Monday, February 12, 2018

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 6

Sorry, all, I'm late posting this part because I've been crafting like crazy for a friend's wedding that's in TWO WEEKS!!!! And because  I forgot to write it in my Bullet Journal. Oops!

Anyway, moving on. :)  This section of the presentation is about the beauty of the Bullet Journal -- literal and figurative.

If you're not familiar with the literal beauty of Bullet Journals, check out pictures of Habit Trackers and Mood Mandalas and other fun, colorful things at Instagram and Pinterest. You can also get a lot of inspiration from YouTube -- videos of how to do different types of lettering, for example. I find taking a few more seconds to write out the date and day in a style different from my own handwriting can jog me out of an unthinking rut and make me more aware of the day that's coming up.

There are also tons of decorations out there you can play with -- washi tape, stickers, stencils, rubber stamps. I'm not going to link Etsy here because you should only go looking there if you have at least two hours of spare time. It. Is. Addictive. :D  The literal beauty of bullet journals is never-ending.

For me, the figurative Beauty of the BuJo is the Migration. Remember back in part 1 of these posts, when I talked about how To-Do lists intimidate me? An unfinished task on a To-Do list either looms over me, squatting on the list, or it's there for so long that my eyes just stop seeing it completely and I forget about it.

In the last post, I explained that Migration is moving an unfinished task from the current day to the next day. For me, it makes the Daily Log a more dynamic version of a To-Do list, so even if the same task shows up again and again, it doesn't feel like it's squatting/looming, and because I write it again if I don't get it done, I don't stop seeing it, either.

"Isn't writing the same unfinished task over and over kind of a pain in the rear?" I hear you ask. The answer is, "Yes." And that's the point.

Migration makes you think about WHY a task is on your list. Why it didn't get done that day, and how it will get done tomorrow.

If it's a small task, something that will take only a few minutes, and yet I've migrated it more than twice, I'll throw up my hands and tell myself, "Just do it!" Then it's done and I can put an X over the dot.

If it's a big task not getting done, it might be a Project. You may need to break it into smaller tasks.

If it's a task that you keep migrating, then you need to ask: do I really need to do it? If the answer is "No,", cross it out. Declutter your life.

If the answer is "Yes," so you need to migrate the task yet again, you need to think about WHY you keep putting it off.

Migration is not just for getting things done (eventually), it's also to reflect on why you're doing what you're doing. Are the tasks you've set for yourself important? Are you making the best use of your time? Will this task enrich my life?

Migration also makes you schedule tasks realistically. You can't do 50,000 things in one day. If you schedule 50,000 things on a day, you're setting yourself up for failure.

A migrated task is marked with a right-arrow. There's also a use for a left-arrow: scheduling. That's when you can't get to a task on that day, and you know you won't get to it on the next day, so instead of Migrating it to the next day, you Schedule it for a future date in your Monthly Log or even your Future Log.

On one hand, Scheduling keeps your task "active". You won't lose it; you'll get to it someday.

On the other hand, for procrastinators like me, Scheduling means casting a task into the nebulous future instead of getting it done in the concrete present. It's part of the "schedule tasks realistically" idea. If you can't get something done on that day or in the next few days, it might be better to leave it on your Monthly or Future Log. It's okay to not get everything done at once. It would be unrealistic to expect to get everything done at once.

One of the biggest BuJo fails I had was with my Habit Trackers. I was calling them "Dailies" because it was a list of everything I wanted to do every day. ("Habit Trackers" are more about good habits you want to cultivate by doing certain tasks every day.) I had a Dailies list that took up an entire page. There were about 25 items on it, and day after day, I failed to get most of them done. I finally went through and took a guess at the number of minutes each task would take. Turns out I'd set myself tasks that would take, in total, about four hours every day to complete, and that wasn't including things like feeding and playing with the cats or spending some time with the spousal unit.

If I were a more disciplined person, maybe I could fit those four hours of tasks into my day, but I like having some free time, some down time. By not being realistic about what I would--and would--do, I set myself up for failure.

Now my Habit Trackers are the bare minimum, things I REALLY want to get into the habit of doing, things I know would make my life better, like getting to bed at a reasonable time, getting exercise, remembering to take my vitamins, etc. I don't always get them done, but getting to color in a pretty chart is a small incentive. :)

In the past few blogs, you've learned how to start your Bullet Journals with your Index and Future Log. You've created a Monthly Log for the current month, and I hope you're keeping up with Daily Logs. You now know how to migrate tasks you didn't get done, and you know about crossing off tasks if they're really not necessary/important/improving your life in some way.

In the next post, which will be the last post in this series, I'll give you a few tips and other ideas to keep in mind, and hopefully post some pictures so it will be more interesting than this one. :)

Monday, February 5, 2018

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 5

The Basics of the BuJo, continued, because I droned on too long about notebooks in the last post.

Last post we started our journals by labelling the first two pages as the Index, then taking the next few pages for the Future Log (six months or longer), then we started a Monthly Log for February. We also touched briefly on Daily Logs.

Daily Logs are the heart of the BuJo. I mentioned Tasks (dot), Notes (dash), and Events (circle). What I didn't get to was Rapid Logging.

Rapid Logging just means writing short sentences. Ideally, what you write for each Task, Note, or Event will fit on a line. Ryder, the creator of the Bullet Journal, has a interesting idea behind Rapid Logging: besides getting your thoughts down quickly, each rapid-logged line has the same emotional weight.

So on a single day, you might have "grocery shop", which is a task, "Austin moon towers" which is a note about something interesting you heard about, and "signed divorce papers", which is an event. Each of those items should fit on one line as you Rapid Log them.

You probably have some feelings about the "signed divorce papers" event. Instead of fitting it all on that line, go ahead and find a blank space in your journal to write out your feelings about signing divorce papers. Or about Austin moon towers. Or even about grocery shopping. Most of us probably don't have very strong feelings about grocery shopping, but for someone who used to be on food stamps, each trip to the grocery store might be a sort of triumph or a reminder of how far they've come.

A section of writing that's longer than a rapid-logged line is called a Narrative.

When I first started a BuJo, I thought I had to put the narrative on a separate page, but then I saw an example online where the person just put a line right on that day's Daily Log, dividing the Narrative from the rest of the Daily Log, and another line at the end of the Narrative, so she could pick back up with the Daily Log. It made a lot of sense and was even kind of artistic. Mine are not artistic, but I still like the idea, so now I just slap my Narratives down right in the daily log, letting it go onto the next page if necessary (I just note at the top of the page that the day is continuing).

A line with Ns, marking the end of a Narrative section in a Daily Log
Of course, you can always put a Narrative on a separate page, or put all Narratives in a group. Customize!

To mark Narratives, I use an N as a Signifier, which is a mark that helps a particular task/note/event stand out on the page.

My Narrative about the eclipse
When I write about our cats, I use a C. 

Cs next to Cat events/tasks/notes, and joined-up Cs for a Narrative about cats

I note Narratives and Cat Narratives in the Index, and then when I flip to the page later, I can easily find the Narrative by looking for the Signifier, usually on the left side of the page. Check out the official Bullet Journal site for examples of Signifiers.

Now you know how to Rapid Log your Tasks, Notes, and Events, and how/where to put your Narratives when you feel the need to write more than just a quick rapid-logged line.

The two other main BuJo basics are Migration and Collections.

Migration is moving a task from one day to the next day. It's used when you don't get a task done on the day it was scheduled. You write the task on the next day's Log, then you mark the task on today's log with a right-arrow instead of an X, indicating that the task has been migrated instead of completed. There's a purpose to migration, which I'll talk about in the next blog post.

Collections are to literally collect all the random stuff from your Daily Logs. I don't really use Collections because when I first started my BuJo, I didn't understand them. I tend to rely on my index to find grouped items, because I'll have a line for them and list the page numbers they show up on, like Cats, Knitting, and English Country Dance.

But when I was preparing to give this presentation last fall, I read a good blog post at the official Bullet Journal site, and now I understand how Collections are supposed to work: you collect information in specific categories by writing that information on pages labeled for those categories. For example, I could go through and put all my Cat information on a page labelled "Cats". Then I could glance at that page and find the names of all the foster cats/kittens we've had, find out when I last gave our cats Revolution, see how much the last Chewy order was. The way I find that information now is to look at my Cats index line, go to the pages I wrote Cat stuff, and look for the "C" signifier on the page. It takes more time than if I had a single Collections page for "Cats Revolutioned", for example. (Dang it! That reminds me, I need to Revolution the outside cat!)

The pros of Collections are having all that info in one place. The cons are having to write all that information in one place. I can find information fairly quickly by keeping my index up to date, which doesn't always happen. Anyway, you might try both collecting and indexing, and seeing which method works best for you. It might end up being a combination of the two, with some categories suiting Collections better than others.

One more thing to wrap up BuJo Basics: some BuJo hacks for writing.

I use a W as a signifier for Writing. So if I have a story idea or get some craft or publishing info to look up later, or someone recommends a book, I mark those notes with a W. I have an Index line for Writing, so every time I mark something with a W, I index it. I also have an index line for my WIP(s), which I can cross-reference in the index with the W signifiers if I want.

This next point is not so much a hack as a suggestion. As writers, we should take some time every day to pay attention to things that happen to us or to other people. We should write a few lines of Narrative in our Bullet Journals, because after all, they are journals.

As romance writers, we should especially be paying attention to feelings. We should write a few lines about how certain tasks, thoughts, or events make us feel, because romance is all about the feels.

Let me know if I've thoroughly confused you yet. Next post will be next Sunday, because I got a lot of stuff to do this week. :) Happy journaling!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 4

Welcome back to my Bullet Journal Presentation! Today we're going to get into the Basics of the BuJo.

The only real requirements to start a Bullet Journal are: a notebook and a pen.

A six-inch ruler is nice to have but not necessary.

Notebooks:  I used a Composition book for my first journal.
  • Pros: they're cheap, which is good if you're not sure you'll continue with the system and don't want to spend a lot of money on something you'll give up on after a week. (However, the system is so customizable, I can't imagine anyone giving up after a week. If it's not working, just change it!)
  • Cons: really too big to carry around easily, and ink can bleed through the paper. 
  • Use if: you carry a backpack instead of a small purse, and if you're going to write with a ballpoint pen instead of a felt-tip or any kind of fancy ink pen.
The ideal/recommended notebook for Bullet Journaling is the actual Bullet Journal notebook. A lot of people also use a Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. Both of these notebooks are about 5"x8", use a dot grid instead of lines (ruled), and have nice thick paper that ink won't bleed through.

They're also both pretty expensive, which is why I didn't start out with one of them. Since I haven't used them, I can only guess at the Pros and Cons, but I'll take a shot.
  • possible Pros: small enough to carry in a purse, dot-grid which is said to be more flexible for writing, drawing, charts, graphs, etc. than ruled (lined) paper, thick paper that ink won't bleed through, pocket in the back.
  • possible Cons: bloody expensive for a damn notebook, no matter how fabulous it is. 
  • possibly good to use if: you carry a purse instead of a backpack, will use a variety of pens.
Yoobi (sold at Target) makes a 5"x8" notebook for about $6, but I think it's ruled, not dot-grid. That would have been my next step if I hadn't found some nice little dot-grid notebooks on sale for $11. I haven't used them yet, because I have another Dreamspinner Authors Workshop journal and a moleskine journal to use up first. The rules of First In, First Out are rigid and unyielding. :)

For pens, I got a set of colored pens with really sharp points that make my writing thin and sometimes hard to read in the scans. I use those mostly to color in my Habit Tracker (more on that in a later post). The pen I'm using now is a Pentel R.S.V.P. ballpoint pen, black, medium point (1.0 mm). It makes nice thick lines that my elderly eyes can see better. I got a five-pack at Target or possibly a grocery store.

Feel free to use the comments section to suggest notebooks and/or pens that you like.

But let's get back to the Basics of the BuJo. They are your Index, Future Log, Monthly Log, Daily Log, and Collections. The Monthly Log pages will include a list of Must Do-s. The Daily Log will have tasks, notes, events, and narrative. Of course you can have all kinds of other stuff -- remember, highly customizable -- but those are the basics. You don't ever need to do more than those, and you can always do less because, say it with me: highly customizable. :D

The first thing to write, maybe on the inside cover, is  your email or phone number so the notebook can be returned to you if you lose it. Hopefully that will never happen, but that's why some people (myself included) back up their journals by scanning them.

The next thing to do is set up your Index, which is where you will record the page number of everything you write in the BuJo. So simple, and yet so helpful to be able to find everything quickly.

you don't have to index your index like I did here
Generally, two pages are enough for the index.

Go ahead and number the first ten pages or so, including the index pages. Just start from 1, in the bottom corner of the page, and go up to ten, number both sides of the page (so the first five pages will get you to 10). Try to make the page numbers as legible as possible to help with indexing and finding information later.

example of page numbers

The next thing is to set up your Future Log. The official BuJo site has you set up six months' worth of space, but I've found setting up entire year is more useful for me.

To set up a Future Log, you divide each of the next few pages into thirds, and write the upcoming month names on each section. Start with the following month, not the current month, since the current month will go on your Monthly Log page. So for six months, you'd use two pages. For a year, you'd use four pages. You can also make each Future Log month more than one third of a page -- February is the shortest month and yet somehow my Future Log February is completely jammed.

See Feb. in bottom right corner of pic, completely jammed

Into these Future Log months you will put upcoming things you know about now, and you'll add new ones as they come up. For example: deadlines, trips, birthdays, theater tickets, weddings. Go ahead and put in everything you can think of right now. AND make sure you list "Future Log" in your index, along with the pages your future log is on. They will probably be something like pp. 3-4 or 3-6.

Helpful tip learned from painful experience: keep your Future Log in the front of your journal. Or in the very back if you like, but somewhere that you can quickly flip to it. I tried to have a "rolling" Future Log once, dropping off the finished month and adding a new one six months in advance. What a mistake. Even though I knew what page it was on, I still had to flip pages to find is vs. leaving it at the front of the journal.

Since this post will go up on January 31, let's go ahead and start our Monthly Log with February. On the next blank left-hand page, write February at the top, then list the days down the page. Since my current journal is ruled, and there aren't 30/31 lines on one page let alone 28, I let my Monthly Log run onto the facing page. Go ahead and also put a letter for the day of the week on the left side of the number of the day. For example, Feb. 1 is a Thursday, so to the left of 1, you'll write Th, to the left of 2, you'll write F, and so on.

Here's my Monthly Log for January.

monthly log for January -- see Must Do-s crammed onto right page

Like your Future Log, go ahead and fill in all the things you know about now. As each new month rolls around, you'll flip to your Future Log, find the corresponding month, then copy all that month's events from the Future Log into the current Monthly Log. For example, in my Future Log on the right side, you can kind of see that I have Jan. 18: pay Visa bill. Then, on the January Monthly Log, I have Pay Visa bill on Jan. 17 (I decided to move it up a day since I tend to ignore my reminders for a day or two).

On the facing page, write down all your Must Do-s for the month, then see where you can fit them into the month, which you have spread before you, ready to be filled up. I didn't do that for January, which is why it's January 31 and a lot of my Must Do-s are not done. That is user error, not a BuJo failure. :P

I find my Must Do-s list is most effective if I write only the truly Must Do-s, and not my Should Do-s or Want To Do-s. It keeps the list from getting diluted and makes me focus more on getting done the things I really need to get done. I can always make separate lists of SDs and WTDs and add them to the calendar once the MDs are on there.

So you've got your Future Log and your Monthly Log. I'll do one more Log, and then save the rest of the basics for the next post, since this one is getting reeeeeaaaalllly long.

The last log is your Daily Log, and this is where you get stuff done. That is, it's where you list your To-do items, called Tasks. It's also where you keep track of events that occur on that day, or ideas you get, or Deep Thoughts you may have about anything that crosses your  mind.

Tasks are listed with a dot to the left of them. Events have a small circle to their left, and Notes have a dash. When a Task is completed, you put an X over the dot. If it's a really important task, you can mark it with a star. I mark mine with five dots (one in the middle and four in the corners) so I can still cross it off with an X when I'm done.

If you don't get the task done the day you scheduled it for (copied from your Monthly Log, the same way you copied Monthly tasks from your Future Log, or something that came up recently), you put a right-arrow over the dot and move it to the next day. This is called Migration, and I'll talk more about it in a future post.

Next post will be on February 3, and I'll finish the Basics of the Bujo, including Rapid Logging, Migration, Narratives, Collections, Signifiers, and my own BuJo hacks for writing. Now I have to wrap up -- the foster cat really wants to walk on the keyboard, so I need to go cuddle her.

Let me know how the BuJo process goes for you!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 3

Wow, I've been gone a long time. I guess November and December (and most of January) were pretty busy. Let's catch up a little.

Previously on B. Snow's Blog:
     In part 1 of these posts, you learned what a Bujo is, and in part 2, you learned why I started one.

Now, on to part 3 of my BuJo presentation from last year's Moonlight & Magnolias! Which I have time to write since the car is getting maintenanced, if that's a word. Blogger doesn't think it is.

As I said at the beginning of the presentation/these posts, a Bullet Journal is a highly customizable organization system. One size does not fit all. You can get some great inspiration from others, but in the end, YOUR bullet journal only has to work for YOU.

This Popular Science article describes the bullet journal system thusly: "It's exactly as ambitious or exhaustive as you need at the exact time you're using it."

It's a very accurate description. I'd like to add that the converse is also true: it's exactly as simple and plain as you need, too. You can go either way, at any time, and you can change your system at any time. That's the great thing about it vs. a preprinted planner -- you can make changes as you go, to fit your needs at any particular moment.

So how do you get a Bullet Journal to work for you?

Let's start with what you want to keep track of in your life. The Bullet journal is about more than just tasks to be done, but let's start there, since that's what keeps most people awake at night.

There are things we need to do daily, weekly, monthly, possibly quarterly, and yearly. These are all Must Do-s (like scoop litterboxes and taxes) or Should Do-s (like exercise and cleaning -- you can probably guess what my body and my house look like..... :D).

This about the daily tasks you must do, should do, or would like to do. What are habits you'd like to cultivate? Examples that came up during the presentation are: exercise, vitamins, eating healthier, writing, social media, drinking more water.

Some weekly tasks you'd like to get done: things like laundry, clearning, cooking, date night, blog posts.
Monthly: bills, glass to recycling center.
Quarterly: royalty statements, dividends, taxes if you pay those quarterly.
yearly: taxes, car registration, birthdays.

Some specific writing things you may want to keep track of are: plot bunnies, revision ideas, books you read, word count on stories, deadlines, checking publishers' websites for Calls for Submission. You can see how these items might fall into the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly categories. Others are more random and not linked to a timeline or a calendar.

Some other things you might want to track besides Must Do-s and Should Do-s are Want To Do-s, or what I call my Wish List. This can be as immediate as "get gardening books from library" or as far off as "take my dream trip to Paris". The Bullet Journal is a good place to keep a Bucket List, because you can add to it as you discover more and more cool things that exist in the world, like the Ausangate Mountain of the Peruvian Andes, which I'd never heard of until yesterday.

You can list your goals and the steps you'll take to achieve them, as well as the rewards you'll get when you complete them.

I'm sure you can come up with your own lists. Regardless of the type of thing you want to record or track, there's a place for all of these in the BuJo, AND a way to find them after you've written them down.

Now that we have some idea of things we want to track/accomplish and/or habits we'd like to cultivate, it's time to start your actual Bullet Journal!

Hopefully you went ahead and started one after my first post because it was so awesomely inspiring that you rushed straight to the official Bullet Journal site and absorbed all the great information there. But if you didn't, grab a notebook and a pen and meet me back at this blog for my next post.

The rest of this month is getting busy, too, but I'll be a grownup AND a Bullet Journaler and say that the next post will be up next week, Wednesday, January 31.

In the meantime, what are some of the things you'd like to track/record in your BuJo?

If you already have a BuJo, what are some things it's been especially good for? For me, it's been the daily tasks. Somehow less intimidating than a huge, rolling To-Do list.

See you next week! For sure!!!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 2

Hi, all! Last time I talked a bit about what a bullet journal is. This time I'll talk about why I started using one.

super-cool powerpoint outline
I’m sort of a plotter in my writing, but pantser in my life, which is not a great way to get things done. I’m bad at goals, so I sort of drift around, wondering why I can't seem to finish anything. (Am I the only one who thinks it's more fun to begin things than to finish them?)

About a year ago, was having hard time falling asleep – I would go to bed and then lie awake thinking of all the things I had to get done the following day, or the rest of the week, or sometime in my life. When would I get them done? How would I remember all of them? “I have to do A and B, and oh, crap, I forgot about C, I need to remember to do C….” So this would go on for an hour or two, and then I'd finally fall asleep. Then I'd wake up at 4:30 AM (as women of my age tend to do :) ) and it would all start up again: “Must remember to do A, B, C, must remember, how will I remember?” And that would keep me awake for another half hour or so.

You're probably wondering why I didn't just write everything down on a To-Do list. I've tried To-Do lists in the past, and here's how they tend to go:

I would create a To-Do list on a piece of paper, then lose the paper.
I would create a To-Do list in a Word doc/google docs then forget to look at it.
OR I'd remember to look at the list but the same long-term tasks would loom, so a) I didn’t want to look at it, or b) they’d be there so long my eyes would stop seeing them.
The same thing happened with computer desktop post-its. The were so pretty and fun, but eventually the last two would just sit there on my desktop and my eyes just stopped seeing them after awhile.

When I explain this to people who use To-Do lists well, they ask incredulously, “But doesn’t it feel great to cross off a finished item?” For me, the answer (weirdly) is "no". I don't see my accomplishments. All I see is everything else that's still on the list. It's like I've reached what I thought was the peak of a mountain only to find out the rest of it was hidden in the clouds and I still have 5000 feet to go. I guess it's some weird psychological thing. Maybe I should try therapy someday....

Another weird psychological thing is the feeling that crossing off a task from a paper list or deleting it from an electronic document means it never existed, so I don’t get “credit” for completing the task. Again, not how To-Do lists are supposed to make you feel.

Shorter version: To-Do lists don't work for me.

So there I was about a year ago, not falling asleep and panicking about how I was going to get everything done I needed to get done.

One day I was perusing Facebook (hey, it's part of my social media presence! Certainly not just another method of procrastination!) and I happened to see a post from Andrea Judy, a local writer whom I met at Moonlight & Magnolias a few years ago. She was asking her fb friends what planner she should get for the following year. Being perennially interested in getting organized, I read the replies. The first one said "Bullet Journal."

(I just have to add here that when I told this story during my presentation, a girl in the third row waved and said "That was me!" So thank you, Vikki Perry, for setting me on my Bullet Journal path! :D)

I read Vikki's comment and thought “WTF is a bullet journal?” So I googled "bullet journal" and found a Buzzfeed article entitled “WTF Is A Bullet Journal And Why Should You Start One? An Explainer” and I thought, "This is the article for me!!"

Here's the says-it-all graphic that accompanies the article, used entirely without permission:

image by Ellie Sunakawa / Buzzfeed

I read the Buzzfeed article, went to the official Bullet Journal site to learn the basics, and read a few other articles. Then I bought myself a cheap composition notebook and started my own BuJo. That night I vomited all my thoughts into it. Everything that needed to be done at some point, everything I was stressing about remembering, literally every worrisome thought that crossed my mind went into that notebook. Basically, I emptied my brain.

And that night I went right to sleep for the first time in months.

I remember getting into bed and waiting for the thoughts to come and keep me awake like they did every night, but my mind was blissfully empty. I'd written down all of my worry-causing thoughts. They were all safely tucked away in one place, so I didn't have to hold them in my head, repeating them to make sure I remembered them. It was almost like I had permission to forget about them.

If you remember from my last post, the reason we write things by hand is because it helps us remember them better. So you might think it's a bit paradoxical to write things by hand in order to remember them, but then allow yourself to forget them because they’re written down. But think of it this way: your brain should be used for thinking and solving problems, for useful knowledge and memories, not for storing to-do items.

Now when I go to bed, I work out story plots instead of trying to remember that I have to pick up the dry cleaning I dropped off two months ago or the vet appointment next week or the food in the fridge that should be used up before it goes off. And actually, I don't usually get too far with the story plots, because I fall asleep pretty quickly most nights.

So for me, To-Do lists were intimidating or useless, but now I actually like writing things down. It gets all those thoughts and worries out of my head and someplace where I can do something about them. I don't have to stress over trying to remember all of them. And I get "credit" for the things I get done. I'll explain that in a future post.

Now you know why I started a Bullet Journal. The next post will be about why YOU should start a Bullet Journal! :)

If you've already started a Bullet Journal, please let me know how it's going. And if you haven't started one yet but these posts are persuading you to do so, go get yourself a journal, because we'll be doing Reader Participation in a couple weeks. The journal doesn't have to be expensive, just something you're willing to carry around with you most of the time.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tim Urban, Master Procrastinator (TED talk video)

I saw this video last week. I'm finally getting around to mentioning it here.

Anyone else recognize EVERYTHING he's talking about?

(And of course the embed url doesn't work....)

Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Bullet Journal presentation from the 2017 Moonlight & Magnolias -- part 1

Hi, all! I did my presentation on Bullet Journals at this year's Moonlight & Magnolias (thanks very much to Ryder Carroll for permission) and it went over really well!

Several GRW members who were unable to attend expressed an interest in learning more about Bullet Journals, so I'll be blogging my presentation over the next few weeks. Welcome to part one of "Bullet Journals: Getting Control of Your Life and Your Writing with B. Snow."

follow along with the handy-dandy outline

First off, the What: What is a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a highly customizable organization system.

(Yes, that sentence deserves to be in bold, purple, different font. I will come back to it several times over the course of these posts.)

The official Bullet Journal site calls the Bullet Journal "The analog system for the digital age."

That might sound complicated. To translate for non-science types like me: 

"The Bullet Journal is a notebook you write in."

my first BuJo (Yoobi composition book from Target)
 and my second and current BuJo, received at a Dreamspinner Press Authors Workshop
index from first journal, recent pages from current journal

The bullet journal (or BuJo, for short) is a notebook you write in, but there is a system to it, created and trademarked by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer. Yes, a guy who can actually do technology, and yet he chose to go low-tech with the bullet journal.

[Note: if an app or electronic planner, or traditional planner works for you, you probably don't need a bullet journal. :) But! You can combine your bullet journal with calendar or planner apps and reminder alarms to help you get things done. And now there's a Bullet Journal companion app with reference materials and reminders to help you get the most out of your BuJo.]

One reason to go low-tech is that we remember things better when we write them by hand than we do when we type them.  

Writing by hand takes some time and some effort. Part of the bullet journal system is doing things with intention, reflecting on what you're doing so you can focus on the things that make your life better and get rid of the things that just clutter up your days.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the past couple of years have seen interest surging in bullet journals, Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, facebook gratitude posts, and hygge. They all have to do with focus, intention, and making one's life simpler and better. 

As you write things in your bullet journal, think about 
     a) what tasks/goals you want to achieve,
     b) how you'll achieve them, and
     c) WHY you want to achieve them, i.e. if they are adding to the quality of your life.

So yes, you'll spend some time writing. But I hope this writing will end up helping you declutter your mind and your life, so you can focus on the things that will make your life simpler and better.

There is one more bonus to the low-techness of the bullet journal: it will help you fall asleep for two reasons. I'll discuss the first reason in my next blog post. The second reason is that bullet journalling before bed means no electronics at night. Clinical psychologist Anne Bartolucci, who specializes in behavioral sleep medicine, gave a great presentation a few years ago at M&M on sleep problems. One of the things she mentioned is that blue light pouring into your eyes within two hours of going to bed will make it harder to fall asleep. Guess where blue light comes from? Pretty much every electronic item you own that has a screen. Yes, you can set your tablet or kindle app to sepia, but it would be even better to shut off all electronics and look at paper.  

In the next blog post I'll talk about why I started a bullet journal, including that first reason a bullet journal will help you fall asleep.

Just out of curiosity, were you at my M&M presentation? If so, what came up that was helpful? What questions did you have that I didn't cover, that I might be able to talk about in these blog posts?

Thanks for reading!