So I’ve decided to start bullet journaling, for reasons that are still not clear even to me. They’re so pretty on Instagram, and perhaps it’s an endeavor wherein I’m trying to feel far more put-together than I really am. I’m liking it quite a bit, though, and certainly enough to keep up the experiment for a few more months, at least.
If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, Buzzfeed has a nice, succinct explanation, complete with pictures to illustrate. Mine is, thus far, pretty simple. I’m not working with the ideal journal type (but rather a gorgeous Targaryen journal that I got from the wonderful Heather), and my total lack of artistic talent (which I discussed in a recent Patreon video) will, I suspect, be a perpetual hindrance. When I started in January, it was with the recognition that this could be a good organizational tool for me, but that it could really easily also be something that dialed my usual high-functioning anxiety up to eleven.
My favorite feature so far is the habit tracker. This little thing is an amazing motivator. I get shamed by too many empty boxes in a row, and so it’s keeping me on track with everything from reading to exercise to keeping the apartment clean. That anxiety does come into play a little bit, but there’s an inverse relationship, too — seeing lots of filled-in boxes gives me permission to have an occasional blank box. And, to tamp the completionism down a bit, a few of those boxes also currently have loose definitions. “Exercise” might mean a long walk, spending an afternoon skiing, or having an extended dance party in my apartment — or, it might just mean that I managed to do some crunches and stretches that day.
The two where I’m really noticing a difference are Reading and Cleaning. I read 11 books in January — way ahead of pace to hit 50 for the year! A few of those were “sort’a” books — a picture book, a 70-page guidebook, and an RPG corebook, but even taking those out, I still read 8 novels in a month, and it’s definitely because the habit tracker encourages me to set aside time for it almost every day. With cleaning, it’s helping me keep on track of the chaos. One or two things a day make for short-burst tidying rather than having to spend hours at a time on the weekend, and the apartment stays looking nicer all the time as a result. The Tarot tracker is a way of making sure I stay in better touch with my spirituality; the Patreon tracker makes sure I deliver content on a regular basis.
This month, I’m adding writing to the tracker. For the first part of the month, that’s going to include the page proofs I have to finish, but the rest of the month, it’s going to mean working on Book Two or the space opera. I’m not going to let myself count blogging or answering interviews. I only get to check that box if I’ve worked on something creative, something fictional. Something that might maybe earn me some money. 😉