Bullet Journaling

on Life  

Whilst travelling in beginning of this year, I binge read productivity books and decided that 2016 would be all about focus. How well that’s actually gone is neither here nor there (okay mostly not there), but one thing I’ve found that makes a big difference is the Bullet Journal system.

journal-2

The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.

I’ve said before that I like physical, handwritten to-do lists rather than digital for actually getting things done, and this system is kind of a collated set of to-do lists with a bit more organisation. There’s a few basics to Bullet Journalling but everyone is encouraged to adapt it to their own uses. In the couple of months I’ve been using it, I’ve simplified it quite significantly to suit my personal projects and admin that always seems to pile up.

Here’s my version:

  1. At the start of the month, write a list of things to complete on a fresh page. Rewrite any items from the previous month that still need to be completed.
  2. Each night before sleeping write a list of items to complete the next day, referring to the big list for the month.
  3. Put a star next to the most important/urgent item on the list.
  4. On the day, go through the list, starting with the starred item if possible.
  5. If any items are left over at the end of the day, they can go onto the next day’s list or remain open for a future date.
  6. Use a fresh page for sketches/ideas/wireframes/plans/detailed lists.
  7. Keep an index at the beginning of the notebook for easy referencing.

I use the standard tasks bullets, and skip the future log and monthly log in favour of my big monthly to-do list. I use Google Calendar synced to my phone for appointments and events, so I generally don’t bother noting these down in my journal anymore. I’ve started to get a better gauge for how many things I can get through in my spare time before and after work – I try to keep it under 5 items where possible.

journal-4

It might seem like a waste of time rewriting an incomplete task into the next day’s task list, but it does force you to firstly consider why it didn’t get finished as planned (usually scheduling too many things) and secondly if it’s even important enough to keep rewriting each day, especially if it’s continuously getting put off.

Having an index is useful for me, because I tend to have pages that I’ll want to refer back to later – long term goals or ideas of things to make – that tend to otherwise get lost in the mess. I’ve switched to the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook for its page numbers and index pages, which make it ideal for Bullet Journalling.

journal-3

Have you experimented with analog task management systems, or are you firmly in the digital camp? If you want to give this a go, check out the Bullet Journal website.

Jasper the Puppy

on Life  

My latest project: a little cavoodle puppy named Jasper!

Neither of us have ever had a dog before, so this is very new territory. There’s a lot of crying, a lot of mess and a lot of early mornings, but that’s what you sign up for with a puppy! He’s also very sweet, likes meeting new people and chasing us around the house. Oh, and he looks like a teddy bear.
jasper-1jasper-2
jasper-3

It’s fun, emotional and interesting looking after a smaller creature.  When I pick him up I can feel how fragile his little ribcage is, and think about how this puppy’s life is in my hands, and how I generally struggle to even keep pot plants alive. But a dog has a way of demanding attention and care and pulling out from you a nurturing nature you didn’t think existed. I feel like he’s making me a more patient, kind and tolerant person (especially when I’m cleaning up the millionth pee accident that day). I imagine these feelings (and the sleep deprivation) are a hundred fold more intense for parents of human children, so much respect to them!
jasper-5 jasper-7jasper-6We’ve now had him for two and a half weeks, and at 11 weeks old he’s curious and perceptive, ready to start venturing outside for walks. You’re supposed to socialise young puppies as much as possible so that they aren’t afraid of meeting new people, and the unexpected side effect is that as owners we end up socialising more too. Often having a dog provides the common ground to begin a conversation, or just the delight in seeing a sweet and fluffy little puppy.
jasper-9 jasper-11jasper-12

I have of course been taking a million photos of him – 90% of which end up blurry and unusable, because he’s not great at being still unless he’s sleeping. I said I wouldn’t become one of those pet owners who creates an Instagram account just for them, but on the whole I think it’s better than spamming everyone on my main account with my dog photos! You can follow Jasper’s adventures at @jasperoodle.

jasper-13 jasper-10

jasper-15

Head & Heart – February 2016

on Life  

It’s been a few months since I’ve done one of these – it’s been on my to-do list, shifted from one day to the next all year so far. Writing on this personal blog feels a bit of a luxury, but I think it’s one I should afford myself every so often.

I’m not sure the rest of the original crew is continuing to write Head & Heart posts monthly, but if you’d like to join in feel free to follow the format and let me know so I can come say hello :)

“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”

Grateful

Work life balance. Long talks with friends in stressful, all-consuming jobs has made me ever more grateful about the balance and camaraderie of my workplace. There’s an element of play and work both in my job and in what I do in my spare time, and I feel that both feed into each other and somehow work out to some semblance of balance in the end. There’s stressful times of course, but perfect balance feels too much like stillness, whereas the act of balancing is challenging and doesn’t always appear completely balanced in the moment. I’m grateful to have just enough challenges to keep things interesting, but not enough to fall right over!

Thinking

 

Being ethical (but not preachy). Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to pay more attention to where the things I consume come from and where they end up at the end of their life. I’m trying to ‘vote with my dollars’ and support businesses trying make a difference and be gentler on the planet and other people of the world. I’m FAR from perfect at this, and am certainly not in any position to judge anyone else’s lifestyle choices. I try to downplay this conscious consumerism in conversation because when most people hear ‘environment’ or ‘ethical clothing’ they assume that I’m preaching at them, or simply aren’t interested in hearing uncomfortable truths. On the other hand, it’s something that has become important to me because I’ve listened to others talk or write about it, so maybe a little preaching isn’t the worst thing. Still working on this one.honeybee-1

Side hustle (again). I feel like almost every time I write a H&H post I mention wanting to start a side business with my art or calligraphy, and it always seems to fizzle out. This time I’ve gotten as far as reinventing my brand message, writing copy and redesigning my portfolio website, though not quite up to coding it all up. There’s a security that comes with knowing that this side business isn’t needed for paying my bills and thus can be managed the way I want to without any urgency to earn money, but it does mean that progress is slow and occasionally I wonder why I’m doing it at all. I am really excited about this one though, and even if I never get any of the big branding clients that I’m after, this new business-focused website should hopefully dissuade people asking for wedding invitation work.

Excited

Getting a puppy! After years of campaigning for a puppy to The Boy, I finally managed to wear him down. Our puppy is still a week or so away from being old enough to come home to us, but he looks like a curly little red teddy bear and will certainly change our lives forever. I’ve never had a dog before so I’m nervous and excited, and seem to spend a lot of my spare time researching training techniques. So close now!

Doing

 

Side Project crowdfunding on Pozible! We’re raising money to pay our printing and production costs for the whole year, so this is really exciting! As one of the founders/editors this has been a huge endeavour for me. The rest of the core team have photography and videography skills, so it’s fallen to me to do a lot of the copywriting and social media planning to make sure we meet our target. If you think that running a crowdfunding campaign is just about slapping up a description and hoping for the best, you are wrong wrong wrong. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of money if you don’t have all those campaigning skills covered. We’re doing pretty well so far, so fingers crossed! You pre-order Issue 5 and check out our other rewards over on Pozible.3_issue5-cover

Attempting to write every morning. I haven’t been 100% successful with getting up at 6am to write each morning, but overall it’s really helping me write more. So far I’ve mostly written a brand strategy and website copy for teresawatts.com (which is still yet to be put live), plus the many bits and pieces needed for the Side Project campaign. Keeping up with editing however is a whole separate issue!

Admin Mondays. I detest and put off administration tasks, like banking or filing, so inspired by Jessica Hische’s Ultra Schedule I’m trying out putting them all off until Mondays and getting it all done in one hit. So far I’m getting through my backlog of things to sort through, and getting through a succession of small, mundane tasks makes me feel more accomplished than one at a time. I recommend it! Maybe I should try for Editing Tuesdays?

Making

Gold foiling. I recently joined the Calligraphers Guild of WA, and at our last meeting we learned how to do gold foiling! I’ve been really into all things gold and shiny lately, so this technique has really captured my imagination. So far I’ve only managed a couple of simple experiments, but there will certainly be more gold things in my future. Here’s a video showing the general process.

Paper flowers. After making a crazy number of paper flowers for a friend’s wedding, I thought it would be easy to make a tutorial for Issue 5 of Side Project. But of course flowers for a magazine shoot will be a little different than flowers for a kitchen tea, so more colours were chosen and more flowers were made! I’m loving the less bridal, more interesting look we managed to get in the shoot by pairing them with real greenery. They’re pretty easy to make but do require a lot of attention and care to not tear the delicate petals.

Popsicles. We had a heatwave in February on top of the usual Perth summer heat, and in that situation frozen fruit is ten times better than regular fruit. I’ve also been lucky enough to be given many fresh, home-grown mangos from family, more than I can easily eat before they start to deteriorate. Instead I’ve been mashing them up and smooshing them straight into popsicle moulds – no juicing, no sugar and no other additions necessary. It works pretty well with any kind of juicy fruit – so far I’ve also tried strawberries, kiwi fruit and plums.
gold-1flowers

Reading

A Place of My Own by Michael Pollan. Okay, actually I wanted to read this book, but it’s only available in hardcopy or audiobook, so I’ve gone with the latter and have been listening on my way to and from work. I find the Tiny House movement fascinating and am a big fan of Pollan’s books on food and culture, so a book on his experience designing and building his own little hut in the woods sounded right up my alley. Don’t go expecting anything instructional – Pollan meanders through a very philosophical and introspective planning and building process, and at the point I’m up to in the book (nearly half way) he’s barely gotten out of the ground. For me it’s a good book to listen to whilst walking and half daydreaming about what my own little place would look like.

A room of one’s own: is there anybody who hasn’t at one time or another wished for such a place, hasn’t turned those soft words over until they’d assumed a habitable shape?

More from me elsewhere

Why we are crowdfunding and Why we began Side Project. I’m trying to do a bit more blogging over on Side Project, especially telling a bit more of the stories behind the magazine and encouraging people to get creative! Pretty proud of these posts actually, they are thoughts that have been mulling for some time. They may find their way onto this blog from time to time.

Side Project crowdfunding campaign. Yes, I know I’ve mentioned it multiple times here (and everywhere) already, but I am pretty proud of my contributions of voiceover and copywriting (the acting not quite so much). Please do go check out our video!