New Year’s Resolutions: 2017

So, in the grip of the schmancy bullet journaling madness, I ended up making a page for new year’s resolutions. What can I say, pretty pens just give you the urge to make pretty lists!

So, without further ado, here are my resolutions:

  • 2 hours of reading every day: in the midst of Battlemage, I realized that the story far outstripped my skill. I’m still working on that project (though Daughter of Ashes is at the forefront), but right now that work is almost all reading. I’m going back through the classics with a more professional eye, trying to tease out the secrets of what I loved (and I’m discovering plenty of new favorites along the way!)
  • The 5 minute rule: for things I don’t like much (email, etc), the 5 minute rule states that if it takes less than 5 minutes, it should be done now. That gets it out of your headspace and done, and everything hums along a little more smoothly. Here’s to unloading the dishwasher, throwing that load of laundry in, and answering emails 😉
  • Budgeting: I’ve switched over to using almost all cash, as well as building a fancy spreadsheet, and the most difficult part of the whole thing is getting to the bank. (In my defense, it’s cold out!) This resolution is for getting off my butt and staying on track.
  • Say no: A business goal, this one. One of the most pervasive pieces of advice from billionaires and successful entrepreneurs is to say no. A lot. There will be a lot of demands on your time, and the more focused you can keep yourself, the better work you will produce – so this is the year of saying no to work projects that fragment my attention, and yes to social engagements and new activities that get me out and learning new things.
  • Write every day: Specifically, my stuff. Longhand. As I keep chipping away at Battlemage, that slow progress can really add up!
  • Push myself but listen for hurt: One of the revelations of this year was that I was in no way listening to myself. I was pushing myself to work in ways I hated, never getting enough sleep, not hydrating, etc. This year is all about learning to push myself, but in a healthy way. There’s a difference between growing pain and injury pain, and I’m trying to get the first without the second!

What are yours, readers?

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Bullet Journaling: The Most Violent Kind of Day Planning

Okay, so there are no actual bullets involved. Thankfully.

bullet-journal-key

One thing that can help is making a key for your bullet journal. You can find more tips at the article where I found this picture: http://bulletjournal.com/show-tell-3/

As you know, one of the things I love is continuous change. On the surface, that sounds unsettling, but in actuality, it is the key to me achieving my goals. It is me saying, “my current approach is not working, but I still want to do this thing, so how do I go about it?” For instance …

  • When running wasn’t doing it for me anymore, I went through a few iterations and ended up settling mostly on bodyweight cardio and free weights. Now, partially because the room I work out in is terribly cold in the winter, I am trying to come up with something new.
  • When my daily word count goals were likewise not turning out so well, I decided to adapt that to time goals – X hours of writing, etc

Bullet journaling is the same. The idea is simple: take a blank notebook and make it into the kind of day planner you need. For me, day planners tended to have way too much space on some days and way too little on others. They don’t have an easily delineated space for communications, one of my most fraught daily tasks, and there’s no good place to make random notes. But a bullet journal can be exactly what I need.

bullet-journal-key-2

Everyone does a key differently. Mine is a bit more like this. (Image from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/bullet-journaling )

One of the absolute best things about bullet journaling, hands down, is that it allows you to add emphasis to tasks that you absolutely HATE. I’m betting that if you keep an eye on your day to day activities over the next week or so, you’ll find one that “should” be easy (emails, mailing bills, eating a healthy breakfast, whatever) that you just can’t make yourself do. You drag your heels. Every time you sit down to do it, you remember a hundred other things that you could be doing and wander off, etc. Your bullet journal will let you separate this task out into as many steps as you need, add a bribe if you want one, and give you the satisfaction of checking it off once it’s done. If it’s emails that you hate because they suck up your time, you can do something like the following, with each of these items as a ticky box:

  • Set timer for 30 minutes
  • Read Bob’s email, jot down a few points in notebook
  • Read Jim’s email, jot down a few points
  • Read Sam’s email, etc.
  • Respond to Bob
  • Respond to Jim
  • Respond to Sam
  • Put on “How Far I’ll Go” and sing along really loudly

By admitting to yourself that you hate a task and assigning it space that corresponds with how much mental energy it’s taking you, you can get much further. Stop pretending it’s easy just because it “should” be.

bullet-journal-habit-tracker

You can also track habits! I love this one. Originally found at: http://bulletjournal.com/show-tell-3/

bullet-journal-goals

You can track your goals however you want to. Pie charts, squares or circles to fill in. Add color! Add washi tape! Add anything you like! This picture originally found at: http://www.sarahschapter.co.uk/2016/02/starting-bullet-journal.html

A bullet journal is also a way to inject creativity and beauty into your life, and I cannot stress enough how important I think this is. You’ll find tons of people who can do absolutely gorgeous ink drawings or watercolors in the margins. You may be one of them! I’m not, but I absolutely add doodles: some flowers, swirls of color, clouds and snowflakes on my weather tracker (I check each night as I make my next day’s schedule). You can also do something like the below, which actually seems doable for me:

bullet-journal-scrapbook

What a gorgeous way to add color! Originally found at: http://www.sarahschapter.co.uk/2016/02/starting-bullet-journal.html

Before diving in with all the bells and whistles (which, if you’re like me, tends to be how you do these things), I’d spend a few weeks with just any old notebook you have available. Try out different things. Come up with a key and see if it works for you. Notice how your current day planner ISN’T working for you: do you need space for random notes each week? A page or a half a page to jot down appointments for next week? How about a separate place for your grocery list? Think about what you want and try it out. Then, and only then, should you look all over to see every cool new idea. A lot of them simply won’t be useful to you, and waiting until you know what you need will help you select what you want. Even then, you will continue to adapt as you move onward. Let it change.

Do you already bullet journal? If you’ve got a blog or instragram feed where you show your progress, comment below so people can check it out!