, calls, and due dates, but when it comes to my personal life, I prefer to do it the old-school way — a calendar pinned to the wall in the kitchen, a to-do list in a spiral notebook, and handwritten reminders for more urgent tasks. I even keep a list of what’s in the fridge taped to a cabinet to help me plan meals during the week and avoid food waste. While the visual reminders are a great way to stay on top of things, it means that my work space is occasionally littered with sticky notes that stress me out rather than inspiring me to work.

I’ve been wanting to try bullet journaling for a while now, but I wasn’t sure if it was for me. I liked the idea of keeping everything I need to know in one place, but found the notation style to be a bit overwhelming. Also, if the Instagram #bulletjournaljunkies tag is any indication, people who are into bullet journaling are REALLY into bullet journaling. It all seemed a bit intense for someone who had a mostly-functional system already in place.

https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2016-05/13/17/enhanced/webdr11/enhanced-17451-1463176212-1.pngThe process, in a nutshell. (via BuzzFeed)

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Believing in Big Magic

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I don’t often read self-help books, because they tend to proffer earnest advice like “think positive!” as a remedy for basically everything, which generally does not work for people with depression and anxiety disorders (namely, me). So when I checked Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert out of the library a few weeks ago, I admit that I didn’t want to like it. I figured it would probably tell me that the cure for writer’s block was to think positive, sit down at my keyboard, and let the words pour forth from my fingers. I was already annoyed by the book before I even opened it. Of course Elizabeth Gilbert believes that creativity is magic! She’s a millionaire who had a book on The New York Times Best Seller list for 4 years. What advice can she possibly have for me?

Why bother, then? A friend had strongly recommended that I read it; also, I am on a quest to make 2017 better than 2016, and seeing as I did not read any self-help books in 2016, maybe this was the place to start. Fine: I would read the book. It deserved a chance.

Of course, as often happens with these things, I loved it. I could not have read Big Magic at a better time. The book is written as a series of tiny chapters (often 1-2 pages long), with titles like “Nobody’s Thinking About You,” “Done is Better Than Good,” and “Do Something Else” — all good advice for someone who writes and often gets tripped up in the editing process before a sentence is even complete. I wrote those three statements down on an index card and committed them to memory, because in order to rid myself of perfectionist tendencies, I really need to learn to believe in the following: when the stakes are low, who cares? Just do it. If it sucks, fine; nobody cares, and you learned something. Now try again.

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