Planner Up!

bujoI know I need a routine. It gives my day some structure so I don’t just fluff off a whole day. I’ve done that before. More than once. It’s not a good feeling to realize it’s 10:30 at night, time for bed, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.

That’s what not having a steady, full-time (or even part-time) job can do to you. Er…. To me.

To help establish and maintain a routine, I need some kind of planner system.

I’ve tried the DayPlanner system that you can buy at office supply stores. I use it for a while, then stop because it doesn’t really work for me. It’s not flexible. I can’t add things to it.

Then I tried coming up with my own system.  I called it the KNOWS – Keep a Notebook Organizational Working (or Writing) System.It worked, to an extent. I could only use it for one project at a time, though.

I needed something I could customize. Something flexible. Something that I could use for more than one project at a time. That’s how I work. More than one project at a time. I typically have one big project — a novel, perhaps — and several smaller ones — articles, blog posts, etc.

Someone online mentioned this thing called the Bullet Journal. I watched the video by Ryder Carroll and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for — and trying to create myself. Someone had already developed the system, tested it, put it in place, and knew it worked.

After I watched the video, I went to the website and read everything I could to learn how to set it up. Then, in January, I started it. I used it for a while, but since nothing was really happening, I let it slide. Now, since I’m getting back into a routine, my Bullet Journal (aka BuJo) is back. And I’m making things happen. Which is really how it should have been in the first place.

If you decide the Bullet Journal system is for you, I’ve been collecting resources and have run across some great ones. My Bullet Journal is evolving from a plain vanilla notebook that I’m not all that inspired by to something decorated and showcasing me and my life on the page. I like that. I’ll be glad to share my resources with you. And even tell you how it works for me.

But for now, I figure we’re good to go.

Oh, and what kind of notebook do you use? Whatever kind you want! The one in the picture above is my current personal BuJo. I’m working in a larger black one (that I will soon decorate on the outside as well) for my work life (writing, editing, photography, speaking, etc.). It’s so customizable, there is really no wrong way to do it. And that makes it fun.

Until later.

How Jen Got Her Groove Back

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

I can’t actually say I have my groove back, or even that I have a groove, yet. I am, however, on my way to getting one.

As a result of having to keep my foot up for so long, I lost any kind of momentum I may have had. Because of my eyesight, it’s difficult for me to work with a computer in my lap. It can be done, but with a lot of difficulty. I prefer to use an external monitor adjusted for easy (well… easier) viewing and an external keyboard. It just makes my life easier. If I were working for someone else, they would call it accommodations. I call it doing what works for me.

Anyway, I digress.

Since I don’t have to have my foot up as much (though I still do a few times during the day), I can start getting back into a routine. It looks something like this:

Morning: Morning routine & housework (including tidying my office & living areas)
Noon: Lunch & a walk
Afternoon: Writing & marketing (and other work as it comes along)
Evening: Dinner, knitting or crochet/TV, family, & end-of-day routine (maybe another walk, especially if the noon time is too warm as the summer progresses)

It’s nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but it will help me get back to where I want to be, so it’s pretty major in that way.

I used to think schedules and routines were anathema to creativity. A few years have passed since then. (OK, more than a few.) I have come to realize that having a schedule and following a routine actually allows room for creativity. For me, creativity requires structure. If I have no structure and it can have free rein, nothing ever gets done. It’s funny how that works.

As things progress and I get assignments and other work coming in, I have no doubt the schedule will change. It will have to in order to accommodate deadlines. For now, though, this is a start. And I think it’s a good one.