Monday October 16

Weekly check in, overview of last week and plans for next week.

October 16

The view from my office at 5pm, actively snowing.

The sun came up at 8:48am this morning and set at 6:23pm. The high was predicted at 33 with a low of 24. We had some sun this morning, but it has been snowing steadily since about 4pm.

LAST WEEK

Between the weather changing, overtime, and Inktober, I spent a lot of time sitting down last week.

We rewatched Passengers, Liar Liar, The Goonies, and the first season of the animated Spawn series. We also binge watched Stranger Things again so it will be fresh in our brains when season two starts next week.

And then there’s this…

2bg 6

Season six of 2 Broke Girls (Amazon affiliate link). I loved the first season of this show, and I enjoyed season two. Season three was just okay, but it’s been downhill ever since. The show has finally been canceled, so season six is the last. Because I adore Kat Dennings, I’m forcing myself to watch the entire series. I got season six last week and it’s been a painful slog to get through all these episodes. Today I’m just over half way through, but I know if I don’t finish the thing it will bug me. If I didn’t love that first season so much I wouldn’t bother, but it’s like I have to know the thing is dead before I can bury it and move on, you know?

THIS WEEK

I’m putting in twenty hours of overtime this week. Between work, sleep and Inktober, I’ll blink and it will be Saturday again.

Bye!

Monday October 2

Just an overview of last week, my plans for this week, and some talk about living in Fairbanks, Alaska, movies, books, and maybe the occasional home improvement project. Read at your own risk.

October2

View from my office window at 5pm

This morning the sun came up at 8:07am and it will set at 7:13pm. The high temperature was in the upper 40’s with a low in the upper 30’s. Mostly cloudy, little bit of wind.

Last Week

Having finished most of this year’s home improvement projects, Jason and I have been spending more time crafting on the couch with a movie playing in the background. Last week we watched The Shawshank Redemption and Poltergeist.

Piedatre 2

We rented Predator 2 (Amazon affiliate link) from Blockbuster. I hadn’t seen the movie since it came out, and I was curious to see Bill Paxton’s part. (Still cannot believe he’s gone.) We were halfway through when the disc stopped. That’s one drawback to renting physical media–it gets pretty beat up! But we figured we’d seen enough anyway.

My two cents: the original Predator is a masterpiece; the extended cut of Alien Vs Predator is a decent movie; and Predators was pretty good, too. I have no love for the other sequels, and I have no interest in Shane Black’s upcoming version.

georgians interplanetary

Saturday night we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a fun, entertaining movie, right?

Sunday was our 12 year wedding anniversary. We’re still in the cute phase.

IMG_1034

As a treat we went to see It, you know, the one with the clown?

them

I’m terrified of clowns, but this version of Pennywise didn’t bother me at all. Maybe it was because we were in a crowded theater with smelly people and whispering kids, but I spent most of that movie bored. Bummer.

Afterwards we splurged on some more fun crafting stuff from Michaels, then did our best to relax the rest of the night.

 

This Week

We’re both participating in Inktober this year. That’s the one where you take the daily prompts listed on @Inktober and complete an ink drawing every day. Check out my Instagram if you want to giggle at me.

I’ve also started doing “preptober,” for NaNoWriMo next month. I plan to devote a separate post to preptober.

But right now, I’m going to cut this short. Today has been a heart-wrenching day, and I want to hold Jason’s hand and snuggle with my cats. Please be safe and considerate, wherever you are.

Bye.

Monday September 25

This is my first entry in what I plan to be a weekly update. Just an overview of last week, my plans for this week, and some talk about living in Fairbanks, Alaska, movies, books, and maybe the occasional home improvement project. Read at your own risk.

September 25

The view from my office window at 5pm today

This morning the sun rose at 7:46am, and it set at 7:39pm. The high temperature was in the upper forties with a low in the upper thirties. And it rained, straight down, all day.

Last Week

Metropolist

I showed Jason the movie Metropolis (Amazon affiliate link), and he enjoyed it. This movie gets better every time I watch it. Like most older movies, it’s reassuring how much things haven’t really changed.

Wonter Womyn

We rented Wonder Woman (Amazon affiliate link) from Blockbuster. It’s the best DC movie I’ve seen since The Dark Knight, but I wasn’t exactly blown away. It felt very paint-by-numbers to me. Enjoyable but forgettable.

And I see James Cameron’s point about it being a step backwards. Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley were heroic badasses who paid no attention to their appearance and were attractive anyway. Every Amazon lady in this movie looked like she was styled for a magazine shoot. Sort of like the airbrushed abs in 300. Hey, I understand the aesthetic. Pretty people are much easier to look at. But I don’t think a gorgeous woman running and wearing an outfit like that is especially groundbreaking, let alone a victory for women everywhere.

Debt Mtn

I wanted to read this book, Dead Mountain (Amazon affiliate link), ever since Caitlin Doughty (of YouTube’s @AskaMortician and on Instagram @TheGoodDeath) recommended it.

It’s the story of nine mountaineers who died mysteriously on a mountain in Russia in the 50’s. Was it aliens? Government conspiracy? Yeti? Alien yeti working for the government?

The local library has the ebook to borrow via Hoopla, and I happily checked it out. Then I found out that Hoopla isn’t available on my Kindle. So I got the app on my phone, opened the book, and the margins cut off the first few letters of each line. No big deal right? Adjust the margins and read! Until I turn the page and the margins move back. Again. And again. Every time I turn a page. Crap.

I don’t know if it’s the way this ebook was formatted or if it’s a Hoopla thing. If anybody knows how to make Hoopla behave on the iPhone, please let me know. Or better yet, if you know of a way to get Hoopla books onto Kindles, I would love to hear it!

In the meantime, I started re-reading the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Once I start reading that series I compulsively burn through all thirteen books. So I’m forcing myself to only read it while walking on the treadmill.

Yes, I have to trick myself into exercising.

Last week we sold our old Volvo. We bought it when we got here in March. It was going to take nearly a month for our Civic to get up here, and then it wouldn’t be ready to drive until it warmed up. A rental car would be incredibly expensive (Alaska!) so we bought a twenty year old Volvo. It was still pretty nice and took great care of us, and even though stuff kept breaking Jason was able to keep it running. But when the transmission started to fail, that was too much. I was worried we’d have to just scrap it, which would be like putting down a pet, so I’m glad Jason found a buyer. And yes, the guy knew exactly what he was buying.

I also attempted the keto diet last week. I didn’t make it past the keto flu. I have a very tender tummy and irritable bowel. Any change to my diet is tough, but trying to eat so much fat was just too much for me. Oh well.

 

This Week

Settling into a new place seems to take longer the older I get. We’re nearly settled into this house…seven months later. Our bedroom closet is the last real disaster area. It’s the only place in the house truly off limits to the cats, so it’s overflowing with all kinds of junk. The bad thing is, there’s a single shelf with a single bar, and that’s it. It’s a good sized walk-in closet, but the space is wasted (which was definitely this house’s theme).

I’m going to empty it out, try to get rid of the stuff we never wear, find new cat-proof homes for the breakables (my poor knitting needles and yarn!), and see if I can’t make better use of the space.

Next weekend is our twelve year wedding anniversary. So far the plan is to finally go see It and then go to our favorite restaurant, Taco King. Fairbanks is not known for great restaurants, and this little Mexican place is so far the very best we’ve found. Who doesn’t love tacos?

 

Bye!

Just Another Drop in the Ocean

Lately I’ve been spending my life watching YouTube.

On YouTube, you get a nugget of information (taken with a grain of salt), a giggle, a cringe, and then suddenly it’s three hours past your bedtime. There’s something compulsive about watching just one more five minute video. Not a ten minute video. Ho no! Ain’t nobody got time for that. But a dozen five minute videos?  Sure, why not?

So it’s no surprise that as my creative bug starts to wake back up, my gut instinct has been to start filming content for my little YouTube channel. A vlog, maybe, or I could talk all about bullet journaling, or writing, or maybe just make hundreds of cat videos. Better yet, I could do it all! Unboxing, product testing, pranks!

I went so far as to buy a little tripod for the old digital camera and started brainstorming script ideas. And then I procrastinated by watching more YouTube videos.

procrastinate

Recently I found out that something like 300 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day.

Yeah, I have zero interest in producing YouTube videos now.

It’s the same with my writing. How many millions of books are available to read on Amazon? How many magazines and blogs are desperate to get a single reader? The competition is fierce, and I’m just not competitive.

Anything I do creatively, I have to do for myself first. If I wanted recognition of any kind, I would have to change the way I do everything. And then I would be beholden to strangers for their attention and approval. It would be like reliving high school, and I am not doing that.

I have to ask myself, why bother? Why spend the time and energy to create a thing if I truly do not care whether or not others will enjoy it, especially when it means that my video/novel will just be another drop in the ocean?

Screen Shot 2017-07-08 at 8.51.11 PM

We recently moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. One of the few remaining open Blockbuster Video stores is here, and I love it. We usually visit once a week. Yeah, returning the discs stinks and yes, they don’t have everything. But there’s something to be said for wandering through the aisles and picking out something to watch.

Netflix and Amazon online video services are great, but there is no real browsing to be done. They use algorithms to point out content that you’re likely to enjoy, and sometimes they’re right. But what about the genres I don’t normally watch? What about that amazing movie that was released before I was born and isn’t even available digitally yet? And who wants to spend hours surfing through thumbnails of “related” titles when you really want to watch something new and different?

It’s like book stores. Sure there’s a big selection, but it’s strictly curated by the business owner. They want you to spend your money, and they fill the shelf with things they think you want to buy. We actually canceled our Netflix subscription. Having DVDs shipped to our house in Fairbanks was prohibitively time consuming, and their instant view portal is obnoxious (via the Playstation anyway). I would much rather wander through Blockbuster.

This is why I hope Blockbuster makes a comeback and used book stores never go away. Variety is the spice of life, right? But the algorithm depends on your tastes being consistent. I said it before and I’ll say it again:

angtft

 

P.S. After re-reading this, I realize that if my point is “why bother?” in addition to “variety is the spice of life,” then wouldn’t that mean that my creative offerings are “spice” and not just another drop? *shrugs* The ocean is already pretty polluted.

Planning 2017 In My Bullet Journal

This is my first New Year since I started using a bullet journal. A lot of people highly recommend starting a fresh journal for the new year, but as I’m not even halfway through my Leuchtturm 1917 I’m going to stick with my old one.

Here are the spreads I’ve come up with:

2017-goals

Whenever I set tangible goals or deadlines for myself, they tend to have the opposite effect. Read twenty-six books in a year? my brain says incredulously. Ha! Try none-six!

So I’m trying to simply adjust my attitudes and expectations rather than hold myself to a hard target.

peace-of-mind

With that in mind, I’ve added these quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When the world is getting me down, re-reading these will help reset my attitude.

I hope.

books-read

In an attempt to trick myself into reading more (because I honestly do want to read more), I made this grid. My brain loves to fill in boxes, so having this ready and waiting to be filled out throughout the year should make the prospect of reading regularly more appealing.

I hope.

 
money-challenge

I heard about this over on Boho Berry’s blog. It’s a financial challenge. Every week, you put a certain amount into your savings account and then color in the box. For example, if money’s tight, just toss an extra buck in and color the “1” square. If you have extra, throw in one of the bigger numbers and color in that square. By the end of the year, you will have tricked your brain into saving more money than you normally would have.

I’m sensing a pattern, my brain grumbled silently to itself.

 
i-am-what-i-eat
Being healthy is a nonstop goal. I’ve told my brain that my body is a hoarder. Anything I eat that can’t be used immediately is stored as fat, so let’s maybe only eat stuff I can use, mmkay brain? To that end, I’m going to fill in this grid with my diet staples, then in my daily spreads I can make bar graphs to keep track of how much I’m really ingesting each day. Sticking to this one will be tough.

Of course it will be. It’s probably the most beneficial spread in my entire journal.

 
wanted-spread

With the pending move, the list of things that we need is growing ever longer which means all the goodies that I want will have to wait. But my compulsive brain occasionally gets fixated on things and complains that if I don’t get it right now I’ll never get it. So this will be a place to list all of that “wouldn’t it be nice” stuff. Hopefully this will help me stick with that 52 week challenge as well.

month-in-review
My January month-in-review. I’ve started using an “If, Then” motivation system. I look at the previous month’s habit tracker and anything that I’m routinely skipping (like, reading and writing), I’ll offer myself a reward as motivation to do more of that thing in the coming month.

 
accountability-january

And here’s my habit tracker. I used to do this in a landscape layout but I got tired of turning the notebook all the time.

 
supplies

If you’re curious, here’s a list of the supplies that I use. Links are all via my Amazon affiliate account, but you can of course get most of these things anywhere. I actually got my notebook from Goulet Pens. Their prices were better and they have a much better color selection. And really all you need for a bullet journal is a notebook and something to write with; these are just the things that I use.

Leuchtturm 1917

Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens

Koh-I-Noor woodless colored pencils

Stainless steel ruler

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best in the coming new year!

Thanksgiving

I’m not very sentimental when it comes to dates. But I do appreciate the idea of the Thanksgiving holiday. Taking time to truly be grateful for everything that we do have is wonderful. Especially considering the year we’ve all been going through.

Here are the main things I am grateful for:

  1. My husband Jason.wedding
  2. My kitty Chloe.img_2250
  3. My counselor Erin.
  4. My parents.
  5. My job.
  6. My home, with it’s running water (that gets hot whenever I like), electricity, indoor plumbing, appliances, big trees in the yard, furnace and air conditioning.
  7. My reliable car.
  8. My access to the internet, and the way I get to decide which parts of it I see (mostly).
  9. My working computer and smart phone.
  10. The freedom to spend my free time as I like.
  11. The freedom to vote.
  12. The freedom to be disappointed in my government.
  13. The freedom to read and write and watch what I like.
  14. The ability to buy the medications I need to function.
  15. The promise of a better future.

I try to be considerate and thoughtful of everything I have each and every day. Some days it’s hard to see the good in anything. But as many have said, we each get to decide how compassionate we are every single day. We can choose to be kind, to avoid confrontation while defending what is right, to be accepting and welcoming of everyone and everything without judgment. And we don’t have to wait for a holiday to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

We’re all in this together, and if we work together, there will be plenty for everyone. I hope that someday everyone is able to be grateful for all of the things I am grateful for today.

 

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, happens every November. The challenge is to start a novel on November 1 and write 50,000 words by November 30. There’s a website with a supportive community, forums, locally hosted write-in events, and swag to buy. If you hit the target, you’re considered a winner and for that you get bragging rights.

Ever since I heard about NaNoWriMo, I’ve made annual excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly participate. This year was shaping up to be no different.

Excuse #1: I need to finish editing that book I already wrote.

Excuse #2: I need to spend my free time preparing for the pending move.

Excuse #3: I…need to…um…

But the fact is, I haven’t touched my old book in months, and there’s not much more I can do to prepare for the move short of packing all the things, but since the move is still a few months away there’s only so much packing I can do. And honestly, I could use the distraction.

So I grabbed my trusty notebook full of book ideas and picked my favorite.

book-ideas

Any time I have an epiphany or an idea for a story, I jot it down in this notebook. I love this little book even though it’s pretty darn impractical. It has stone paper, which means it’s made of limestone and resin. It feels incredible and is virtually impossible to tear. But it’s also nearly impossible to write on. Fountain pen ink puddles on the surface. It will dry eventually, but the one and only time I used my fountain pen in this book I had to leave it open overnight to dry. Ballpoint pens don’t like to work on it either, and they etch the letters into the paper in addition to ink. Fortunately I also love felt tip pens, and they work on this paper no problem.

Idea chosen, I started to prepare. That meant picking out a blank notebook (my favorite part).

nanowrimo-notebook

This is one of those Denik notebooks. They have a lot of fun covers and a portion of the profits goes to schools. Unfortunately the binding is pretty awful. It won’t lay flat, and it will barely stay open. I have to use an alligator clip to keep it open to the page I want.

Anyway, I rewrote my initial idea on the front page. Then I made a list of characters and named them. My book takes place on a cruise ship, a submarine, and an island, so I gave each location a page and did some research on each so I would have some idea of what I’m talking about. And then I came up with a rough outline for the story.

I added a brainstorming page, for all those times when I get ideas for the story and need somewhere to jot them down. I have a page filled with questions that will need answered. And I’ve started some character sketches.

I numbered 30 pages with the intention of putting 1/30th of the outline on each page. I thought that way I would have a set number of scenes to write each day. But then I remembered that sometimes I get into a rhythm and will write for hours. If I got “ahead” on my outline, my procrastinating brain would take that as an excuse to take a few days off. Don’t want that! Instead I’ll use those pages to summarize each day what parts of the story I wrote. Then I can refer to it the next day rather than rereading what I wrote which would lead to compulsive editing.

nanowrimo-tracker

I plugged this graph into my bullet journal so I can keep track of how I’m doing word-count wise. To hit 50,000 words, you should average 1,667 words per day. But I’m not going to cling too closely to that. If I hit 1,667 and still feel like writing, I’m going to keep writing. Fifty-thousand words doesn’t make for a very long book, and I want to actually finish the story by the end of the month. I want to prove to myself that I can write a book quickly.

My last book (which I’ll talk about in a different post) took me three years to write just the rough draft. I’ve now been in editing mode for more than a year. That’s pretty discouraging. If I can crank out this rough draft in thirty days, I might start to feel like a writer again.

Telecommuting Hacks

I’ve been working from home for over ten years. Because telecommuting is a smelly and hairy yet lovable beast, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

**Please note, I have always worked for a corporation. I am not self-employed. Self-employed people have courage and determination that are foreign to me.**

Time Management. This one has been a struggle. My previous job had very flexible hours, as in, “put in 80 hours sometime during these two weeks.” Procrastinator that I am, I would put work off as long as possible. This meant I would go months without having a day off because during the week I would work an hour here and an hour there, then make the rest up on the weekend. I just don’t have the self discipline to make myself get out of bed and get to work if I don’t have to.

My current job has set hours that you can flex if necessary, like for a doctor appointment. Now I have to work regular business hours, and this is actually much better for me. What a surprise, right? So if you have the option, set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Keep your evenings and weekends free.

timer

One of my favorite tricks is using a timer. I hate to sit still, but my job requires me to sit at a desk and read all day. So I got this timer and set the memory for eight and a half hours (lunch included). When I log in each morning, I start the countdown. I get paid by the hour, and for some reason checking the timer helps my brain more than watching the clock.

Avoid Temptation. The fantasy is to roll out of bed and into your desk chair, right? And start a load of laundry during your coffee break. Maybe set up the TV in your office so you can binge watch Game of Thrones while you’re working. The problem is, you actually do have to work. You still have to get your job done, and if you work for a company like mine, they are tracking your log in times, your mouse and keyboard movements, and which websites you visit. Hey, they have to protect themselves too, right?

My company has a policy in place stating that you cannot be responsible for someone, like a child or a sick person, while on the clock. This means my coworkers with children still have to use daycare even though they’re at home. As for me, I still have to shower, get dressed, and have breakfast before I clock in, otherwise I’m so groggy my morning is a waste. Wasted work time shows up on all those trackers the company uses. And frankly, it’s easier to work than it is to pretend to work. Keeping home time and work time separate will help you feel like you work at home rather than live at work. It’ll keep you employed, too.

Keep Moving. I set up a basic exercise routine that I can do in chunks at my desk. So when I need a stretch, or if the office is too cold, I do one of these:

  • Push ups. When I started doing this, I could only do one honest, non-girlie-style push up. Now I can do seven. I hope to reach ten by the end of the year.
  • Plank on my elbows for a count of thirty.
  • Using a ten pound dumbbell (recently graduated from a three pound dumbbell), I do ten bicep curls, ten tricep extensions, ten butterflies, and ten wrist curls.
  • Thirty “twists.” Plant your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your hips stationary and your tummy flexed, and twist your torso while punching the air with your right then left hand.
  • Thirty side bends.
  • Fifteen leg lifts, flat and laying on your side.
  • Thirty calf raises.

And at the end of the day, I do some very basic yoga poses using this poster. I can’t do inverted poses and I’m not terribly flexible. I don’t know what it is about yoga, but I always feel better after doing it, even poses as simple as these. And after doing yoga consistently this year, I can now touch my toes for the first time in my life.

Music. Being home, alone in an office, can get boring and lonely. So I listen to music as much as possible. Music makes everything bearable, I think.

Cat Bed. If you have a cat, or maybe even if you have a dog, set up a place in your office for your pet to sleep. They’re going to commandeer your desk anyway. You may as well try to make them a spot, even if you have to be sneaky about it.

chloe

I put a cat bed on my desk, crumpled up a fleece blanket on top so she wouldn’t recognize it, and turned on a desk lamp for the heat. Now Chloe sleeps there all day instead trying to sit on my lap or the back of my chair.

Privacy Film. We live in a subdivision and have a tiny front yard. It’s very important that passersby not be able to see my computer screens, so we got this privacy film. You clean the window, spray it with water, and then squeegee this film onto the glass. Then as long as it’s brighter outside, people trying to peek in will only see their own reflection. We actually put this stuff on every window in the house because I love sunlight but I hate peeping toms.

 

If I want to work full time, my health pretty much requires me to telecommute. Usually when I tell someone I work from home, they make a few assumptions. Not taking these assumptions personally is a skill that’s taken me a long time to acquire.

Assumption #1: “Which Facebook banner ad did you click?”

Assumption #2: “Gosh, I wish I could get paid to sleep in, wear my jammies, and do laundry all day!”

Assumption #3: “Must be nice to not have office politics!”

Nope, nope, nope.

But rather than waving my resume in a person’s face, I’ve learned to simply smile and nod, then change the subject.

According to Forbes magazine, one in five Americans already work from home. That number will only go up as companies realize the money to be saved by maintaining smaller office complexes, lower absenteeism, and higher productivity. Soon enough, office workers around the country will all be working at home in their blue jeans and listening to their favorite music. Beats cubicle city, right?

 

 

My Bullet Journal

Procrastination is a weakness of mine. If something needs done, but I don’t want to do it (for instance, vacuuming), I will put it off until the last possible minute…which is usually when company is coming. But I also love to make To Do lists. To Do lists are like porn for procrastinators like myself who have an unhealthy obsession with notebooks and pens. To Do lists are the promise of getting things done, being caught up, not having anything hanging over your head. Getting things done feels great, and so it follows that making plans is fun.

Like the man says in Tremors, “We plan ahead. That way, we don’t do anything right now.”

A few months ago on Kit Dunsmore’s blog, she mentioned bullet journals. Intrigued, I went to bulletjournal.com and read all about it. The various symbols and bare-bones method looked way too complicated to me. I’m not interested in complicated systems.

Then in August on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books blog, they listed more details about how the bullet journal is actually used and so I did some more research…and quickly became obsessed.

Basically, a bullet journal is a personalized planner. You start with a blank notebook and a pen, then fill the notebook with whatever type of calendar is useful to you and load it with events, tasks, and notes. You can set up collections, which are basically lists of projects or reminders, etc. You can journal in it, doodle, budget…you know, whatever you want. That’s the personalized part.

I watched a few You Tube videos, then grabbed a blank notebook from the pile and started my first bullet journal.harry-potter-journal

I got this lined Harry Potter journal on a whim at Barnes & Noble. You can also find it on Amazon here.

I used it for a few weeks, mostly trying to figure out how I wanted it to look. I would flip to random pages and set up spreads and collections. I tried different types of trackers and handwriting.old-bujo

I tried not to worry about my shaky handwriting. And I tried to ignore the lines and unnumbered pages.knitting-spread

And then I found Boho Berry on You Tube, and followed it to her blog. She’s very much an artist with exquisite handwriting, and although I am neither of those things, I realized that if I was going to use my bullet journal consistently, I needed to make it interesting to myself.

So I drank the Kool-Aid and got a new, fancy, dot grid, Leuchtturm notebook:leuchtturm

I ordered mine from Goulet Pens. They have an amazing variety of styles and colors, reasonable prices, and fast shipping. Of course you can get them from Amazon, too.

Then I loaded up on fancy supplies. I halfway wonder if I’m not just using the bullet journal as an excuse to feed my notebook and pen habit…supplies

After a month of trying different styles and layouts, messing with my handwriting and doodles, I feel pretty good about my bullet journal. The best part is that I actually want to use it. The fact that it’s mine and I’m allowed to spend time making it pretty helps.

pen-test

One of the first things I did was a pen test to see how everything looked and how badly they bled through to the back of the page. This told me that I shouldn’t use my beloved fountain pen or the Flair felt tip pen. Sharpie pens and the Faber Castell artist’s pens are my favorites. They barely bleed through even when you color things in, and they’re still nice and black.

calendex

A calendex to show you at a quick glance what’s coming up in the next few months. Great for keeping track of tasks that happen every few months.

october-layout

My layout for the month of October. People with children and friends will want to give themselves more room than this to put events and appointments. Fortunately my October is easy-breezy so far.

dailies

Dailies are the bread and butter of the bullet journal. The night before, I set up the following day. I’ll put the sunrise/sunset times, the weather, a list of tasks I need to accomplish and any appointments. And then on the day I can add tasks, notes, track what I’m eating and drinking, and because I want to I use a daily sketch prompt app so I can add a drawing to each day.

To keep track of recurring tasks, I use this:monthly-tasks

Each drawing represents something I should do at least once a month. Balance the checkbook? I get to draw another doughnut. Clean the bathrooms? Spaceship gets another alien. When I’m making my daily task list, I’ll check this to see what needs done. And then I look at this:weekly-tasks

Each day has things that need done every week on that day. I imagine I’ll add things to these planets as time goes on.

And of course there are things that need to be done every single day. I don’t want to rewrite that list on each daily spread, and so I use this:accountability-tracker

A lot of people call this a habit tracker, but I think of habits as being bad. These are things that I want to get done every day, and so I call this my accountability tracker. This month I’ve added a touch of color to the rows and columns. If I do every single thing every single day, at the end of the month this should be a lovely black and orange plaid. That’s good motivation for me to do my exercises every single day.

You could also think of the bullet journal as your brain on paper. I’d rather write something down than try to remember it. That’s where collections come in. Here are a few of mine.

anxiety-spread

For those days when I’m feeling anxious or depressed or sick, I have this handy list of favorite, comforting movies. I get decision fatigue, and this way I can just randomly point at this list to choose a feel-better movie to watch.

bookcase-spread

And this is a list of all of the paper books still crowding the shelves. Once I read them, they’ll either be kept and cherished, or they’ll go to the Goodwill. And since we’re moving in a few months, the more I can cross off and potentially get rid of the better.

Other spreads I’m using include a blood pressure log, blog post ideas, task list for my long gestating novel, brain dump for the pending move, diet and exercise logs, costume ideas, languages I want to learn, places I want to visit.  You get the idea.

Even though it took me awhile, I’m glad I finally got onto the bullet journal bandwagon. It’s list-making candy and I’m actually getting things done. Earl would be proud of me.