Continuing Mom’s topic of journaling a bit now… I listened to a podcast recently, co-hosted by one of my favorite people/authors Laura Vanderkam, and the topic was planners. Like paper planners- apparently a world unto itself, types and styles, and decor and stickers, the works. One thing I learned about was something called “bullet journaling” – a flavor of journaling/planning/etc I’d never heard of, but struck me because its premise seemed to fit my tendency for lots and lots of lists, as well as big dreams and getting stuff out of my head on paper now and then, combined with the need for basic scheduling and organization to handle my job as well as life stuff. Basically it’s a freeform way of making a planner (as compared to buying a prefab planner), creating different layouts to organize different aspects of life/lists/calendar/habit-tracking- the opportunities are endless, incorporating a journaling aspect by documenting every part of your life you wish, and in a creative (tho not quite an art journal) way. This article explains it nicely (tho pardon the crass language)!
Now the “bullet journaling” is one thing- but it made me ask the question of whether my difficulty with following a crazy dream or finishing a big project may actually be a lack of big picture organization. When I don’t finish big projects, was it a lack of motivation or failure of organization? I tend to start something big and not finish, or when I do finally finish it felt like pulling teeth just to restart again (er, a kitchen remodel?). Or I get a big idea I’m excited about but then never really do anything about it and the excitement fades. Does the excitement fade because I’m just not feeding the idea or was I not really that into it?
On the podcast, co-host Sarah discussed things like weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual goal-setting and regular review of objectives and action items (!!). Like a whole other level of ‘getting stuff done’ that raises the bar from surviving the rat-race to truly thriving in life and accomplishing a bunch of stuff it seemed. (Do you remember when life could operate just off the little freebie calendar from the Hallmark store in moms’ purses– purses which entirely lacked smartphones?)
But there’s also a personality type thing there- like the type of person who likes to write down and carefully organize and review all these life things (from dentist appointments to grand personal change or adventures) is also perhaps the type of person who will complete something just for the sake of checking the box and the sense of accomplishment that alone brings. So they are already the sort of person who seems to maintain the necessary motivation to get stuff done. I’m sort of the type that get a kick from checking the item off the list. But not completely. *See interesting Four Tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin.* I don’t qualify as an Upholder according to Rubin, so the box-ticking satisfaction only gets me so far. But still, perhaps this life map documentation style that puts ‘reframe your whole life’ stuff right alongside the ‘get groceries’ stuff each day really could drive forward those big picture goals and dreams- keeping them better fed. I’ve spent the last year or so getting pretty dedicated to a paperless approach, founded on my Outlook calendar and Evernote for list-keeping, both which sync from computer to phone and vice versa, but I’m tempted to try some kind of planner/journal approach now. As luck would have it- or serendipity- I pulled out a perfect little thin-paged notebook with my name embossed on the front that one of my BFFs gave me years ago and I just hadn’t found a purpose for this perfect little notebook yet (though it did escape my Konmari purges so I trusted it would find its purpose one day).
So, I’m experimenting with this journal-planner concept a bit. I wonder if I could do a better job of documenting kid milestones too with this approach? And perhaps the paper-based creative approach would allow for the simply therapeutic aspect of documenting life (e.g., traditional journaling)… though honestly blog writing provides that too, much of my motivation to get back to writing posts! Would love to hear in the comments how others handle organizing/planning/documenting of life – paper, electronic, combo? Does Hallmark still pass out date books?