Day 20 – Keeping Score

There are so many neat things I want to do: magical ideas I want to attempt, books I want to read, things I want to plant, movies to catch up on, crafts to try, stories to write… It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by it. Yesterday was a good example of that.

Redbird is absolutely right that my follow-through is lacking.

I didn’t go out to call the Dark Lady until late, obviously, but I chanted for her this morning as I walked to work, and on my lunch hour, and on my way home. The sounds are comfortable grooves worn in my thoughts, and it’s so damn helpful to feel like I can use them again.

I spent most of the day thinking about to-do lists and ways to be accountable and keep myself motivated. I actually got pretty frustrated with myself and my never-ending list of projects and how many things I don’t do.

Then I went out to call the Dark Lady and she’s like, you know what you’re doing, right?

To which I answered, getting distracted?

And perhaps you can imagine the night sky itself rolling her eyes, and the wind in the trees sighing in exasperation, and the ducks aggressively floating away.

You’re in such a hurry to be down on yourself that you also don’t value the things you are doing. How can you figure out how to make yourself work harder when you don’t value the work you’re already doing?

Well, she wasn’t wrong.

So the to-do list we’re trying out is actually three different lists. One is for tracking the chores we do regularly, stuff like laundry and dishes and warding and budgeting. One is for fun stuff: writing fiction and nonfiction, needlefelting, jewelrywork, dolls, and the like. And the third is for frogs, really unpleasant or anxiety-making things. Those are generally one-offs of adulting like making important phone calls or going to the dentist. (man, I wish going to the dentist was a one-off….)

They all still live in the same notebook, but they’re not the same list. The important part is it actually does allow me to see what I’m doing and what I’m not doing. The goal is that I can’t keep either extreme hidden from myself. That’s what the Dark Lady’s all about.


Taking the Planner Plunge

I got into the paper planner about two months ago, and I wanted to give myself a good solid attempt at using an inexpensive one before I committed to a nicer one. I also attempted to use a small Android tablet with my beloved Evernote in lieu of any kind of paper system. The tablet just made it clear how much some things worked better written down, plus I really wanted a tablet case that let me carry a few credit cards and things in lieu of a wallet.

I found a solution, however, at the local Office Depot. It’s going out of business (kind of an inevitability once the shiny new Office Max opened a hundred yards away) and all their planners were 60% off. I took the plunge and committed to a Franklin Covey A5 binder!

It’s got the monthly and week-on-two-pages that I loved about paper – though the week’s a different format I’m looking forward to using – and a pocket in the front that’s actually large enough for the tablet. Best of both worlds, along with the card slots I wanted too. It fits in my favorite bag as well.

I’ve already started carrying her everywhere and I’m looking forward to starting in on the new weekly pages on Monday. Once I settle into a system, maybe I’ll do one of those picture posts…

Meet My Planner

So my OCD’s been kind of flarey lately and I decided I needed to do something that would make me feel better and hopefully help me put the kibosh on some of my more annoying obsessions. Writing things down helps – I’ve been making lists of numbers lately, especially at work when I’m stressed. I figure writing down relevant things (for certain definitions of relevant) might help more, or at least help me redirect it.

That’s part of where the idea for the Book List of Doom came from. I’m also attempting to track food, exercise, homework, blog posts, word count… we’ll see what sticks and/or helps the most, I think. Maybe none of it will and I’ll be back to Evernote in a week or two, but so far I’m enjoying it.

The system is a work in progress, of course. Right now I’m using what are called “wo2p” or week on two pages. Each day gets about an inch and a half, and I’m feeling a little cramped. Originally I’d planned to have sections for each of the things I wanted to track but now I’m leaning towards the day on one page instead. I’m going to try a second week of wo2p and see if I still want to expand.

My planner is an 5.5×8.5 binder from Staples, nothing fancy, with some lined and graphed paper, the pre-printed weekly and months, and some pages I’ve mocked up for myself in Microsoft Word. I’ve spent a grand total of maybe $20 on it, possibly as much as $25. Eventually I might like to upgrade to something fancier, a Filofax or a Franklin Covey, but that’ll depend on my thrifting luck.

Since that’s what everyone wants to know about, I’ll tell you how I use it. It starts with four laminated pages, tabbed park, prep, process and done. It’s a modified version of the kanban system I saw from Plan Create Succeed. Then I have tabs for budget, to-dos, books, calendar and notes. Budget has the bill- and expense-tracking pages I created in Word last week. To-do is currently just quad-ruled paper. Books is a table I printed out. Calendar are my pre-printed month and week pages. Notes is lined paper, as well as the gym and homework tracking pages I’m trying out. I don’t have stickers or washi tape, or even colored pages aside from my dividers, so it’s not much to look at, but it seems to be helping so far.